Video interview with a man who witnessed Lincoln's assassination

Originally published at: Video interview with a man who witnessed Lincoln's assassination | Boing Boing


But how was the play?


Lulz to this:

The rules of the show were that he would win $20 for each of the four panelists who failed to guess his secret. Since the secret was guessed by Jayne Meadows, the second of four panelists, he would normally have won only $20 but the host decided to generously award the entire $80 jackpot to Seymour for his courage in appearing on the show. Also because Seymour smoked a pipe rather than cigarettes, the show’s sponsor, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company gave him a can of Prince Albert pipe tobacco instead of the usual prize of a carton of Winston cigarettes.

$20 in 1956 is around $225 today, figuring by inflation. So, the game show gave a chance to win the equivalent of $900 and a carton of coffin nails. Wee!

ETA: maths


Yes, I know you are making a reference to the famous joke “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…”, but in all seriousness, I’ve read the script of the play, and despite being a very successful comedy at the time, I didn’t find it very funny, but then people say comedy has a “sell-by” date as tsstes change over time.


Man, so this took place in 1956 - imagine how much the world changed for this guy. He went from literal horse and buggy by oil lamp , to rockets, air planes, and electric lights. If he lived another ~5 years, he could see the first man in space. From Telegrams to telephone to television.

From the time he was 5, he went from 36 to 48 states!



Always interesting to think of the human experience in a span of time, with innovations and revolutions, but for the vast majority of folks it passes with less notice than you might think.

Experience of history unfolding is unique to the individual.

There are folks who live off-grid in Alaska and it was months before a visitor informed them about 9/11. Even that knowledge didn’t change their way of life (except for being grateful they were far removed from the insanity that followed).

We can’t all be a Forrest Gump or Leonard Zelig.

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I remember working at The Cosmosphere one of my managers was lamenting that kids these days, and even his generation, didn’t get to see any earth shattering leaps in technology. Unlike his parents or grandparents who grew up with out electricity, cars, TV, radio, rockets, the atom bomb, etc.

We came up with the Internet being the thing most likely to change our daily lives, though in 1994/1995 it was still in its infancy. I think it has become a huge thing - and it with cell phones being the biggest change in society. But even Cell Phones are just refinements of car and telephones. We knew they were going to be a common thing eventually.

But the technological leaps have largely been refinements and increased efficiency of past technologies.

But I think you’re right, when living during the time, the shock was probably there to a degree, but it was also a slow introduction and probably didn’t seem “earth shattering” at the time. Well, except maybe the atom bomb.


except that none of us them as phones

we can communicate with pretty much anyone on the planet at any moment, have many encyclopedias worth of knowledge at our fingers, hear about world events as they happen, can call up a wide variety of songs and videos, see a lifetime of our own pictures, find our exact location on a map and nearly any business near by, get a rough translation of nearly any text ( and some audio ) into our native language(s), and on and on

there were very few people – if any – who predicted or expected this level connection

my highschool social studies teacher like to say how his father had gone from the horse and buggy to the space race – with two world wars in there – and how nothing would ever change so much again.

i honestly think he was wrong


I don’t think he was wrong. My dad’s life spanned nearly the entire 20th century and I always think about what life was like when he was a kid, versus what it was like at the end. Way more significant on-the-ground changes than faster communication and data storage. IMO. Came at a price, though (talkin’ bout those world wars). Gotta say, though, GPS is pretty cool.

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It would seem you move in and communicate with circles that are quite different from mine.

i’ll grant it’s hard to compare the delta from horse to plane, and from say newspapers to the web. it’s very much an apples to bananas sort of a thing; external physical world vs internal social knowledge.

i do think the changes of the current century are very much reshaping the planet and human life, it’s just in a different way than the previous century.

if we survive the greenhouse gases from cars, then maybe it’ll be bitcoin emissions, the corporate consolidation that computers enable, or ai that gets us in the end - or we survive to another weird 100 years to follow

i think the gap for the kids is even greater. what is a tick talk anyway? ( he asked, typing on his phone )

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Seems true. The oldest known jokes:

  • "A dog walks into a bar and says, ‘I cannot see a thing. I’ll open this one.’” (~2000BC Sumera)
  • “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.” (~1900BC Sumeria)
  • “How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.” (~1600 BC Egypt)

I do wonder if the dog/bar joke is an ancient “no soap radio”-type joke.

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