Re: Western Union Public Telegram Offices

By the time of the movie, 1954, pay phones were a standard fixture

> virtually everywhere in cities. The building he was visiting had a > Western Union office in the lobby and certainly would've had a bank of > pay telephone booths; all office buildings had them in the lobby.

It was certainly difficult to find any public telephone in Denton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas and home to two universities, in that time frame, nor any business that would allow you to make a collect telephone call. I speak from experience. Denton was served by General Telephone.

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I don't know about telegraph rates, but long distance telephone rates > were based on distance. A call 1,000 miles away cost considerably more > than a call 100 miles away. If telegraph rates were flat by distance, > then telegrams would be more likely sent for longer distances than > short distances.

Telegraph rates, like telephone rates, were set by distance. I once had occasion to send a local telegram, and I believe they were common in some cities.

Wes Leatherock

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: And there were also, like phones, both day and night rates on telegrams, and promotional deals, such as a person who picked up a telegram in the public office was entitled to a special cheap rate if they responded within a few minutes while still in the office. PAT]
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