TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Old Movie Phone References

Old Movie Phone References
15 Nov 2005 10:07:07 -0800

Saw bits of two old movies on TCM channel. (Both seemed pretty bad
and I didn't watch them for long). Had some old phones in them.

The first, "Bell Boy" with Jerry Lewis, showed a modern hotel c 1960.
The front desk and service desks had multiple 500 key sets complete
with a thick cord out the back. There were also "space saver*" phones
mounted on the counter top. However, when the phone rang the light
didn't go on. (In the movie "The Apartment", in one scene the keyset
lights definitely were on which alerted the character a call was going
on and she listened to it.)

The second, "Susan Slept Here" (was really bad) had a fancy apartment
(c 1954) and the resident had a two-tone 300 set -- baby blue and
black. Two-tone was big for cars back then and the Bell System pushed
it as well for telephones. I thought the phone looked ugly. The
character called a friend who answered on a black non-Bell set (didn't
seem to be an AE set either), this kind of thing was common in movies.
When someone made a call, the scene changed before all digits were

*Space Saver phones were small and basically it was a little box
holding the hookswitch clamped to a wall or top and the dial mounted
on top of the box. Since the phone was mostly sticking in the air it
didn't take up much of a footprint. Network and ringer had to be
separate. A 1950s Natl Geo Bell System ad promoted "Dad" getting an
extension phone in his workshop and the phone illustrated was a space
saver ("Mom" was to get a color phone). AE had a similar looking
model. They used to be fairly common on workbenches, labs,
countertops, etc. Would anyone know if they were an extra charge

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