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Faking It: The Obviously Dubbed Telephone Ring


This is one of countless examples of the Western
Electric Model 500 telephone. Originally introduced in 1950, this telephone
in its many colors and variants was used in pretty much every household and business in
the United States well into and past the 1980s. See, until the 1984 divestiture of the Bell
system, no one owned their telephones. They were the property of the telephone company
and were leased to the customer. Western Electric was a wholly owned subsidiary
of the American Telephone & Telegraph company, with AT&T enjoying a monopoly as THE telephone
company for the entire united states throughout much of the 20th century. So, this phone in every sense belonged to
the phone company. The Model 500 telephone, along with the wall-mounted
Model 554, is an iconic design by the firm of Henry Dreyfuss, a prolific designer whose
focus on ergonomics shaped much of the mid 20th century. One of its most recognizable features is its
ring. If your smartphone has an old phone option,
it could very well be a recording of one of these phones. [Telephone rings] When touch-tone service
was first introduced in 1963, the Model 500 was altered into the Model 1500, replacing
the rotary dial with an array of buttons. In 1968, the Model 1500 was further refined
into the Model 2500, which added the star key and the hasht… [hacking cough] …excuse
me, pound key. You see children, before the advent of the
touch-tone dialing system, telephones used a rotary dial. By repeatedly interrupting the phone’s connection
with the phone line, through a process called pulse dialing, mechanically driven switching
equipment would create an actual circuit between one telephone and another possibly hundreds
of miles away. To use this dial, the finger is inserted to
the hole corresponding to the number desired, and the dial is dragged to the finger stop. When the finger is removed from the dial,
it returns to its original position, creating a corresponding number of pulses as it travels. Smaller numbers were faster to dial, which
is a large part of why big US cities have area codes consisting of small numbers, with
New York being 212, Chicago 312, and Los Angeles 213. Poor Honolulu was late to the party, getting
the terribly long-winded 808. [sound of dial] Anyway, the model 1500 and 2500 did feature
an altered faceplate to accommodate the push buttons, but almost everything else stayed
the same. Ignoring this model’s added modular connection
between the handset and wall cord, everything from the cradle back is exactly the same. Take a look at the bottom and you’ll see
it’s almost identical. And of course, the ringer stayed pretty much
unchanged. [Telephone rings] These phones were designed to be in service
for decades, and as such they are among the most robust objects in the home. Each and every one had to withstand at least one of
these; “Oh yeah? Well have a nice day to you to!” [bells
ring from the violent replacement of the handset] Sometimes they’d even have to endure one
of these. That pretty much sums up why these were in
service so long–they were robust, they worked, and were easy to repair. Their modular construction meant each component
was easy to replace, and since there were millions of the same phone in service, every
telephone technician would be intimately familiar with what could go wrong and how to fix it. The phone was so reliable, though, that they
didn’t often need repair. Sitting at the back are a pair of bells. These are what make the distinctive ring,
with the pitch interval between them a delightful major third. [bells struck manually] There’s a striker
sitting right next to one bell, and a good distance from the other. When it receives a phone call, the roughly
20 hz, 90 volt electricity that drives the ringer will energize this solenoid and repeatedly
pull the striker into this bell, and push it into the other. The farther bell can be moved with the help
of a thumbwheel on the bottom, and this adjusts the volume of the ringer. Less distance between the bells restricts
the movement of the striker, which makes the ring softer. Even when switching to the touch tone keypad,
the interior construction of the phone was virtually the same. Take a look at the ringer, and it’s got
the same bells and the same striker, though there is a slight pitch variance between each
phone. [bells struck manually–the second phone is
slightly lower pitched] This example ditched the all-metal construction for some cheaper
plastic components, and the bracket the bells rest on was broken and needed repair. Nevertheless, you can see that much of the
design in these telephones is the same, with the exception of the keypad / dial and the
network electronics. Being a fixture of American life for so long
means these phones made their way into countless movies and television shows. [ROB: Boy I sure hate to let Maria down like
