Saturday, November 10, 2012


The invitation this week on Sepia Saturday
according to the prompt picture
is a discussion over telephones, switchboards and women. 
I did feature my own mother before working the switchboard for Quebec Telephone in the '50s, 
pictures of my father in his bachelor days and one of him casually on the phone, 
also in the 1950s. 
I featured those EATON catalogs from which you could order by phone. 
I even mentioned Ernestine
my fave phone operator. 
what now?!? 
A [very] brief summary of its history 
and then, 
its presence in some media, 
that's what!!! 

in the last half of the 19th century, 
greatly influenced research in phonautographs, telegraphs and acoustic telegraphs, 
which would eventually lead to a patent for the first telephone in 1876.

If telephones had a certain appeal, 
they were not readily available to everyone, 
and for those who had them, 
they had to share lines, 
and ask an operator to place a call. 
each household had its own autonomous [and private] line. 
No more eavesdropping!!

While car phones existed by the mid-1940s, 
it is only in the 1960s that they became more common place for the privileged
To think that nowadays, 
it is now illegal to speak on your phone while driving... 
I bet the inventors didn't think of that back then, 
the risks due to the attention deficit... 

But the presence of telephones in our life is insidious, 
pervading every spheres, 
as it was not enough we had one at home and one in the car, 
we now had to carry one at all times with us!!! 
From the early 1980s, 
these huge phones were ridiculous 
and I remember seeing some businessmen standing proudly on a corner, 
speaking on one of these phones, 
acting fresh... 
Silly, really!!! 
I remember one talking in one of the corridors of Place Ville Marie, 
looking all self important, 
turning this way and that, 
looking if anyone was checking him out. 
The young women passing by didn't pay him the least bit of attention. 
Only me watching his feeble attempts at getting some attention... 
Major fail here!!!
But these phones had one advantage given their bulk 
as they could double as a blunt instrument if the user was mugged on the street... 
The design has improved, 
the size was reduced, 
and it became readily more available to everyone
I see even some homeless folks around here who have one... 
I'm not even kidding here!!!

Here you see actress Ida Lupino manning the board in 1942. 
She was a most prolific actress on the silver screen and then on television, 
and the first female director. 
And this is where this post takes off on another tangent. 
Telephones in the movies!! 
They are ever present and yet rarely properly acknowledged. 
So many movies feature phone conversations...

featuring Grace Kelly as the unfaithful wife, 
her plotting husband organizes her murder but the plan falls flat 
as she kills the hired aggressor. 
The plot thickens as she becomes the police's primary suspect and is sentenced to death, 
until the lover and the detective uncover the truth... 
A love triangle, jealousy and blackmail, 
and a phone call that comes a little too late...

Leave it to Hitchcock to bring a play up on the screen 
and make it a memorable masterpiece.

1979 brought us this psychological horror movie 
about a babysitter being harassed by phone 
only to find out the threat was much closer to home than she had figured.

Woody Allen on the phone 
in this 1986 classic
Is there a funnier man?!? 

a 2002 American thriller, 
featuring Colin Farrell, 
is about an arrogant NYC publicist, 
held hostage in a phone booth by a sniper. 
Exciting drama that changed his life forever...


I found a couple of gems on the net. 
one where you never have to say goodbye.


And this montage by Christian Marclay in 1995.

And on a final note, 
why create in 1932 an iconic superhero...

...only to have him changing his clothes into a phone booth?!? 
To say the least... 

This was my journey into movieland and beyond  
while covering this week's topic. 
I hope you've enjoyed this 
and please hold the line, 
I'll connect you directly to 
Thanks for calling!! 
Your call is important... [to me].


  1. A classic Ticklebear collection. As comprehensive as an encyclopedia, as visually compelling as a gallery and as entertaining as a .... well as a Ticklebear post.

    1. As far as family pics go,
      I had gone as far as I could on this theme,
      so, I had to improvise a bit.
      And I do enjoy connect your themes to the cinematic experience.

  2. Ah - the car phone. Do you remember the tv show "Burke's Law"? Burke was a wealthy lawyer who rode around in a chauffeured Rolls all the while talking on his car phone. Frank Cannon also did his detective work on a phone in his big ol' Lincoln (tv show - "Cannon").

    Your movies remind me just how scary a phone can be.

    1. I do remember Cannon, but not Burke's law.
      Boy, you're good at digging up memories too!!!

      Phones are neglected by most for their importance,
      but their presence is everywhere in the media, movies, TV, ads,
      and our daily lives too!! Innocent by themselves,
      they can be a helpful tool or a scary one too!!

  3. An outstanding post! I love the historical information and the movie references.

    1. Just the kind of thing I do when I have no family pics anymore...

  4. Now it's only cold callers on the telephone and £10 on my mobile pay as you go lasts 6 months. Amsuing take on the theme - loved the movie links and I was surprised how many I recognised.

    1. Hey, hey?!?
      What did I say?
      They do pervade every spheres of our lives,
      into our consciousness, digging deep into our subconscious,
      almost disappearing but always present.
      I'm pretty sure you could come up with other titles, eventually...
      Phone scenes that have marked you over time.

