TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Sid Ceasar and Phones in Comedy

Re: Sid Ceasar and Phones in Comedy
2 Sep 2005 12:17:46 -0700 wrote:

> Was this true in LA, which was still primarily step at this time?
> Most predominantly step cities used "110" for the Long Distance
> operator.

In the show, you couldn't see what was dialed. He just kind spun the
dial a few times, without letting it return properly. They didn't
want to waste air time while properly dialing a number, slows the pace
down too much. Indeed, today on TV you'll see people just shove their
hand against a Touch Tone pad rather than properly press buttons one
at time to make a call.

Perhaps the show originated out of New York City, not Hollywood. I
think the writers (who later were famous comedians and producers
themselves) were New Yorkers, or at least New York oriented.

> Predominantly panel type cities (including those that had some
> crossbar mixed in by this time) used "211."

A separate number for Long Distance instead of plain zero was common
in many cities. Long Distance switchboards were differently equipped
than dial-0 boards (calugraphs*, long distance trunks, number
verification panel, etc.), although many places used one operator.

I wonder when 211-long distance was discontinued. I don't remember it
in my phone book, even before we got DDD (we just dialed 0). Dialing
211 got the regular operator.

*Not to be confused with "calutrons" which was a suped-up cyclotron
used to refine unranium at Oak Ridge Tenn.

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