Bell Telephone System - Phone garden.

Phonegarden. Lamest band to come out of Seattle in The Nineties.

Hey, citizens of the timestreams! Couldn't you use a big friendly "hello" from Easter in 1960 right now? No? Great! To get you ready for Pointy Tree Day Season, here's a big juicy "hell-frikkin-o" from Easter in 1960, and Easter says you should have as many phones as you have rooms in your house!

"Pick a Phone from this garden of colors!" Can you spot the typo in that sentence? That's right they forgot the two Ls on the end of A. "Pick ALL phones from this garden of colors... and a creepy stuffed Easter Bunny with tarantulas for eyes.

"Pick all the phones you want, human,
it will not save you. Sssssssss."
Because this photo shoot happened in good old analog The Sixties, there was no post-processing trickery used to get the shot. You can see that the phones are held up on "stems" made from something very like rebar wrapped with green crepe paper. If you're old enough to have ever handled a Western Electric telephone from the old wireful era of telecommunications, you know that they were made from recycled manhole covers, and can be used to knock out a donkey.

Knowing this, you can guess there's no way an eight-year-old girl is holding up a basket (gripping it way way off center) with a telephone in it, with one hand, nowhere near her center of gravity.

Cheeky devils. The girl just has her hand on the basket. She's not holding it up. They made a "stand" out of the same not-a-stem, thick-as-your-finger steel rod to hold up all 118 pounds of basket plus phone. Then, they nudged the camera's tripod until the cord of the white phone sort of obscured the basket stand such that you'd never give it a second glance.

Just in case you're not old enough to have ever used one of these phones, I should explain that you didn't actually buy your telephone. Bell owned all the phones, and their customers leased them on a monthly billing cycle. So, of course Bell wanted you to know how many pastel colors were available. They also wanted you to understand everywhere you absolutely needed to talk on the phone, just in case you were too slow to understand the word "everywhere". So, they kindly provided these serving suggestions, clearly labeled with room names, just in case you have a finger-thick segment of rebar bisecting your brain (making you the ideal audience from the perspective of every ad man ever born).

Bedroom phone: A useful plot device for those
late-night "there's been an accident down at the mill"
calls. Also for those nervous "No, that wasn't your
father and I. That was just the radio." calls.

Kitchen phone: So your husband can tell the salad
he'll be home soon.

Living room Library phone: So you can ask your wife
where you keep all the candlesticks, rope, pipes,
revolvers, and poison.
Teen room phone: Not actually connected, so your
carefully stored teen cannot call President Faceless
Kennedy or Little orphan Faceless Annie for help.
Family room phone: So you can call the guy at the
TV shop to ask why Andy Griffith is upside down.
Also, to tell your teen's parents it will now be $10,503
because you need to get your TV fixed.
What? No bathroom phone? How will your friends hear all your various gurgles? Lucky for us here in The Future. We have FaceTube to forcibly share all that content.

Click for big.


Jim D. said...

We were using one of those suckers until just a few years ago. My ex kept it when we split up, and soon after that the rotary dial no longer worked in her house. One of several bullets I dodged in my divorce! And man was that thing heavy! I guess since Bell owned them all, and continued collecting rent on them every month, they were designed to be indestructible. The handset alone weighed about as much as 20 eye-fones.

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