  5. I loved the Hitchcock phone photo.

  6. I loved this post, B.! Garce Kelly is one of my all time favs, I dont think anybody is more beautiful.

    I never really thought about the lack of privacy that Superman had, standing in a phone booth in his tidy whities trying to pull his tights on. What a nightmare!

    And to think that I am visiting you today via my cell phone. Who would have thought it.

    1. "Garce"????
      I'll blame it on your use of the phone,
      but this word exists in French, and it is not very becoming for Grace.
      Quite funny!!
      I sense the irony of your situation,
      but obviously,
      where there is a will, there is a way.
      You've made that clear.
      Thanks for putting in the effort!!

  7. What I want to know is - where were all those piles of superman's clothes that he left in phone booths all over town?

    1. The thought did cross my mind
      and I figured he must have a way to vacuum seal his clothes
      into a tiny package which he hides somewhere...
      Wanna bet which bulging muscle is not THAT impressive after all?!?

  8. Will you do me a favor? Please post your SS contributions a couple of days earlier. That'll give me some extra time to thoroughly appreciate them. Although I am not much of a movie connoisseur I enjoyed reading it all!

    1. It is called Sepia Saturday, so, I post on Saturday [here], actually at 00:10 am,
      so, it is not like I delay posting these. You have a week to enjoy them before
      we all post again. I'm pleased with the enthusiastic response though.
      If we lived in the same timezone, the waiting would seem less long...
      Oh well!!

  9. I wish talking and texting while driving were illegal here. When legislation was proposed to ban texting, our governor vetoed it! At least our city stepped up to ban texting while driving. Reruns of Miami Vice feature some of those early mobile phones, I think. Another enjoyable read!

    1. Just wait 'till it is closer to home for your governor when someone he knows personally,
      dies in a car crash due to his/her cellphone. Then there will be proper legislation
      to deal with the problem. It's unfortunate, but some politicians need a tragedy to shock them
      and the public opinion to get things happening...

  10. How ever did I forget Clark Kent? Oh I know because Batman and Spiderman are way cooler in my house at the moment-and neither one of them used a handy see through dressing room! Ha! Ha! I so like how our minds worked slightly together on this one! Although your dial M and Hitchy photos are way cooler than mine! As are all your photos- it's always a treat to read through your wit and charm and tons of laughs besides viewing all your great pictures!

    1. You make Superman sound wildly kinky, what with the "handy see through dressing room"...
      I'll drop by later "at your place"...

  11. Oh, that Cambridge car phone is too funny! And the HUGE cell phone? Hilarious by today's standards. You have to wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would think if he could see phone technology today. I wonder what he'd think if he saw people walking around with blue-tooth earphones?

    1. Once he worked his mind around this? I think he'd smile!!

  12. Oh, I LOVE that car phone! I had never seen one like that! But I must admit my favorite was the one from a previous post of your Mom at the switchboard. I would love to have a similar photo of my Mom.

    1. Those were happy days for my mom...
      I've never seen a car phone like that for real,
      but those early cellphones, Oh Yeah!!
      Off to see your post now!!
      Have a good week!!

  13. Ya kudos to TB for another great post. Very creative and well organized. Were you telling me you are a nurse in the comment you left me?
    I can't remember anything you may have said. Love to visit you each week.

    1. I used to be an orderly, before my back injuries.
      Now, I'm something else... but still in the health care sector.

  14. SWhat an original take on this week's theme. A great social history and fun to read.

  15. Ernestine is always my fave, lots of great photo reminders here, including the Dial M for....I did not know car phones existed in the 40's, Few home phones back then, so one must have been highly privileged to own one...another week of a full array of photos on put lots of work into this.

    1. I wrote this a week ago. That's why I like those early prompts so I can plan ahead.

  16. Those clunky phones are a hoot, aren't they? I love watching old 80s movies just to see the archaic technology that was so "innovative" and astounding. Watch some old "Columbo" episodes and you will just die at the old telephone answering machines - they are as big as record players!

    Fun post, TB!

    1. I remember my parents having one of those answering machines...
      By the time I got my first apartment, these things were a tenth of the size!!
      What about those microwave ovens!?! Dinosaurs, but they worked forever,
      even if they took up too much space. I only replaced mine a few years ago,
      even if the old one still worked fine. I wanted some counter space in my tiny kitchen...

  17. You put some time into preparing this post, like a choreographer getting all the dancers in sync.

    I've noticed that the new substitution of the cellphone for the telephone makes the scenes in movies very different. The telephone is a static scene, the character is tied to a desk, a room, or a booth. The cell phone scene is moving, always walking/talking, never still, and reception is always ANYWHERE at FULL BARS!

    And where is Superman changing his duds these days? I can't remember when I last saw a phone booth.

    1. The only reason they wouldn't be at full bar in a movie would be on purpose, to add drama,
      like the movie with Kim Bassinger, "Cellular". I thought it was a good one.

      As for Superman, he'd have better luck with public washrooms...


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