this] [BIALYSTOCK: Go to desk. Answer telephone. ‘Bialystock and Bloom? Bialystock and Bloom?’] [MAN HOLDING PHONE: Mr Chambers? Kevin Harkins] [COACH: I better give ‘em
a call and find out what this is all about] [KITTY (sarcastically): I need to work on
my attitude. Bye, then!] Since the phones were so ubiquitous, any television
show or movie made between 1950 and 1984 and beyond in which a character answers a telephone
call is gonna have one of these phones ring. [JACK: Backup crew has to set up the guest
list, and (telephone rings) the hotel room. Swigert. Yeah] [Telephone rings] [MARGE: Hello?] [MIKE: Yeah, eh, is this Marge?] [PETER: You gonna answer that?] [Telephone rings] [JANINE (under her breath): I’ve quite better jobs than this. Ghostbusters, whaddya want?] [SAM: I’m fine] [Telephone rings] [COACH:
Cheers.] [Telephone rings] [JOHN: Studio 6.] [TONY: We got a green light] These were in service long after 1984, in
fact this model 500 is marked 1988, and was originally the property of Saskatchewan Tel. Apparently it took a while for Saskatchewan
to get onboard with touch-tone dialing. It’s very possible, though, that this phone
is actually much older, and was sold to Sasktel and refurbished, with the manufacturer being
ITT and not Western Electric. Regardless, even into the nineties, these
phones were common at home, and in the movies, too. Now before you call up and complain that “there
was also the princess phone and the trimline phone!” I recognize the existence of all these variants
and others. However, the Model 500 in its original desk
phone configuration was by FAR the most common telephone, and thus we’re just gonna ignore
the specialty phones for now. Anyway, back to the ring. If you’re producing a TV show or movie,
and you need a phone to ring, there are a few ways to do it. One of which is to actually wire the phone
into a ringer circuit, which can make the phone ring with the press of a button. This has the advantage of creating a very
realistic sounding ring, as the acoustics of the set will affect the ring just like
it does everything else. It can also make timing for the actors easier,
as they can actually react to the phone’s ring. Or, you could go a step further and actually
make the telephone functional by connecting it to a real phone line. Then you could actually call it. This has the added advantage of making the
one-sided telephone call far more believable, as the actor could actually be talking to
someone on the other end. This could be impractical for set design,
though, and adds expense to the production. Your third option is to cheat. Since you could hear this phone ring in any
household, office, or business, and every phone sounded pretty much the same, you could
just add a stock recording in post. Doing this allowed the actors to simply answer
the phone on their own time, and it also eliminated potential problems from poor microphone placement
or high levels of background noise. But sometimes you can tell when this has been
done. And surprisingly, there seem to be some very
old recordings that were being used well into the age of digital sound. In the days of analog recording technology,
two significant things to avoid were what are called wow and flutter. For example, a recording made on a tape requires
that the tape move at precisely the same speed without any variation, otherwise the pitch
of what’s being recorded can vary along with the tape speed. Often times this can go unnoticed, but when
the recording is of a tone, it can be quite pronounced. This 2000 hz sine wave should sound like this. [Tone] But if recorded onto a tape with a
tape recorder that has a worn capstan or any number of other issues, the tone might come
back out sounding like this. [Same tone, but pitch falters rapidly] That’s
flutter, and it can be quite annoying. Since the bells in these telephones produce
a constant pitch, it’s easy to tell a recording from a real ring. If you hear any flutter in the sound of this
phone, you know you must be listening to an analog tape recording. [Recording with strong flutter of the telephone’s
ring] Of course, movies and TV shows used tape recorders for many years, so some flutter
was to be expected in older films. But sometimes, you hear a very slow, distinctive
wow, which is by the way technically just very slow flutter. Take a listen to this telephone ring from
the film Trading Places. [Telephone rings] [COLEMAN: Hello? Hm. Oh. Hello Mr. Duke, sir.] Did you hear how the pitch dipped as it rang? Listen again. [Telephone rings] [COLEMAN: Hello? Hm. Oh.] The pitch rises and falls as the telephone
rings. This pitch variation continues as the vibration
of the bells decay. This wouldn’t happen with the recording
equipment used on set, because a tape recorder would rarely if ever introduce wow as pronounced
as this. Where this wow comes from is almost certainly
a vinyl record. I’ve put the sound of the phone ringing
in Audacity so I could place some markers on where the pitch falters. This first marker is where the pitched peaked,
