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Q: Who’s That AOL Guy Who Eerily Knows When You’ve Got Mail?

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A: Meet Elwood Edwards, the man behind the message. Approximately 63 million times a day, Edwards’ voice greets AOL customers to let them know “you’ve got mail.” But, how did he get that great gig, you ask? Well, Edwards’ career as a disembodied cyber presence stretches way back to 1989 when his wife overheard her boss at Quantum Computer Services discussing adding a voice to its online service, Q-link. At the same time, Elwood did voice-overs for radio and television, so his wife suggested him for the company’s new program.

Not long after, Quantum changed its name to America Online and premiered AOL 1.0, with Elwood speaking four phrases: “Welcome,” “You’ve got mail,” “File’s done,” and “Goodbye.” And despite the fact that AOL has weathered numerous upgrades, one thing has always remained the same: Elwood Edwards.

Today, his voice is so well known that he’s even created a web site where fans can order their own custom phrases. The site also includes pictures of Edwards, just in case you’re looking to put a face with that friendly voice you love so much.

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  • Dawn

    That was a cool factoid – I love Mental Floss. The books are great for idiots like me to pretend they know stuff – btw the check in the American Apparel ad below has a HUGE rack. Very distracting, but nice!

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Ken Edwards

    Thats a cool tidbit to know, but what is the web site? A link would be nice.

    A; makinwavs.com

    And Dawn, where is this chick with the huge rack? Damn, I always miss the good stuff!

  • http://blog.myspace.com/tinkie101 tink

    I was thinking the same thing…where’s the link?? I don’t even use AOL and now I gotta go there myself…just to get my own personal sound bite!!

  • Will from mental_floss

    Thanks guys. I was looking around to see if I could find it online to listen for free. I did find Edwards’ personal page, where he will personalize your recordings for $25.