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Old 04-13-2007, 07:22 PM   #1
ATMachine
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George Hall's accent

Until recently I had only seen the reedited TV movie versions of Young Indy episodes, which were missing the original Old Indy segments. Now, thanks to a friend of mine I was able to see some of the first few episodes, featuring George Hall as old Indy.

I was completely taken aback when Hall opened his mouth and he delivered his lines with a quasi-English accent. This was especially shocking because Harrison Ford's delivery in the movies is about as "standard American" as you can get.

After doing a bit of Internet research I found out some interesting things which relate to the question of the accent.

George Hall was trained as a Broadway actor and had his stage debut in 1946. Up until the 1950's, stage and film actors were trained to speak with an accent dubbed "Mid-Atlantic English," a combination of American vocabulary with Received Pronunciation (aka English English) manner of speaking.

A good example from a more recent film is the opening scene of Star Wars. When Vader captures Leia aboard the Blockade Runner and tries to make her reveal where she hid the Death Star plans, Carrie Fisher delivers her lines in Mid-Atlantic English. It might be worth pointing out that this style of speaking was used to some degree in old serials like Flash Gordon, which had a large impact on Lucas' imagination.

After World War II the dialect was no longer taught to actors, but some theater veterans like Hall still used it. It's not surprising therefore that his Old Indy would have a touch of Mid-Atlantic English.

Hall said in interviews that he made a conscious decision not to emulate Harrison, and I guess that extends to the accent. Still, it does seem rather unlikely that even a 93-year-old Indy would suddenly become posh in his speech, when Harrison played Indy as a very casual, down-to-earth fellow.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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*BUMP*

Hi, ATMachine. This thread is an oldie and you may already know the answer by now but...the reason behind his accent is much more simple than your Mid-Atlantic theory:

George Hall was a Canadian, born in Toronto (the same year Indiana Jones ran away from home) so he had a typical, Ontario accent.

Though, I agree, his way of speaking didn't fit and it was rather unfortunate that he chose to not emulate Harrison Ford. Based on his accent alone, I sometimes wonder why G.Hall was even picked for the part.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
*BUMP*

Hi, ATMachine. This thread is an oldie and you may already know the answer by now but...the reason behind his accent is much more simple than your Mid-Atlantic theory:

George Hall was a Canadian, born in Toronto (the same year Indiana Jones ran away from home) so he had a typical, Ontario accent.

Though, I agree, his way of speaking didn't fit and it was rather unfortunate that he chose to not emulate Harrison Ford. Based on his accent alone, I sometimes wonder why G.Hall was even picked for the part.
Stoo, you resurrected a very old thread! Yeah, I've since learned Hall was Canadian... but have Canadian accents really changed so much in 100 years?

I do still think Hall's voice was not very compatible with Harrison's delivery as heard in the films... the much more "American" voice of Old Indy from the early 90s McDonald's TV promo might have been a better fit.

Hall did physically resemble Ford adequately, though (especially with that eyepatch added... looking at Hall in Remember WENN, apparently his eyes were rather oddly uneven in their position on his face).
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
George Hall was a Canadian, born in Toronto (the same year Indiana Jones ran away from home)

Hmmm, so the pieces of the puzzle come together...
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATMachine
Stoo, you resurrected a very old thread! Yeah, I've since learned Hall was Canadian... but have Canadian accents really changed so much in 100 years?
I stumbled across your unanswered thread while searching for something else. Don't know how it slipped by back in 2007. Better late than never, eh?

As to how much Canadian accents have changed in 100 years, that is a complex subject and I can only make an educated guess. I'm not that old! Though, like any country, the accents are regional. To my ears, G.Hall definitely sounded Ontario-ish, especially in the way he pronounced his 'o's.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATMachine
I do still think Hall's voice was not very compatible with Harrison's delivery as heard in the films... the much more "American" voice of Old Indy from the early 90s McDonald's TV promo might have been a better fit.
Absolutely agree 100%, ATMachine! The voice in the McDonald's promo is infinitely more appropriate! (For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, check out this thread: young indiana jones chronicles mcdonalds promo)
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Originally Posted by ATMachine
Hall did physically resemble Ford adequately, though (especially with that eyepatch added... looking at Hall in Remember WENN, apparently his eyes were rather oddly uneven in their position on his face).
I've seen photos from "Remember WENN" but not the show, itself (nor Hall in anything else for that matter). Did he speak the same way in that? The reason I ask is because talented actors can fake accents reasonably well, if they are good enough.
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Yeah, Old Indy was a really a tall-tale-telling, other Henry Jones from the suburb of Mississauga!
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:28 PM   #6
ATMachine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
I've seen photos from "Remember WENN" but not the show, itself (nor Hall in anything else for that matter). Did he speak the same way in that? The reason I ask is because talented actors can fake accents reasonably well, if they are good enough.
A couple of full-length episodes are currently up on YouTube, plus a few additional snippets--they do include some of George Hall's role. I believe Hall used his "Old Indy voice" on this show too (so it must have really been his normal voice).
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