and the second is at its lowest. I placed a third marker at the next peak. [Recording is played three times] The time
from peak to peak was 1.784 seconds. Why is that significant? Because a record with a speed of 33 and a
third RPM will make one revolution every 1.8 seconds. This is the New CBS Audio-File Sound Effects
Library. The only audio-file guaranteed to never start
an argument. Discs like this could be used as a source
of any number of sounds. Now, these particular discs don’t have a
telephone ring, but they have plenty of other stuff. [Background noise from an airport] [MALE ANNOUNCER: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. No parking.] [FEMALE ANNOUNCER: The white zone is for immediate
loading and unloading of passengers only. No parking.] A tricky thing about vinyl records, though,
is that unless the disc is exactly perfectly centered, the pitch will rise and fall with
each rotation. This happens because with an off-center record,
the speed of the groove as it travels past the stylus will repeatedly increase and decrease. It’s not that uncommon for the center hole
of a disc to be punched just a little bit off-center, and result is the dreaded wow. Listen to this recording from the Official
Album of Epcot Center. [Music begins, with a repeating dip in pitch] That’s pretty bad. You can actually see the stylus moving left
and right with each rotation, which shows just how off-center this record’s hole was
punched. This is probably what’s happening when you
hear this phone ring. [Telephone rings] Because the recording is of a pair of bells
which have a constant pitch, it’s easy to discern if the pitch has faltered at all. Many films were made that seem to use recordings
from old vinyl discs. I’m guessing film studios had just archived
these recordings and used them again and again. Many people might not notice it, but those
with a good ear for pitch (or the pedantic) will. And I definitely have. And it bugs the crap out of me. [MR. FAWLTY: It’s..it’s..it’s a semitone
higher!] [GUEST: A semitone?] [MR. FAWLTY: At least!] But what’s most interesting to me is that
these recordings just kept on being used even into the nineties. Take a listen to the phone ring in this scene
from Terminator 2. [Telephone rings] [MRS. CONNOR: Hello?] [JOHN CONNOR: Yeah it’s me.] [MRS. CONNOR: John?] That’s even worse than the last one! [Telephone rings] Opening it in audacity and adding markers gives a time between the peaks of about 1.85
seconds, close to the 1.8 seconds per revolution of a 33 and a third rpm record. But the really pedantic viewers out there
might know that this sound effect is not only riddled with wow, it’s also the wrong ring! John Connor’s Mom, and I’m putting that
in air quotes there, answered a Trimline phone. The Trimline phone only had one bell in its
ringer, and it did not sound like the Model 500. It should have sounded like this clip from
Argo. [a distinctly different telephone rings] How’s that for pedantry? Now because it’s the wrong ring we know
it’s a recording anyway (though it hasn’t yet made its way to the Goofs page on the
IMDB, who wants to add it??) but the fact that the film is from 1991 makes it hard to
believe that digital sound recording equipment wasn’t being used on set. And it’s also funny to me that no one had
bothered to make new recordings of these telephones ringing. There are millions of these floating around,
how hard can it be to make a new, digital recording? But I digress. As a side note, you may have noticed I used
a clip of the Dick Van Dyke show. On air from 1961 until 1966, this show is
riddled with Model 500’s just like this. But throughout the show, they use a completely
different ring. [LAURA: The butcher! I gotta take the roast out of the freezer!] [Telephone rings–unlike any we’ve heard
so far] [ROB: Hi!] [The same telephone rings]
[ROB: Oh! That’s loud at night!] [Telephone rings softly after adjustment]
[ROB: That’s better] To be honest that sounds like it came from
an alarm clock. I checked on YouTube for older model 500’s
just in case the ring had changed, but there’s a red model 500 from 1957 that sounds just
like these two. A link’s down below if you’re interested. Making a movie or TV show is a huge undertaking,
and the sound designers deserve a lot of credit for all the post-production work they do. Much of the sound you hear in a film comes
not from microphones on set, but from the people working behind the scenes to make it
all sound real and believable. Terminator 2 actually won the oscar for best
sound design, but man does that phone ring bother me. [Telephone rings] Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed the
video. If this is your first time coming across the
channel and you liked what you saw, please consider subscribing. You can also support the channel through Patreon. If you’re interested in making a totally
voluntary contribution, please check out my patreon page. Thanks for your consideration, and I’ll
see you next time. [Ring builds with suspense]

