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The First Commercial VoiceOver Ever?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

July 19, 2011

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Bisque antique doll face. The doll is from the 1880s.When was the first commercial voiceover recorded?

An article was recently published via the San Francisco Chronicle proposing that the very first commercial recording ever made relates to a project Thomas Edison worked on.

Just what was this invention?

Find out in today's VOX Daily!

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Scientists recently revealed what they believe to be the oldest commercial voiceover ever: a 123-year-old recording produced by Thomas Edison featuring a female voice singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," believed to be Edison's first attempt at a talking doll.

The specimen is possibly the oldest surviving commercial recording. The article also indicated that Thomas Edison hired the woman to sing on the recording in 1888 in West Orange, N.J., less than two years before he unsuccessfully put the doll on the market.

The photo above is not of the actual doll Edison put on the market but is a close up of an antique bisque doll from the same decade made in the 1880s.

If we delve a bit deeper, we can see that the application of the voice recording is a talking toy. Interactive and talking toys are areas of the voiceover business that have exploded in popularity and ubiquity.

What Other "Oldest" Commercial Recordings Are There?

That got me thinking about the "oldest" known and or oldest surviving recordings from each of the major applications of voice over.

For instance, the first voiceover used in an animated film in addition to being the first commercial animation voiceover was performed by Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie (1928).

Any Comments?

If you happen to know of what the first commercial recordings were for certain applications of voiceover, I'd love to hear from you!

Be sure to comment on this post and join the conversation.

Best wishes,



Related Topics: animation, commercial, Disney, hired, Mickey Mouse, San Francisco, Steamboat Willie, talking toy, Thomas Edison, toys, voiceovers, Walt Disney


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