Comedienne Lucille Ball Talks Like a Train in a 1939 Demonstration of the New Sonovox Talk Box

In 1939, inventor Gilbert Wright created the Sonovox, a talk box that utilized the same general principles of Alvino Rey’s Talking Steel Guitar. Rather than using an amplifier, however, Wright created transducers that were applied directly to the user’s throat and paired with a recording to create all sorts of vocalizations. The legendary Lucille Ball demonstrated how this new talk box worked with vocalizations of both a train and a cow.

In a Hollywood CBS recording studio we see American film star actress Lucille Ball telling us she has just travelled cross-country by train. She holds two small amplifiers against her throat and mouths some words. The amplifiers transform the sound of a steam train coming from a record into ‘steam train words’ picked up by Lucille’s larynx. …Lucille does another demonstration – this one seems to be ‘cow words’ – very difficult to decipher.

via Boing Boing