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The CRPF "Old Phones in Movies & TV" Compilation

Started by HobieSport, November 23, 2008, 01:45:19 AM

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Just watched this episode of Fringe. Had it on the PVR since last Friday.

I've confirmed that the AE 90 collection belongs to my friend Grant here in Vancouver. He rents all things phone related to the movies here. They rented all the 90's for that shot although I can't really tell you what the purpose of them was!

Now to get Grant to join the forum.....



Was looking at photos of Elizabeth Taylor who passed away today and came across this.
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820


Here's a movie poster from her 1960 movie, "BUtterfield 8".  I actually bought a red 500 a few years back with an authentic "BUtterfield 8" dial card.  It's rust-stained from the nut underneath and doesn't display well, though.
Jim H.


I've been watching reruns of the Perry Mason hour long shows for months now. During that time, I've seen a variety of old phones including the 400 series. Today I watched an episode from 1964, "The Case of the Blonde Bonanza," that had Mary Ann Mobley in a bad blonde wig as the defendant AND in a scene early in the episode, a WE G-type wall mounted space saver with dial and what could be the subset hanging next to it. It was in the cashier area of a restaurant. Seems the space saver with subset takes up more room than a 354 might have needed. While I have one, this is the first time I've seen a space saver in a movie or on TV.


It looks more like a keyset than a subset from here.If a keyset, where is the subset?


As the 6040 6 button wall key would be wired with a 25 pair cable, the subset could be easily be mounted somewhere else remotely using extra wires in the 25 pair cable (although I've never seen that actually done).

On the other hand, don't forget, unless they were on location, there's a very good chance this is only a movie/tv set, and nothing's wired to anything...
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820


That's a 6040 keyset. The front surface of the housing has an appearance similar to an AE 90, with both front surfaces slanting rather than parallel to the wall.  In an installation like that, the subset would be further down on the wall, or overhead somewhere such as over a door. 

When I was installing 1A2, we seldom used the 6040 keys, because we seldom had need of wall-mounted sets.  Darn if I can't remember what we used for those wall phones; I'm thinking ITT 830s and 2830s (10-button keystrip: 9 lines + hold) with the wall cradles bolted onto the side.  The 6040 keys took about twice as long to install because you had to mount two things to the wall and then wire the telephone set to the keyset.  Once Panasonic PBXs came along, all the phones had reversible mounting brackets and reversible tabs in the cradles, so they could be mounted on any standard modular wall jack. 

Greg G.

Quote from: TelePlay on May 01, 2011, 03:52:32 PM
I've been watching reruns of the Perry Mason ... early in the episode, a WE G-type wall mounted space saver with dial and what could be the subset hanging next to it.

So THAT'S what a "Perry Mason" phone is!
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
- Mike Row


Turner Classic Movies had the movie "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" on recently. Did any of you catch it? It's from 1957 and it has probably the most different colors of soft plastic 500 sets of any movie I've ever seen. It was released in July, 1957, so all the phones are in the early colors.

The movie stars Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield, with Betsy Drake, Joan Blondell, John Williams and Henry Jones. It was directed by Frank Tashlin, who also directed Looney Tunes cartoons at Warner Brothers, and there's a distinct cartoonish quality to the movie. It's very fast paced and full of sight gags and double entendre.

I made some screen shots to show the phones. The first picture is Rockwell Hunter's secretary's office, with a green keyset with gray cords. The second picture is the boss' secretary's office with a dark beige keyset. Also note the early model IBM Executive typewriter with carbon film ribbon (sitting vertically on each side). The third picture is the TWA terminal at the airport and a black 500. The fourth picture is the conference room at the office, with a mahogany brown 500! Now it's getting really good. I included front and back views. The fifth picture shows a pay phone. More to follow.


More pictures from "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" from 1957. Look at the previous page for the first five pictures. If you think dark brown was nice, then feast your eyes on Oxford Gray! Note the cord and the phone are the same color and Jayne ain't no slouch either. Also look at the right for a side view of the phone. It's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like dark gray to me. The second picture is Rock Hunter's new secretary, who happens to be a young Barbara Eden, with the same dark beige keyset. He's got it made and he's risen to the top. There's a whole sequence on the song "You Got it Made" and the next picture shows the switchboard lights displaying the message. It scrolls across the switchboard. I really like that effect. The next picture shows the dark beige keyset again and an IBM Model 11 electric typewriter (which was typing out YOU GOT IT MADE). In the final picture, Henry Jones has assumed the boss' office and he's talking on a red 500 with straight gray cords and a dark blue 500 with a coil cord, while Joan Blondell brings him some milk for his ulcers.

It's possible that last phone is moss green. It's very hard to tell. They had every color except ivory and yellow!

Dennis Markham

Jonathan, thank you for posting those screen shots.  It's fun to see the phones many of us love to collect from the time period when they were being used---even if in Hollywood.  Very nice photos with good color.


A while back my wife and I went to the Doc Porter Telephone Museum in Houston (which is excellent  As we were leaving we were told of a place to stop and see in Corsicana on our way back to Dallas.  Apparently a gentleman there has quite a collection.  We found the place with a little trouble and was greeted by a very remarkable man.  He had a large warehouse full of Western Electric equipment along with other stuff (mostly telephone or communication related).  He showed us some switchboard equipment and told us it had been used in the movie "Public Enemies".  Somewhat doubtful, once my wife and I got back home, we rented the movie.  Sure enough there it was.  I checked the credits afterwards and just like the man said, his name was in the credits as a "Technical Advisor".  While watching the movie I was able to spot one GOOF which I confirmed via IMDB.
In the scene where John Dillinger enters his room after checking into the Hotel Congress in Tucson, a Western Electric Model 302 desk telephone appears on the table near the window.  This phone was not introduced (into regular production) by Western Electric until 1937, nearly three years after his death.


Just finished watching "Crazy on the Outside" (Tim Allen, 2010). Sorry, no screenshots, but about 2/3rds in he's making a phone call from jail on a 554. The interesting part is that he "dials" it by poking at it as if it were touch-tone, but it's clearly rotary. They even dubbed in DTMF sounds!


Many modern "decorator" telephones have dials that look like they're rotary dials but they're really touch-tone buttons where the finger holes would be.  But, I don't recall seeing one of these modern decorator phones that looks like a 554 set.  However, Crosley does make them with the touch-tone pad that looks like a rotary dial in the older 354 style.

Did the movie show a closeup of the dial?
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820


Here's a pic of the Crosley wall phone to which I was referring.
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820