The America of Lincoln and the Civil War can feel like distant history, but every now and then, through the appearance of what Jason Kottke has called a “human wormhole,” we are confronted with the brevity of a century and a half.
The above video captures this phenomenon succinctly. Here is a man, elderly but still kicking, who witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Yet his setting — the 1950s/1960s game show “I’ve Got a Secret” — is completely recognizable as a modern media production. Sure, it’s not in color, the hairstyles are a bit outdated, and a cigarette advertisement is prominently displayed, but those are subtle changes when compared with those this man saw in his lifetime.
The Atlantic treats this particular clip as if it’s new; it’s been online for three years. That doesn’t make it any the less amazing, however, and the blogger helpfully provides a link to a newspaper article mentioned in the video.