Robin Kshlerin

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Christopher Noel Posted on February 6, 2020 at 4:16 am

    To this day, when I use a handset landline phone, I push the hook button to disconnect. With a career in retail, it's a pet peeve of mine to hear a store's intercom announcement terminate with a fumbled clacking of the handset against the receiver until the connection to the overhead speaker is finally broken. Worse if the handset is dropped.

    Reply
  2. insert good name Posted on February 6, 2020 at 5:46 am

    I do not hear a pitch ascending and descending.

    Reply
  3. Brandon Hopkins Posted on February 6, 2020 at 6:02 am

    The coughing was not necessary nor appreciated

    Reply
  4. aznsugarg Posted on February 6, 2020 at 7:32 am

    All these years later and I finally find out we could have changed the volume so easily…

    Reply
  5. Anthony Įødīçę Posted on February 7, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Nice reel to reel!

    Reply
  6. nockieboy Posted on February 7, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    The heck? I can't hear any problems with any of those rings… Must be going deaf. (Well, maybe except the Terminator 2 ring… Could hear the wow there..)

    Reply
  7. ScotSpeed Posted on February 7, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    What's more annoying on the Trading Places scene is after he answers, he immediately reacts as though someone said some identifying comment and in a split second he knew who it was. Now THAT'S annoying.

    Reply
  8. FelineSublime Posted on February 8, 2020 at 5:20 am

    The pinkish beige dial phone was exactly what came with my dorm room in 2008-2012.

    Reply
  9. Mäkirannantörmä Posted on February 8, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Holy crap. In the Nordic Countries we used mainly Ericsson-designed phones, so I just assumed American phones sounded like that.

    Reply
  10. J F Posted on February 9, 2020 at 1:32 am

    You didn't even need to dial an area code unless you were calling a different area code… In my area, dialing the area code for a local number didn't start until probably 1994

    Reply
  11. phobos2077 Posted on February 9, 2020 at 9:09 am

    In Russia we used rotary telephones well into the late 90-s, maybe early 2000-s even.

    Reply
  12. dkbgeek Posted on February 9, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Small nitpicking: Big cities were assigned lower numbers not for the speed of dialing for the users, but for the longevity of the mechanical switching equipment. The most-frequently-dialed numbers caused less motion in the switching trees which then required less maintenance over time… it was all about saving the phone company money, they couldn't have cared less about saving customers' time.

    Reply
  13. Shiboline M'Ress Posted on February 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Hi there! I just heard about the IBM Simon smartphone from 1992. Have you covered that one?

    Reply
  14. Dr. M. H. Posted on February 10, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    "the phone cops man!!!!"
    Dr. Johnny Fever

    Reply
  15. Lister Motorsports Posted on February 11, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Great vid, just Subbed!

    Reply
  16. PassCookie Posted on February 11, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    This think "#" isn't called a "hashtag". it's just a "hash" only with a word after it it becomes a hashtag.

    Reply
  17. megadestroyer454 Posted on February 11, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Yeah but was there a clear version where you could see the guts?

    Reply
  18. Corey Reid Posted on February 13, 2020 at 12:15 am

    My first seventeen years at work, I had a model 1500 with a "Hold" button. It was finally withdrawn… in 2017. (We switched to a fully digital phone.)

    Reply
  19. Virgil Williams Posted on February 13, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Because no one cares.

    Reply
  20. Kelly Kerr Posted on February 14, 2020 at 1:59 am

    You HAVE to watch the original 1950 film that demonstrated how to use it. Grandpa was mad because the phone they had was fine! Then they had a giant dial with a pretty woman demonstrating how it worked. It’s funny to see now.

    Reply
  21. Sir heXagenius Posted on February 14, 2020 at 3:36 am

    10:45 shit my dad's band actually used that track in one of their songs

    Reply
  22. Cybertronic Posted on February 14, 2020 at 4:11 am

    I actually like the record wow.

    Reply
  23. Jason Bostrom Posted on February 14, 2020 at 9:01 am

    I'm going to look at T2 differently now.

