Remember the days when seemingly obscure memories would sit in the back of the mind and ultimately just be lost forever when a person died? Well, those, my friends, were the days before the INTERNET, because now, thanks to Al Gore, even the most trivial things exist and often flourish in perpetuity.
Consider Captain Zoom and his birthday song, for example. Once upon a time, on a chilly February morning in Lockport, New York, two-year-old me sat with his ear to the stereo speaker and listened as a peculiar spaceman he'd never met addressed him by name EIGHT TIMES throughout the course of bizarre, personalized birthday greeting. Later that night, of course, would come Snake Mountain and a Trans-Am pedal car, but, at the time, I imagine the flimsy, 45 RPM record was plenty spectacular.
Unfortunately, like so many possessions that left under cover of darkness, I have no knowledge of the disc's current whereabouts. At some point I transferred Captain Zoom's song to the yellow "Record Your World of Sounds" cassette that accompanied my Fisher Price tape recorder, only to later cover up most of that with Walk of Life
by Dire Straits. And thus for many years the only proof I had that Captain Zoom ever existed was a brief, melancholy audio snippet ("...singing, 'Matthew, happy birthday to you!' Happy birthday, Matthew! See you next yeeeaaaaaar...")... unless, that is, you count the photograph of me with my ear to the speaker, but I could've been listening to almost anything. I might have been really enjoying a Roger Whittaker album at the time.
In the olden days, that likely would have been the end of the story, but these days, DON'T BE RIDICULOUS. Everything everywhere that ever has been is now collected on the internet, so you'd be really quite conceited to think you're the only one who remembered anything, even if you just made it up in your head and never told anyone else. Google it, I bet it's there. Captain Zoom
Although I can't recall what exactly made me think of him again, it turns out that Captain Zoom has been operating his "hear your name in a song" business for 35 years, and just naturally set up shop online once he had the chance. And it's still the same damn song I heard in 1983 - even his anniversary, Christmas, and wedding variations are just the original song with minor adjustments. It'd be a decent joke if it were done ironically, but it blows my mind to consider that this company perseveres after so long.
After all, the computers and video games of today will not only call you by name, but take your likeness and place it onto a disco-dancing elf or steroid-enhanced, blood-gushing karate tournament fighter... Kids can't still be so easy to impress, right?
It's worth noting that Captain Zoom also branched out at some point and created a cartoon to accompany his classic song, possibly to capitalize on the once-burgeoning home video market, and that this too remains available, albeit now on DVD. And even if the website's sample clip makes no effort to hide a 1989 copyright, it's not as though you couldn't guess the decade it came from just by watching... I think my favorite part is the overbearing emphasis on the recipient's name (which appears to have been added using Lisa Simpson's "My 1st Video Editor"), although I also enjoy the Captain's complete lack of resemblance to the square-jawed space hero image that they've since adopted for marketing purposes. Oh, and the animation is also kind of pitiful. The "Matthew" version is behind the cut. :P THANK YOU, INTERNET!( You're the big star... today!Collapse )