Vincent Price's voice: how and why?

How did Vincent Price’s wonderfully distinctive way of speaking (I hesitate to call it a dialect) come about? Has there ever been anything like it? I know he came from St Louis, Missouri. Did people there speak that way when he was growing up? Does anyone there speak that way now and not get sent away for psychiatric evaluation?

I’m going to go with a WAG that he had elocution training when he becamean actor. Radio in those days was not particularly forgiving of lazy speaking habits.

I’m not sure I’ve never heard him speak in like an interview or anything, so I wonder if it sounds exactly the same or if it was somewhat an affectation for his films and voice work, I love his voice though.

He had a unique voice, in the way that Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones does, but he doesn’t have any distinct dialect or accent.

…also in the way that Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones don’t, IMHO.

Actually, it was more forgiving of lazy speaking habits than the previous form of mass entertainment, which involved yelling out into an audience with no electrical amplification. The invention of the microphone allowed people to talk at a normal volume, with normal breathing, and still be heard: For the first time, people could whisper and it would carry to an almost arbitrary distance, without the need for architectural contrivances.

You can understand this when you realize the rise of the crooners (most famously Bing Crosby) was tied intimately to the invention and popularization of the microphone, which was directly tied to radio, because if you can build a microphone and an amplifier you can build a radio network which can carry arbitrary sound, not just Morse code.

All that said, Vincent Price (Vincent Price) began in the theater, where he likely learned all of the stagey elocution techniques used to enable voices to carry to the peanut gallery without the audience being aware you’re yelling at them. Keep the overly-careful enunciation but lose the volume, throw in a flair for the dramatic and a truly impressive evil laugh, and you have Vincent Price’s famous voice.

I tend to attributed his speech and deportment to his somewhat aristocratic background. The wiki might be wrong on this though.

I saw him speak at my college around 1975. Exactly like he did in the movies, although he could have treated it as a performance.

Jonathan Harris (“Lost in Space”) adopted his unique speaking style to overcome his native Brooklyn “dem and dose” speech.

OT: I think it’s sweet that Jonathan Harris married his childhood sweetheart in 1938, and they stayed married until he died in 2002.

That mid-Atlantic accent was pretty common in actors of his era; I also wonder if the fact that his first stage appearances were in London influenced that.

I do have to say, he put on an awful Southern accent in “Laura”.

Oddly, I was just thinking of the weirdness of Conversion — as in 'If I thought christianity, the faith of my fathers, was nonsense, I sure as hell wouldn’t imagine Islam to be any kind of improvement’ — and in the wiki I found a simultaneous double conversion:

He converted to Catholicism to marry her, and she became a U.S. citizen for him.
I can’t begin to imagine either without revulsion.

Splendid voice though.

I saw something with Price conversing with people and that style was somewhat muted but clearly there. It appeared to be candid footage that I can recall, but perhaps he did know he was on camera. His voice is rich with little pitch changes and punctuation.

please keep the anti-Catholicism and anti-USA bigotry out of GQ

If you Google ‘Vincent Price interview’ it will come up with a few, including this one.

the world’s capital is Canada. shut up

I heard Price speak at college a couple of years later, and I agree.
After Leonard Nimoy’s death, the PBS station ran an interview with him in which he said that he originally had a VERY heavy Boston accent*, and he took voice training to “erase” it, resulting in his style of speech.

*They still use a recording of him to introduce the shows at the Boston Museum of Science’s Mugar Omni Theater. (Voice: “Leonard Nimoy! How’d they get him?” Nimoy: “He grew up three blocks from here.” Said, I might add, without a trace of his native Bostonian.)

Little rude for GQ, dontcha think?

I am not opposed in the least to either catholicism or America; certainly for those born in either: I mentioned that conversion ( to either, or to anything ) was weird.
It’s like deciding one wants to be an Elf.

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