    Reply
  24. nicoduck Posted on February 14, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    I always wondered why the ringers sounded weird (the ones with the alternating pitch) in some movies, thanks for that 🙂

    Reply
  25. Tom Garbo Posted on February 14, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    My mom still owns one of these phones. Bullet prove but heavy.

    Reply
  26. Tom Garbo Posted on February 14, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I have a wall phone that rings like that dinosaur. Removed it from my dads test bench when he retired and installed it in my basement over 45 years ago. Still works. Habe to teach the grandkids how to use a rotary phone.

    Reply
  27. TG Posted on February 15, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    It’s 2020, I’m lying in bed Saturday morning, hungry- you tell ME why I’m watching a video about a device I haven’t used in 30 years. 🤷🏻‍♂️😄

    Reply
  28. K. Börner Posted on February 16, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    YOU DID THE TELEPHONE NUMEBR OF IT CROWD EMERGENCY
    – 0118 999 881 99 9119 725 3 (was I the only one who noticed?)

    Reply
  29. Sun Hat Posted on February 16, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    I searched the Googles for:
    "sexy cyborg" black van hood

    And this video was recommended…

    Did you kidnap Naomi Wu, and add it to your description?

    Reply
  30. Patriotic Anarchist Posted on February 17, 2020 at 12:32 am

    What about the Hot Dog phone?

    Reply
  31. Oisin Smith Posted on February 18, 2020 at 12:45 am

    Loved the IT crowd reference

    Reply
  32. Der Baron Posted on February 18, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Thats why most countries emergency number is 112.

    Reply
  33. shaesham Posted on February 18, 2020 at 7:58 am

    In T2 I thought that that was the correct sound for a phone!!!

    Reply
  34. Karel Smouter Posted on February 18, 2020 at 8:13 am

    As a European I thought that fluttering effect on telephones ringing was a property of American telephones – cause I only know them from movies. 🙂

    Reply
  35. patchyxx Posted on February 19, 2020 at 4:40 am

    My parents had a beige touch button phone until 2010. We ugraded to windows xp from windows 98 in 2006! I was so embarrassed.

    Reply
  36. simranjot hunjan Posted on February 19, 2020 at 7:17 am

    Information for children born after 1992

    Reply
  37. flnthrn2 Posted on February 19, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Had a quick phone number growing up: 422-2311. -(8[]

    Reply
  38. Victor Mandala Posted on February 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Semitone higher!! Lol

    Reply
  39. Jeffah24 Posted on February 20, 2020 at 4:11 am

    10:47 hahahah dude you already had me sold… now you go ahead and pull this? GOLD 🙂

    Reply
  40. Jeffah24 Posted on February 20, 2020 at 4:15 am

    12:45 this guy is hella-precise. props!

    Reply
  41. Vereena Williams Posted on February 20, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Ffs, I never thought, that I will live up to a time when a voice on my pocket computer will explain to me how to use a rotary diall telephone… fucking startrek is where I live now. Now I go get my padd and calibrate something.

    Reply
  42. Jason Brown Posted on February 21, 2020 at 9:05 am

    We had one of those black phones up until the late 90s. I liked them the sound quality was great never had dropped calls never cut in and out. It sounded like the person was next to you.

    Reply
  43. djMALITE Posted on February 21, 2020 at 9:15 am

    For me as an European the Telephones just sound like typical American Telephones, even through i noticed the Pitch back when i watched Terminator i never would have thought that it came from a bad Centered Vinyl.

    Reply
  44. Rainbow Blazer Posted on February 22, 2020 at 1:08 am

    9:15 also that phones has no bells its more likely its a speaker inside
    Or it just have 1 bell like 13:00

    Reply
  45. ALL CAPS Posted on February 22, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Take notes Apple. Take notes.

    Reply
  46. Calamiro Asjcobeti Posted on February 22, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Landline nokia phones

    Reply
  47. DAC Dynasty Posted on February 23, 2020 at 4:09 am

    1:00 Im watching then start cursing, wondering who the hell is calling me at midnight!

    Yes, my phone has the same bells, but its a tad newer (Comdial 2500) and its beige.

