It’s January 1, 2000.
The power’s on. Planes are flying. The toilet flushes.
Everything’s completely normal. Aw, what a letdown.
So the Time Capsule gang cooked up some “Y2K moments” for you:
Phony greetings from President McKinley, Queen Victoria & Thomas Edison!
Imagine this… Every day since the dawn of the Carter Administration, someone in this country has tuned in somewhere to hear one of our Time Capsule programs. That a small company from Cape Cod could enjoy such loyalty is one reason why this has been — to be blunt — our favorite millennium (no offense to Moses, Aristotle or Charlemagne).
So what better way to say thanks to our longtime friends on both sides of the radio transmitters than by cooking up something that plays with time itself?
Everybody has heard way too much about the Y2K scare. So in case life doesn't toss any real Year 2000 malfunctions your way, we've got 16 of them for you. Yeah, they're fake. But they're real, too.
The events we mention really happened. The stock quotes, sports stories, merchandise prices, and song information are accurate, too. Even the music on our Casey (Jones) Countdown show and in the backgrounds of our "ads" are from genuine 1899 cylinders, preserved by collectors and available from wonderful sources like Glenn Sage at www.tinfoil.com.
Try as we might, though, we couldn't unearth any January 1900 greetings from President McKinley, Queen Victoria or Thomas Edison. If we had, they probably would have sounded a lot like the ones we've created for you. Okay, maybe their predictions wouldn't have been so wildly wrong, but that's what happens when long-dead people force you to put words in their mouths.
A trusted, avuncular reporter like Walt Gesundheit may have existed at the turn of the century, too. But since broadcasting was still around the corner, we were compelled to do what radio people have done ever since. We faked an aircheck.
Perhaps even our Y2K worries had a 1900 equivalent… folks who feared that their modern electrical gizmos would somehow be confused into thinking it was 1800! Now you can hear what a "Y19C" failure may have sounded like.
Whether you've been a longtime fan of our Time Capsule quizzes or you just decided to check us out on the web, thanks for clicking over.
And if you know anyone still huddled in survivalist shacks, why not invite them to put down their canned pork-and-beans long enough to enjoy a laugh, too? Happy 2000.
If McKinley had known he’d be assassinated the next year (by an anarchist, in Buffalo), he probably wouldn’t have run for re-election in 1900.
Nor would he have uttered anything like what you’ll hear in this bombastic fantasy of a political ad.
That’s a 1900 recording of “El Capitan” in the background.
Ed O’Toole is the announcer.
Before railroad engineer Casey Jones slammed into his final caboose in April 1900, he should have made a career change... and tracked the hits instead (70 years later, another Casey would find fame and fortune in countdowns). And don’t you just love that Edison Records announcer, bellowing out his intro on this 1899 cylinder?
Nancy Proctor took time out from her promotion duties here at Time Capsule to confer her infectious optimism onto old Queen Victoria -- then in the 62nd year of her reign, with the Brits bogged down in the Boer War (“How Boerrrring!”)
Horseless carriages? Just another crackpot idea from the expiring century -- at least according to that trusted, avuncular newsman, Walt Gesundheit.
“Walt” was first a Time Capsule intro/outro character in 1977.
I must confess that this voice gets easier to do as I get older!
The copy is straight from a January 1900 ad in the New York Times for a famous retailer whose name rhymes with “Lacy’s”. Hmmm. Dorothy O’Toole -- leading lady of our best
Dan Quinn had 16 Number One hits in the 1890s, including “Daisy Bell”, “The Sidewalks of New York”, “The Band Played On” & “A Hot Time In The Old Town”. He ended the ’90s with this tribute to suds.
The barbershop jingles here are sung by four delightful Cape Cod octogenarians who perform regularly as The Harborside Harmonizers.
Real stock prices, but Walt (as usual) draws the wrong conclusions. Dorothy brings another newspaper ad to life, with “The Stars & Stripes Forever” on banjo behind her. Then Walt returns with 30 seconds of “What Things Cost”.
This one has it all: Ed as the frenetic newsman (spewing headlines over Morse Code), Dorothy pitching Royal Baking Powder, and a promo for a “Person Of The 19th Century” special. Fans of the old ABC Contemporary Network will recognize the intro, too.
The items and prices are from a newspaper ad for Siegel-Cooper, whose catchy slogan was “Meet You At The Fountain”. The background is from a 1904 (sorry) recording called “Down On The Old Plantation”. The milquetoast voice is from Ed O’Toole.
“Wireless entertainment replacing a live Vaudeville performance is about as likely... as a machine that can fly!”
Poor ol’ Walt misses the mark yet again...
Ed evokes gravel-voiced 1930s broadcaster Clem McCarthy in his sports report. The start of 1900 saw the National League shrink from twelve teams to eight (soon followed by the birth of the American League). Hoss was right: Brooklyn’s owners took Baltimore’s best players and then shut down the Orioles. Background music is 1897’s “Liberty Bell March”.
Casey couldn’t resist sending Axel Cutler’s long-distance dedication -- with plenty of double entendres -- to America’s favorite acquitted ax-murderess.
The Father of the Phonograph is voiced by the Father of the Time Capsule family, Bill Teimer. Like Edison, he did some of his best work in New Jersey (next time you gaze up at the moon, see if you can spot the actuator he designed for the Apollo lander).
George Washington Johnson was born into slavery, began recording on tin foil in 1877, and became the first superstar of the industry. “The Laughing Song” was probably the biggest-selling cylinder of the 1890s. And because mass production of cylinders hadn’t yet come about, Johnson recorded his infectious laugh some 40,000 times!
Having read about his historic song for years, I was thrilled to find it at www.tinfoil.com.
A composite of several department store newspaper ads. The gruff proprietor, Snipe Conley, is another Ed O’Toole character. Background song: “Smoky Mokes”.
Walt blithely dismisses the “Y19C” threat, the inevitable happens, and a Town Crier (Ed) fades in with the news of January 1800. And some faulty predictions of his own.
When the 21st Century dawned, these drop-ins were indeed broadcast on Time Capsule affiliate stations throughout the USA -- including on Guam, where Clinton Administration officials had convened to monitor the entry of the Year 2000. If the government agents heard these “malfunctions” (on local News/Talk station K-57), they somehow managed to suppress their panic.
Several months later, we learned that our audio mischief had been selected by the Communicator Awards folks for their top honor (perhaps in a “Misc/Other” category).
Thus encouraged, we intend to spend the next 80 years preparing for what might go wrong on January 1, 2100.