TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: "All the President's Men" (Still More Movie Phone Trivial)

Re: "All the President's Men" (Still More Movie Phone Trivial)

T (
Tue, 19 Jun 2007 20:17:09 -0400

In article <>,

> On Jun 19, 9:25 am, Sam Spade <> wrote:

>> Washington, DC had quite a few ESS offices when Watergate happened,
>> which is a different environment than "Wrong Number" or "Dial M for
>> Murder." ;-)

> "Quite a few"? In 1973-74 ESS was still relatively new as a
> production item. I dare say that within a city most would be served
> by panel or #1 XBAR, maybe a few exchanges with ESS. Anyway, in
> 1973-74 I think most subscribers still had plain vanilla dial
> telephone service. In affluent neighborhoods, many people might have
> Touch Tone.

I believe Providence, RI got the 1ESS in 1973. I distinctly remember
the raspy dialtone and noises of what I recall was a panel system
changing over to the pure tones of the ESS. But it wasn't phased in
for the whole city, only certain exchanges were moved onto the

For example, my grandparents had a number in 401-521 and we had one in
401-751. The latter was the ESS.

Pawtucket, RI was on a #5 xbar for the longest time, not getting their
DMS-100 until close to 1990.

In article <>,

> Society will suffer as a result. Certainly news via the 'net has
> benefits. But a printed newpspaer is something of _record_ which is
> important, not fleeting eletrons on a screen. Newspaper articles
> have far more depth.

I disagree. The important things get mirrored like crazy on the net.
Just look at Michael Moore's "Sicko". As soon as one provider takes it
down, another pops up.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I seem to recall that the first ESS in
Chicago was in the Wabash CO in the downtown area, and the second one
was in the Superior CO on the near north side. Those were both in
1973, then a few more were installed in 1974-75 in various CO's
through out Chicago. The Chicago-Beverly CO was cut over in 1975 also.
The reason I remember that one is that my downtown office phone number
was 312-WEbster-9-4600, i.e. '939-4600'. The downtown Sears, Roebuck
store, a few blocks away had 312-WABash-2-4600, i.e. '922-4600'.
Whoever prepared the translations for Beverly CO as part of its
cutover inadvertently got 922 and 939 confused. So my number, 939-4600
(a single phone line) was ringing off the hook all morning long with
people trying to reach 922-4600 (a five-position switchboard which
rocked around the clock at the Sears, Roebuck store and credit office).
Sears, of course wouldn't miss the fifty or so calls which got
misdirected to my office; on the other hand I was going insane from
all the 'wrong numbers'. People would not listen to what I said when I
answered, instead asking for things like 'extension 249' or 'credit
department' or 'customer service'. I'd keep telling them 'wrong
number' then they would argue with me instead.

I finally sampled five of the calls, asking them what number THEY were
calling from: always it was some number in the Beverly office, i.e.
238 (BEVerly), 445 (HILlside) or others. I had a pretty good idea what
had happened. My service rep, Miss Prissy was of no help at all, but
when I called repair service at 611, I found someone who would listen
to me and said they were 'certain what had happened'; "we cut over
Beverly just yesterday". They must have put in a call to the Beverly
inside plant and found someone who got it repaired almost immediatly.
The _only_ way I could seize my line to use it (by this point the
calls were coming in just seconds apart) was by answering the ring of
yet another call, announcing 'wrong number' and disconnecting and then
immediatly flashing the hook for a new dial tone to call repair, etc.
That was really quite a morning. PAT]

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