    Reply
  48. S C Posted on February 23, 2020 at 4:40 am

    Context matters – "finger is inserted in the desired hole and rotated to full stop"

    Reply
  49. Whisky Actual Posted on February 23, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Me: watches a random video about telephone sound effects.
    Me: now I want a full history on the evolution of the home telephone

    Reply
  50. David Harrison Posted on February 23, 2020 at 10:21 am

    0118 999 88199 9119 725…

    … 3

    Reply
  51. Graham Sutherland Posted on February 23, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    I somehow hadn't seen this video before, but someone referred me to it during a conversation about stock sounds, and it had never occurred to me before that phone numbers and prefixes might be chosen based on the geometry of the rotary dial. Goes some way towards explaining why 911 was chosen, too. Neat!

    Reply
  52. DoctorX17 Posted on February 23, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    God I love that phone. I have a model 500 that's the same pink as your model 1500… I've thought about hydrodipping it to make it red. I really want a red one

    Reply
  53. Kishin Slayer Posted on February 23, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    ….took me a minute to get the audiophile joke

    Reply
  54. Steven Temple Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:00 am

    Very depressing watching this. I wanna go back to when life was good. I miss those days.

    Reply
  55. GrumpyThumper Posted on February 25, 2020 at 1:41 am

    1:25 – Oi, mate. You mean an octothorpe?

    Reply
  56. Steam boy_ Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:26 am

    How the heck did you get a Sasktel phone? I live in Saskatchewan and I can say we used these until at least 1995, if not later. That ring takes me back to childhood.

    Reply
  57. Andrew Coe Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:30 am

    "(at around 36 mins) When John calls his "foster mother" the T-1000 answers a Princess phone. However the Princess phone has only one bell. The ring which was played when it was answered was that of a Western Electric 500 two bell phone. Also the sound of the ring itself doesn't come from the phone/ ring but old vinyl analogue source with a pitch fluctuations corresponding to uneven characteristics of this particular vinyl source and interval of pitch fluctuation per disc revolution."

    [An entry in the goofs section for Terminator 2: Judgement Day]
    You seem to have had an influence.

    Reply
  58. Ernie Miller Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I used that same sound effects record to make a audio of cats and dogs in all out combat, including calling in artillery and napalm strikes.

    Reply
  59. Mitch Tell Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Regarding rings in movies and on TV, what bugged me more was that they would show a Western Electric phone or a clone (such as your ITT model) but use a shortened ring cycle. The Bell System almost universally used a ring sequence of two seconds on, four seconds off, repeat… except on some party lines (but a business would never be put on a party line). The General System, on the other hand, tended to use one second long rings followed by four or five seconds of silence until the next ring. Yet in the movies, even those supposedly set in a Bell System territory such as New York, you'd often hear one second long rings and sometimes only a second or two of silence between each ring. I realize that this was partly to convey a sense of urgency without boring the viewer to wait the actual length of time it would take for the phone to ring five or six times (the length of time most callers would wait for someone to answer before hanging up) but it was still annoying to hear because you knew the ring was obviously fake. And one reason they did it was because much of the area near Los Angeles was served by the General System, so Hollywood types were more accustomed to hearing the one second ring on some phone lines.

    But what REALLY bothers me is when they would show a modern style pay phone with a single coin slot, but when the actor dropped in a coin it would make the "ding-ding" sound associated with old three slot pay phones. The phones with a single coin slot NEVER made a sound other than that of the coin sliding down the chute; the "ding-ding" sound was replaced by electronic beep tones that could not be heard by the user of the pay phone, but that could be heard by the operator if you were placing an operator-assisted call. Drives me bonkers every time I see it in an old TV show.

    Don't even get me started on modular phone cords on phones in movies or shows supposed set in the 1970's or before, or bastardized phones with a Western Electric housing but an Automatic Electric dial or vice versa, or where the colors of the dial, handset, and housing are not the same (the phone company would almost never do anything like that, unless maybe it was a smaller independent company).

    Oh and by the way, phones were not always leased; they could in fact be purchased back in the Bell System days if you knew where to look. Magazines such as Mechanix Illustrated would carry ads from places like Surplus Center in Lincoln, Nebraska that would sell you used phones and even used phone switchboards. If you had an Olsen Electronics or even a Radio Shack nearby, they might offer new or refurbished phones for sale as well. If you were a real geek you bought your phone from Bohnsack Equipment company in Germantown, Pennsylvania, which primarily sold to independent phone companies but would also accept orders from retail customers (their catalogs were also a bit politically incorrect by modern standards, with the use of scantily-clad women modeling their butt-sets and such).

