The home of HEmlock 1

Now this is kind of nifty: a scan of a 1962 (or thereabouts) flyer from Cincinnati Bell that introduces / coerces / foists off [choose one] the wonder of “All-Number Calling.” No more pesky letters!

As a resident of Oklahoma City’s WIndsor exchange, I liked those pesky letters, but for the last forty-odd years the phone company has been making the prefixes, and the locations to which they were assigned, essentially meaningless.

I’ve written on this subject before, but somehow it keeps popping up. And this time, it brought with it a recollection of Allan Sherman’s mockery of the concept, which was called “The Let’s All Call Up AT&T And Protest To The President March.” It went something like this:

Let us wake him up in his slumber.
Get a pencil, I’ll give you his number.
It’s 3 1 8 5 2 7 3
0 8 7 4 2 9 dash!
5 1 1 4 9 0 6 7
4 0 8 5 2 hyphen!
1 1 4 6 2 0 5
7 9 hyphen dash 0 3.
And now that you’re on the right road,
Don’t forget his Area Code.
Which is 5 1 8 2 4 7 9
0 5 hyphen dash 9 4.

Do not try to sing this to the tune of either BEechwood 4-5789 or that song about Jenny.


  1. McGehee »

    4 July 2009 · 1:22 pm

    In a Larry Niven short story it was mentioned in passing that the main character had, like all others in the future society in which he lived, one number. I forget how many digits it had, but it was his telephone number and his driver’s license number and his government entitlement-services number and his taxpayer ID number and his e-mail address and Twitter ID too — you get the idea.

    It may surprise, well, nobody at all that the society was, if not dystopic, at least dyspeptic.

  2. Closet Atheist »

    4 July 2009 · 5:06 pm

    Arthur C Clarke’s 3001 (fourth of the 2001 series) had everyones ID number being their birth date plus a 5-digit pin as an ID number for all things. Then again, all potential malcontents had been weeded out via a Braincap, so no one was really inclined to steal someone’s identity.

  3. Old Grouch »

    5 July 2009 · 12:11 am

    Stan Freberg: “They took away our MurrayHills

    “With a hi-ho 370
    And a merry 54433
    Goodbye dear old prefix
    Hello 736
    Oh they’re a million laughs down at AT&T

  4. Moira Breen »

    5 July 2009 · 12:08 pm

    I came over here just after watching a Fred Astaire video on youtube, so those lyrics went immediately into the tune of “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. It works, really.

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