Sunshine Skies Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia, written by David P. Henderson

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HAL, THE ROBOT VOICE OF ATLANTA HARTSFIELD

When the current terminal at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport opened on September 21, 1980, one of its most striking features was a strange robot voice that herded passengers on and off the futuristic underground shuttle trains. Sounding similar to the Cylon robots from the 70's TV show Battlestar Galactica, the voice became affectionately known to riders as Hal, a reference to the computer in 2001:A Space Odyssey

In 1994 Hal was replaced by a more traditional human voice but public outcry prompted airport officials to quickly resurrect him. The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote that "The strange, faceless robot voice that bosses everyone onto and off the shuttle trains at Hartsfield International Airport is as much a part of this gleaming, futuristic city's identity as, well . . . MARTA."

Sadly, Hal was permanently decomissioned shortly before the 1996 Summer Olympics because city officials decided "foreigners can't understand it". Oh well. Fortunately for us, Nathan Lesueur forwarded an mp3 of Hal. Thanks Nathan! To see the "station colors" the robot refers to, look at this map.

LISTEN TO HAL

Anyone who can provide other recordings of the original robot voice from the airport train or the cheery, Betty White-esque voice that announced "You are entering the transportation mall" will receive a free copy of my book Sunshine Skies. Contact me HERE.

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