Mesmerizing early video of James Earl Jones reciting the alphabet

This is kind of fascinating and I couldn’t pass it up. James Earl Jones recites the alphabet and counts to ten. The video above of Jones’ unique perfectly annunciated alphabet is an undated Sesame Street video and it must predate the one below of him counting on Sesame Street, which is dated 1972. He used to be hot!

James Earl Jones is 77 and has one of the most recognizable voices in the world. He is best known as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films.

Thanks to Double Viking for finding this. [via Digg]

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25 Responses to “Mesmerizing early video of James Earl Jones reciting the alphabet”

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  1. gia says:

    James Earl Jones used to stutter – that’s why he’s so precise!

  2. Tess says:

    His performance in the film The Great White Hope was fantastic.

  3. Kolby says:

    I think they must have been recorded at the same time – he’s wearing the same turtleneck, he looks to be the same age, and the background (doors) looks the same too, except maybe filmed from another position or different angle. Anyway, he’s awesome and one of my favorite actors. His scenes in Field of Dreams are magical.

  4. elisha says:

    ER, it says the bottom vid is from ’73, and the top video “must be older”. I agree it appears much older. JEJ is very good looking in these videos, except for his teeth. Although it appears he may’ve had some corrective dentistry between the two videos.

  5. geronimo says:

    No, the ‘counting’ one is from 1972 (says so at the beginning of the vid). Although they do look like they were both filmed against the same backdrop, his teeth have definitely had some work in the counting one so the ‘alphabet’ one is definitely older although, funnily, he looks younger in the ‘counting’ one.

    What a gorgeous voice he has, totally mesmerising.

  6. Celebitchy says:

    No I screwed up, I put the bottom one at ’73, but it says ’72 at the beginning, Geronimo is right. I will fix it and make the wording clearer.

  7. Curly Fry says:

    Gia, not only did he stutter, but he was so affected by it that he was voluntarily mute for 2 years of his life when he was young. I love the fact that he is known for his gorgeous voice!!!!

  8. geronimo says:

    Just had a quick look, he had 5 appearances on SS between 1969-1971. So presumably the earlier one dates from this period.

    @Curly – wow, what lovely irony!

  9. Anna says:

    He’s not only known for the voice of Darth Vader (although that is the coolest voice ever). You can hear him every day on the telly.
    He’s the one who says “This is CNN”. It sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it.

    And this video did too. :)

  10. Syko says:

    I love this guy. My favorite of his movies is “Gardens of Stone”, with James Caan.

  11. Ling says:

    While his voice is incredible, it’s not even his full arsenal. Every time he smiled during his recitations I grinned and giggled.

  12. SolitaryAngel says:

    Gia & Curly: Yes, I know—-isn’t it amazing that one of the most AWE–inspiring voices in the world ever almost didn’t happen? When I explained to my son Aaron just a couple of weeks ago that JEJ had had such a hard time trying to overcome his stutter, Aaron was thunderstruck. Just goes to show, doesn’t it, that Karma (or whatever word anyone chooses to call it)exists?
    His voice has always sent chills down my spine!
    @ Syko: Hey! Can you tell me what year that movie was made? I intend to find it and see it (and enjoy it!) based on your recommendation alone! I have faith in you… :mrgreen:

  13. Syko says:

    @Solitary Angel – I had to look – 1987. It has James Caan, JEJ, D.B. Sweeney (about whom I had hot, disconcerting dreams for some months after) and Anjelica Huston. Stateside look at the Vietnam war, Caan and Jones are members of the Old Guard, which conducts the funerals at Arlington and guards the Tomb of the Unknowns. Has an interesting story, and a few laughs and tears. Jones is wonderful in it.

  14. If you like James Earl Jones and Shakespeare, his version of King Lear from the 1974 New York Shakespeare Festival is available on DVD- I highly recommend it. He is absolutely captivating.

  15. Mairead says:

    ooh these are fab!

    I’ve got another idea – could the top one be a screen-test? Even for 1969 the sound and picture quality isn’t great. Plus the really high contrast would make his teeth look less pristine than in the softer-focussed colour segment.

  16. honey says:

    yes,he has had dental work done to improve his grill on the 2nd tape…

  17. JaundiceMachine says:

    Outside of tutoring pre-schoolers and kindergardeners, this is the best rendition of the alphabet I’ve ever seen! (I lie. But sometimes you have to lie to children.)

    His expressions are what kills me. Great baritone delivery with such silly faces. I wish I had a bowl on me.

  18. doodahs says:

    He is so fabulous looking. Such a strong countenance.

  19. vdantev says:

    Listening to him reading Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven is awesome !! Hell, He could read a shopping list and make it an awesome experience. :lol:

  20. Jen (the other one) says:

    I apologize in advance, but I can’t help it. You mean “enunciated” not “annunciated”…your spelling is fine, but it’s the wrong word.

    Grammar police, out.

  21. I choose me says:

    Sigh. In my mind, God sound like James Earl Jones. :oops:

  22. geronimo says:

    Oh yeah, I choose, him or Morgan Freeman. I’ll be happy with whoever turns up at the gates but I do know it’ll be one or the other of these two.