Brow Beat

Here Is Tom Hanks Doing the 2001: A Space Odyssey Theme A Cappella

Thus spoke Hanksathustra.

Tom Hanks first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey when he was 13 years old, and he’s now seen it more than 200 times. So often, in fact, that, unprompted, he can sing an a cappella version of the movie’s famous opening music, Richard Strauss’ 1896 tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra.

That’s what Hanks does in the latest episode of Studio 360 (which along with being a public radio show is a Slate podcast). Part of Studio 360’s American Icons series, it’s the first of two episodes about Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film. Widely considered a masterpiece today, the movie was the subject of several prominent pans upon its release, including one by no less a critic than Pauline Kael, who called it “monumentally unimaginative” and suggested it was trash passing itself off as art. Hanks, needless to say, disagrees with Kael’s assessment.

You can hear the whole episode below—and you can subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts.

Studio 360 is a Peabody Award–winning show from Public Radio International.