Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Charles Laughton's Account of David and Goliath

With Thanksgiving tomorrow I am reminded of one of my best audio experiences of the last several years, a discovery of Charles Laughton telling a wonderful remembrance, captured and broadcast by John Birge in a Thanksgiving special, Giving Thanks, which will be rebroadcast this year.

The whole two hours is a work of art, but my favorite by far is toward the end of the second hour, an out-of-print cut from Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums," Chartres Cathedral story; Psalm 104, read by Charles Laughton.

My entry from two years ago still works
. The voice of Charles Laughton is worth the time it takes to hear the whole program, but if your time is limited, find the second hour and advance the slider to 35 minutes to hear him reading Jack Kerouac. This reading is followed by the most wonderful personal story that no synopsis from me can do justice. Then, fifteen minutes into the Charles Laughton segment, he reads Psalm 104 in that timeless and unforgettable voice.

The following night I dug into the Internets and patched together a transcript of Laughton's edited version of Psalm 104. As you listen you can go there and wait for him to get to that part of his reading.

The video below is a non sequitur, by the way. I just grabbed it from the You Tube collection because I like it.

1 comment:

Gloria said...

These recordings are from laughtons Two-disk record "The Storyteller", a record which fully deserves a re-release, and it is a kind of vital testament.

It was released in 1959, three years before his death, and is a compedium of Charles' lifelong one-man crusade to extend the love of literature: he would come to a town, read a number of selected texts, and entice the public to keep on reading.

He started during WW2: he would read to wounded GIs in hospitals, and to European exiles under alien curfew, such as Robert Siodmack, Bertolt Brecht, Henry Koster...