Oh, what semi-sweet memories are pouring in this morning.
How many of you have been around long enough to remember not just the 1998 Nora Ephron movie “You’ve got mail” but the upbeat male voice behind the recorded greeting that informed millions of AOL users each morning that someone cared enough about them to send an email? That message has surely been implanted deep in your brain after hearing it ad nauseam for years, right?
Well, as A.C. Club reports today in a post, the man behind the message is still kicking it in Cleveland:
The actor who gave the world the Wilhelm Scream died in 2003, but there’s one iconic disembodied voice that is still very much with us: Elwood Edwards, the voice of AOL.
Apparently, Edwards was tasked in 19989 by Quantum Computer Services to “record a tape of himself saying four phrases:”
The ever-consistent “Welcome” you’d hear when first signing on to your AOL account.
“File’s done” (one of my personal favorites)
The iconic cultural “You’ve got mail” that became buzzwords for the first generation to hog out at the Internet’s trough
And, of course,
According to the post:
Then Quantum changed its name to America Online, every man, woman, and child in America got a mailbox full of AOL install discs, and soon “you’ve got mail” entered into pop culture immortality. But notoriety didn’t translate into a voiceover career for Edwards, and in 1994 he moved to Akron, Ohio to work for a local news station.
So while AOL has spent the past nearly 30 years reinventing itself, becoming much more of a brand company by snapping up sites like TechCrunch and The Huffington Post, what became of that disembodied voice that long ago inhabited most of our home computers?
Now Edwards is the editor and graphics supervisor for Cleveland’s WKYC Channel 3. That’s where comedian Jim Breuer found him, and in a behind-the-scenes video Breuer got Edwards to tell the story behind his famous voiceover track. Breuer’s next task: track down the voicemail lady.