    The problem with owning your own phone back then (before the "Carterfone" decision) was that your phone company would tell you that it was "illegal" (technically a violation of state tariffs, which they typically had a big hand in writing) to connect a phone you owned to their lines, and that if they found such a device they could disconnect your phone service (though I never heard of them actually following through on that threat). So a lot of people would buy their own phones, or external outdoor ringers, and if they knew a phone guy was coming out they'd disconnect them and then reconnect them after he left. Then the phone companies started using equipment that could detect the number of phones connected to a line, but that was easily defeated by disconnecting the ringer in an extension phone (they were measuring the capacitance across the ringing circuit). I still have a Western Electric 302 desk set that was used in my dad's garage, and I remember building external ringing circuits that used a NE-2H neon light and resistor across the phone line (which could not be detected), which in turn triggered a photocell/relay circuit that was used to ring a doorbell or buzzer. Good times, playing cat-and-mouse with the phone company so we didn't have to pay an outrageous monthly fee to have an extension phone! 🙂

    Reply
  60. Dark Thoughts but things are looking up Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    In the UK back in th 50s & 60s, if you had a phone you were considered rich

    Reply
  61. Edward Cardinal Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    Mmmm, delicious unintentional low-frequency oscillation

    Reply
  62. KJ Dubs Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:49 am

    That frequency example made me feel weird

    Reply
  63. Xion Eternum Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:03 am

    "The only audio file guaranteed to never start an argument."
    Legit made me break out laughing in tears! 🤣

    Reply
  64. Green Phosphorus Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:07 am

    10:41 – 10:48 – is that the Central Scrutinizer?!?

    Reply
  65. Pogsii Posted on February 27, 2020 at 12:36 am

    Why would you do this. This is just learning about kerning all over again for me.

    Reply
  66. RefillGuy Posted on February 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    i still don"t understand how telephone works… it had only 2 wires… amazing, yet so simple…

    Reply
  67. RefillGuy Posted on February 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    you forgot JOHN WICK, they still use those old phones…

    Reply
  68. Sean Dowling Posted on February 27, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Clever addition at 1:30

    Reply
  69. Rusu Razvan Posted on February 27, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Why these phone rings make me super anxious

    Reply
  70. Dana Harvey Posted on February 27, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Look up Evan Doorbell's YouTube channel if you're interested in phones and the old analog network. His recordings are highly interesting.

    Reply
  71. ThouShaltSuffer1 Posted on February 27, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    wow I always noticed this but this explains it

    Reply
  72. OliviereMy Posted on February 28, 2020 at 2:26 am

    14:25 LoFi phone ring.

    Reply
  73. Viewtiful Josh Posted on February 28, 2020 at 5:56 am

    I remember when I was very young my grandma in Mexico had one and I thought it was cool to move the dial all the way around and see it come back to position. I probably blocked some calls from getting in, haha. :p

    Reply
  74. TheDramaticLYNX Posted on February 28, 2020 at 8:22 am

    2:31 Nice IT Crowd reference 😉

    Reply
  75. Sastrouse Official Posted on February 28, 2020 at 9:03 am

    It’s 3 AM again

    Reply
  76. amberzakfilmsuk Posted on February 28, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Is it weird that I don’t hear the pitch changes.

    Reply
  77. TornadoTJ Posted on February 28, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    A lot of businesses had those rotary phones out for public use, with no dial (including ours back then). If you were careful, you could dial numbers by quickly tapping the hook button.

    Reply
  78. InspiredByFire Posted on February 28, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    I think this is my third time watching this video. And for the first time today, I realized two things that I’ve never picked up in this episode before. First, the audiophile/audio file joke. Wow. Second, the recording of that record as being the origin of the white zone/red zone joke in Airplane. Great video, man.

    Reply
  79. Snoopy20111 Posted on February 28, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    This is a fascinating study that I can completely get behind. I want to contextualize this a little bit though: even to the present day, sound editors use recordings made up to almost 100 years ago. Many were originally on nitrate film (the same as movies) and more still on magnetic tape, with the old recordings being put to tape and then later to digital formats.

