More Old Movie Phone Scenes

The cable channel TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is excellent. It shows great old movies. Many of the films were very well written and produced. In B&W, the artful use of lighting and shadows to create mood is excellent.

The film "The Night Holds Terror" (1955) was about a kidnapping. At the end of the film they're waiting for the kidnappers to call with the ransom demand. The victim's wife (who would get the car) was told she must stall them as long as possible to trace the call.

The call came, and the scene switched to the phone company central office, showing technicians checking various Strowger switch units. Other units were still running. Then they showed the service center and lookups in the tub file (a file of each line and its repair history). Very realistic.

Another film, "Dial 1119" (1955?) had some phone scenes (I couldn't stay up for the whole film, work calls). The film opened with the front page of the phone book listing 1119 as the emergency number for police fire and rescue. (I wonder if this was a common number for police back then, in those days we were taught to simply dial 0- operator). This film had an escaped murderer taking a group of people hostage in a bar, and using the telephone (an old 202 set with an E1 handset) to talk to police. Pay phones in the film were all two- piece. Part of the drama was that murderer dialed his calls in a very slow and deliberate manner.

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