William Gillette's Voice - 1936


My comments about that crackling recording of William Gillette's voice Tom, from my monograph, William Gillette's Little Buddies at: http://www.nplh.co.uk/uploads/7/3/3/6/7336521/william_gillettes_little_buddies__1.pdf

Frederick C. Packard (1899 - 1985) was a professor of speech and dramatics at Harvard University. He originated, edited and produced a service called the Harvard Vocarium, which recorded voices that previously had been unavailable. William Gillette’s voice as Sherlock Holmes, with Professor Packard’s voice as Dr. Watson was one of those recordings and still exists. From Peter Blau’s notes about the recording: “According to an article in the Boston Sunday Post, Sept. 12, 1948 (John Kelso), one winter's night in 1933 Packard and his wife attended William Gillette's performance of "The Three Wise Fools" in Boston. After the performance, Packard persuaded Gillette to visit the Packard home in West Medford, where the recording was made with Packard as Watson and his wife as Alice Faulkner. Note: Gillette's revival of Austin Strong's comedy "Three Wise Fools" was in 1936, not 1933. Gillette was born July 24, 1853, and he was 82 years old when he toured in "Three Wise Fools"; this was his only stage production after his tour in "Sherlock Holmes" ended on Mar. 19, 1932.” “It was in February 1936 that William Gillette, then 82 years old, came to the Shubert Theatre in Boston during his tour in a revival of Austin Strong's comedy "Three Wise Fools". Professor Packard and his wife attended one of the performances, and after the performance Packard persuaded Gillette to visit the Packard home in West Medford, where the recording was made, with Watson's lines read by Packard, and Alice Faulkner's lines read by his wife, whose name, by neat coincidence, was Alice.”

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