    It’s likely that the choice of ring was a quick decision, based on how that ring made the director or Sound Editor feel. It also depends on what was already in the library they had on-hand, because going to record a working phone like that ringing is too much for a single effect you need right now. Also, that wow and flutter is baked into what people expect those phones to sound like; not only does it do a little more interesting stuff than a proper recording would, but it’s been in so many films that way that folks who have never heard one in real life expect it to flutter a bit, much like gun sounds from films.

    Excellent video

    Reply
  80. TaswcmT Posted on February 29, 2020 at 6:43 am

    These phones are everything that modern, glued together pieces of CRAP aren't. Where is Greta Thunberg and her handlers when it comes to unnecessary pollution caused by having to buy the same crap over and over? We need to get back to having products designed to last 20 years or more.

    Reply
  81. CMDR Elton Poole Posted on February 29, 2020 at 11:57 am

    It was always known as a hash key in the UK. Maybe that's where Twitter picked it up from?

    Reply
  82. Ciborium Posted on February 29, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Me, while alt-tabbed: WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE? IT'S RINGING OFF THE HOOK!

    Reply
  83. Ciborium Posted on February 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    James Cameron is a HACK FRAUD

    Reply
  84. Russ B Posted on February 29, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    When I saw that vinyl library of sound effects, I was hoping we'd hear a Wilhelm.

    Reply
  85. Michael Karnerfors Posted on February 29, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Top entry under "Audio/visual unsynchronized" Terminator 2 at the moment:

    "(at around 36 mins) When John calls his "foster mother" the T-1000 answers a Princess phone. However the Princess phone has only one bell. The ring which was played when it was answered was that of a Western Electric 500 two bell phone. Also the sound of the ring itself doesn't come from the phone/ ring but old vinyl analogue source with a pitch fluctuations corresponding to uneven characteristics of this particular vinyl source and interval of pitch fluctuation per disc revolution."

    Reply
  86. ezra wadman Posted on February 29, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    we still have the 2500 were i work. fyi generic government office.

    Reply
  87. witenitenz Posted on February 29, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Yep ok, but how long does the battery last?…

    Reply
  88. alitlweird Posted on March 1, 2020 at 6:01 am

    I have three of those rotary dial phones

    Reply
  89. gunther giesl Posted on March 1, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Our family use to have a black wall mounted dialed telephone in our hall way and my fondest enjoyment was having to listen to my dad scream into it while making a long distance call to Germany from Canada. Obviously waking everybody at home that were sleeping since he would call at 1am in the morning due to the time difference. He would actually shout into the mouthpiece of the phone thinking it would help make the person on the other end hear better….little did he know that later we learned that anyone on the other end of the line had to distance thier ears away from the earpiece part due to the loud obnoxious sound emanating from it….lol….Ahhh memories… Lol

    Reply
  90. Michael Bishop Posted on March 1, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Rockford Files will never be the same for me.

    Reply
  91. Klaus Stock Posted on March 1, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    2:58 …the first wireless phone. Yep, in the 1960s, your standard cell/mobile didn't have buttons to pick up or terminate a call, you had to lift the receiver. This was probably less confusing for people used to wired phones.

    Reply
  92. klugg Posted on March 1, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    At 12:20 the subtitles mention Mrs. Connor. That's not Sarah Connor, that's John Connor's foster mother, Janelle Voight. She and her husband Todd Voight were appointed John's foster parents, while Sarah Connor was in prison.

    Reply
  93. Michael Phillips Posted on March 2, 2020 at 12:46 am

    I still have nightmares in which I'm desperately trying to dial on a rotary phone, and I keep getting it wrong and have to start over.

    Reply
  94. Michael Hartman Posted on March 2, 2020 at 3:03 am

    Splitting hairs, at 9:30 the telephone continued to ring after he picked it up. To me, this is worse than flutter (which was interesting to learn). Thanks for the blast from the past.

    Reply
  95. michael88h Posted on March 2, 2020 at 3:37 am

    This guy lost me like 4 minutes in. Like what?????

    Reply
  96. ohmightywez Posted on March 2, 2020 at 11:27 am

    We never had a push button phone in my life, not even when our wall mounted version broke, we would return it and lease a new rotary phone.

    In the early days of push button customer service lines, families like mine were screwed until they offered an option of speak or push.

    Reply
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