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´╗┐Title: Double Take
Author: Griffith, Wilson Parks
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Double Take" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                              DOUBLE TAKE

                       BY WILSON PARKS GRIFFITH

     _The Chicago Time Capsule was indeed an elaborate production.
       The greatest of American acting, writing and electronics
     went into its story of Man, 1960, for future historians. And,
        centuries later, it was dutifully recovered. Only...._

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
              Worlds of If Science Fiction, January 1955.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]


When the Travelers from Outer Space dug into the pile of moldering
rock, they found the metal capsule their senses had told them was
there. Battered and corroded though it was, the shadow vibrations
showed that it had once been smooth and shiny. As smooth, shiny and
impervious to wear as Twentieth Century Earth technology could make it.

At the time the Mayor of Chicago had ceremoniously tossed a handful
of lake sand into the hole, had his picture taken smiling against
the skyline, and had moved away to let the workmen fill the hole with
cement and place the marker, the Time Capsule had been bright with the
hopes of civilization sending its proud present into the uncertain
future.

Time passed....

The tiny radio transmitter in the capsule began throwing out its wide
signal at the exact instant planned for it many centuries before. No
one heard. Eventually, the tiny powerful batteries gave out. The signal
died.

Time passed....

When the Travelers from Outer Space took the capsule back to their ship
and opened it, they found the contents in perfect order. Even the reel
of magnetic tape had not succumbed to the centuries.

In due course, the Travelers examined the tape, divined its purpose,
and constructed a machine that would play back the recording.

       *       *       *       *       *

Out of a million evolutionary possibilities in a Universe of planets,
the chances of two intelligent races being even roughly similar are
astronomically remote.

A being develops sense organs for no other reason than to make it aware
of its environment. The simplest primitive being's awareness of its
environment centers around food, its means of survival. It develops
organs and appendages that will enable it to ferret out, obtain and
ingest its food. As the food differs, so, then, does the eater.

The Travelers had no ears or eyes, as such. They had other organs for
other purposes, but the net result was that they "saw" and "heard"
quite as well--even better--than Earthmen.

Perhaps that explains why the Travelers gleaned so much more from the
tape recording in the Twentieth Century capsule than its originators
had planned or intended.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not just any radio show could be placed in the Time Capsule. What
picture of contemporary 1960 mankind would the men of the future derive
from a soap opera? A news analysis? Or top comedy show? Certainly not
a flattering one, and so, reasoned the brass in charge of the project,
not a true one.

No, the only answer was to produce a special documentary program,
painting on a broad canvas the glories that were the common man's
birthright in an enlightened democracy. As July 4th was only a
month away, the idea was a natural. The program would be carried
simultaneously on four networks, then placed in the Time Capsule so
that historians of the future would have something solid on which to
base their conclusions.

A famous poet-radio writer was hired to write the script. Hollywood's
greatest young male star donated his services (with much attendant
publicity) as narrator. A self-acknowledged genius who directed radio
shows for a living condescended to lend his talents to the production.
Numerous other actors, musicians, technicians and assistants were
hired ... none well-known, but all quite competent.

July 4th, the big day, arrived. The cast went into rehearsal early in
the morning. By the second complete run-through, just before the break
for lunch, the show was hanging together nicely. After four hours of
polishing in the afternoon, it was ready to go on the air. Everyone's
nerves were raw, but the show sounded great.

Naturally, when a room full of creative people have been rubbing
against one another for a full day, a lot of emotions are generated.
The listening audience never knew about it, but it took the actors,
directors, musicians and technicians several days to get the session
out of their systems. During rehearsals, the young Hollywood star
developed a consuming lust for one of the minor actresses. One of the
minor actors developed a consuming lust for the young Hollywood star.
Everyone immediately hated the director, and he, lofty and all-wise,
contemptuously hated them in return. By eight o'clock that night, show
time, the splendid documentary on the splendid American people was not
the only thing that was at peak pitch.

It was the only thing, however, that the radio audience heard. It was
magnificent. Future students hearing the tape could not but conclude
that here was the Golden Age. Man, at least American man, circa 1960,
noble, humble and sincere, was carrying in his bosom the seeds of
greatness. Difficulties still existed, of course, but they were not
insurmountable. A few deluded people seemed to be working against the
common good, but the program left no doubt that this would be cleaned
up in short order. The millenium was at hand!

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Travelers from Outer Space, who were a team of historians
doing research on the history of life throughout the Universe, listened
to the tape recording, their "ears" heard none of the program as it had
been originally broadcast. They were no less fascinated, however, for
what they heard was the thought patterns of the people who had been
connected with the program. These thoughts, in the form of electrical
impulses, were also recorded on the magnetic surface of the tape, and
were the only sounds audible to the Travelers.

What a pity these future historians didn't get mankind's version of
the life of mankind in 1960, after the producers had gone to so much
trouble to tie it up in a package for them. Their conception of Earth
culture was based on the thought impulses they "heard", and their
History of Earth was written accordingly. The last paragraph is worth
noting:

"In the main, it is quite fortunate for life in the Universe that these
primitive people destroyed themselves before they learned how to leave
their planet. Lustful, murderous and guilt-ridden, they are perhaps the
worst examples of intelligent life that we have ever discovered. And
yet, paradox supreme, they had one quality that we ourselves would do
well to emulate. That quality we can only surmise, for nothing on the
recording spoke of it, yet it is obvious, for if they hadn't had this
quality, there would have been no recording left for us at all.

"_How strange that these tortured people should practise an
unparalleled example of Life's highest achievement ... complete honesty
with themselves and others._"





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