TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: "All the President's Men" (still more movie phone trivial)

"All the President's Men" (still more movie phone trivial)
Sun, 17 Jun 2007 19:21:01 -0700

As mentioned, in TV and films the dialing of a telephone can slow down
the pace. Often characters improperly "spun" the dial or dialed fewer
digits to speed up the scene.

But in this movie they purposely dailed deliberately as part of the
drama. Indeed, they not only dialed the full seven digit number, they
also dialed the 9 for the outside line and even paused waiting for the
second dial tone. This was when Redford was calling various CREEP
officers to track down money given to the Watergate burglars. There
was a TV set on in the background, adding to the scene.

I think of this movie as "modern" since it is in color and relatively
recent as compared to the B&W films shown on TCM made in the 1930s and
40s. But of course this film is 30 years which is not very new,

The other notable aspect of this film was the _lack_ of computers and
other automated devices to help them in their research, all the things
we take for granted today. Redford had a _manual_ typewriter, as was
common for reporters in newsrooms in those years. Wire service came
over classic Teletypes operating at the princely speed of seven
characters per second. After typing their copy, it was edited by
hand, then sent to Linotype machine operators to set type.

There were mobile phones in those days, but probably only the
newspaper's owner had one. All the rest made do with pay phones. All
reporters kept a mental note of where pay phones were located so as to
be able to call in stories. Other reporters were on duty at phone
banks (spacesaver sets with headsets) to take down the information
phoned in.

If they wanted to research anything historical, it meant a trip to the
library and _serially_ scanning through microfilm reels. Slow and

It's amazing the differences in a reporter's work then vs. now.

One difference was that newspapers had much larger circulation in
those days.

Anyone else familiar with that movie care to comment on the technology
of the time? (public replies, please)

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