Finds like this send chills up my spine. The Shakespeare geeks likely know, though others may not, that a certain Booth – Mr. Edwin Booth, to be precise – was a much heralded Shakespearean actor in the late 1800’s. If the name sounds familiar, you are correct – he is the brother John Wilkes Booth, and hopefully we all know what he did.
Would you have ever thought in a million years that you could hear what Edwin Booth sounded like? Here’s a portion of his Othello, courtesy Michigan State:
Of course the quality is terrible – it’s from a wax cylinder! The fact that it exists at all is amazing. You’re listening to a guy that was alive when Lincoln was shot.
How do you like his delivery, what you can make of it? He seems a little … I dunno, spooky to me. Bela Lugosi? I’m trying to remember which of the horror movie actors was famous for that ghoulish sort of elongating of the vowels. Like the narration on the old “Monster Mash” variety song.
What a horrible comparison to make. Sacrilege, I know. :)