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Old April 27 2010, 02:07 PM   #58
Location: New York City
Re: Just saw "The Cage" on TOSR- Help me out here...the Keeper's voice

gastrof wrote: View Post
HOW did they get recordings of the Keeper's voice from lines that were never recorded for the flashbacks?

Think they re-dubbed any lines that hadn't been redubbed back in the 60s, maybe using a sound-alike voice artist, or even a computerized voice imitation?
The voice of the keeper was done by actor Malachi Throne.
When footage of The Cage was used for the two part episode The Menagerie additional dialog for the Keeper needed to be recorded because the character addresses Captain Kirk by name. Throne was called in to reprise his voiceover and was also cast as Commodore Mendez (most likely a cost saving measure–two birds with one stone, so to speak). During post production it became obvious with repeated listening's of the audio track that the Keeper and the Mendez character's voice were done by the same actor. To solve this problem the recording of Throne's Keeper voice had its pitch changed.
Long before digital pitch shifters, there was the Eltro Information Rate Changer, a 1/4" tape machine with four play heads mounted on a rotating drum.

This not only solved the problem but had the serendipitous affect of making the voice of the Keeper sound more alien.
Click on Throne on the left to hear his unaltered voice. To the right of him click on the Keeper to hear how he voiced the character for The Cage. Next is how the Keeper's voice was altered for The Menagerie.
There is a photo of the Mark II Eltro Information Rate Changer hardware unit at the link below [thanks Capt.Mac].
and here is another very famous example of this analog audio processing tool used on a voice:
Well, if you've ever watched Kubrick's classic SF film, "2001 -- A Space Odyssey", you've heard the Eltro in action(!)'s how it happened...
In the film the role was voiced by Canadian actor, Douglas Rain, who was able to give a cool, detached -- yet feelingful duality to the character.
During the scene in which Dave (Keir Dullea) "lobotomizes" HAL, you'll easily hear how the tempo of Rain's voice becomes slowly expanded and pitch-shifted gradually downwards. Actually, his entire performance as HAL has a mild amount of time stretching (no alteration of pitch) going on, as Stanley confided to me. I told him I hadn't noticed it before, and he smiled: "it was about 10-20%, rather subtle." But that was enough to enhance Rain's performance with a slightly more measured quality. It's in the final HAL scene that the Eltro effect is cranked way up. "We did that in two passes", Kubrick quietly explained. One pass gradually dropped HALs pitch down to almost zero, remaining at a constant speed. The other pass gradually stretched it out in time, but not as extreme, as HAL sang "Daisy, Daisy" (Bicycle Built For Two by Harry Dacre). And indeed, you couldn't do this simply by slowing down a regular tape recording, as many pundits have since wrongly guessed (to reach the final low pitch, the tempo would crawl to a near-stop).

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
So, I still don't get how this 1966 "black box" worked, but I take Bob Justman at his word that there was indeed some large, clumsy, expensive tehcnology available to have changed the pitch of Malachi Throne's voice
answers below:
more tech info [PDF file] on the hardware unit:

Last edited by jefferiestubes8; April 27 2010 at 02:25 PM.
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