Matt Hillock, known to Cacti Radio listeners as Laugh Track Matt, recently sent me a package in the mail, not containing anthrax as I expected, but a collection of PLA-related drawings! So prepare yourself for a collection of pictures that are much more impressive than a 30-year-old issue of Playboy magazine. Below is the artwork of Laugh Track Matt.
The following article and pictures are taken from the July 1982 issue of Playboy magazine which featured nekkid pics of Bell workers. You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see the full sized NAKED pictures. If you are under the age of 18, be sure to show the pictures to your parents after you look at them and tell them that the PLA told you to view them all. I didn’t include all of the pictures from the article since there were no phones in them, and I’ve painstakingly typed out the entire article since that’s the important part of Playboy magazine. In conclusion, porn sucked in the 80′s.
She’s a friend in the phone, a modulated, mildly mysterious voice at the other end of a piece of plastic and miles of copper wire. Every guy who’s ever dropped a coin in the slot has pictured her. She’s bright, of course, and understanding and as finely formed as a Princess phone. She’s the one Jim Croce wrote a song to but never got to see. Well, we’ve traced her, just to prove she really exists. And the result of our finger-flattening telephone survey is this listing of spectacular numbers currently in service – ten women who offer the kind of tone you’d like to reach out and touch.
Each of Ma Bell’s daughters is cool, alert under pressure – what you’d call collected. But she’s not know for patience. Operators are encouraged to answer your ring in three seconds and say goodbye in 29. So you don’t want to put even a long-distance relationship with her on hold; you’re liable to get a busy signal or even be disconnected.
Not all the women of Ma Bell are operators. Many are supervisors or managers or communications technicians. Some are linepersons – a title they’re not entirely happy with, since “Wichita lineperson” has no ring to it at all. (The sight of a good-looking lineperson shinnying up a telephone pole, however, does give rise to new and unusual Freudian imagery. Think about it.
Above is a switch for the bored operator – a switchboard striptease by Santa Ana, California’s Laurie Page, who works for Pacific Telephone. Early operators all wore long black skirts and white blouses. Today, they have to move fast to handle 150 calls an hour, so dress is optional. Click the picture to see the other shots.
Before any of you gentleman callers gets to meet the girls, an introduction to the family is in order. Pa Bell, known to Ma as Alexander Graham (the 19th Century was a formal time), wrought the Bell Telephone Company in 1877, a year after he invented the apparatus itself. He was listed as the company’s “electrician.” A man who liked to sound jaunty and nautical, he would pick up the mouthpiece and say, “Ahoy,” which made a lot of callers think they were already talking on the transatlantic cable.
Bell’s baby boomed to become the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, the largest corporation in the world. Today, it employs more than 1,000,000 people and makes $11,000 a minute. It spins out enough copper wire every year to wrap around the world 2300 times. And it operates 138,000,000 phones. Twenty-five thousand of them are in the Pentagon (for a monthly bill of $725,000, even with discount). There are 12 cities in the country, including Washington, D.C., and Skokie, Illinois, with more phones than people.
Ma Bell kept wrapping the world with phone lines and feathering her bed with money until last January, when the Justice Department decided to reach out a crush someone. That someone was Ma. The Attorney General’s troops pulled the plug on two thirds of the company’s assets; soon AT&T will have to spin off all of its local operations into locally run companies. We have some suggestions: Southwestern Bell, for example, might become the independent Taco Bell. The Philadelphia phone company might become Liberty Bell, and all the phones at Disneyland might be run by Tinker Bell. But Ma is sure to get over what may be a wild Bell hiccup. In fact, if the divestiture turns out the way analysts think it will, most of her shareholders will be better off, probably considering themselves saved by the Bell.
Now that you’ve faced the family, greet the girls.
Meet Vicki Vittorio from Columbus, Ohio, for instance; she answers to the numbers 36-25-35. Vicki’s a communications technician who was amazed at all the equipment she had to work with when she went to work for Ohio Bell three years ago.
“The compexity of what’s involved in one circuit is amazing,” says Vicki. “I use meters to check on telephone circuits. I listen over my headset for the various kinds of signals that come over the circuits, and I’ve also done some wiring.”
Apparently, doing that for Bell really can be electrifying – now and then, an office joker will shout at Vicky, using one of those orange road-safety cones as a megaphone, or even touch a low-voltage wire to her. “That live wire won’t really hurt you,” she says, “but it can make you angry for a while.”
Ma doesn’t have to put on the red light for Roxanne Laube, a service representative who deals with customer complaints in Chicago. Roxanne’s the one who, among other things, gives the green light to trace long-winded obscene callers in the Windy City.
“I talk to crazies every day,” sighs Roxanne. “The only way to complain to the phone company is to talk to somebody like me. But one of the most fulfilling things I do is help trap the lines and resolve obscene-caller cases.”
As for filial affection on the part of Ma’s employees, Roxanne believes that “most employees are loyal, but I don’t know if I’d say they feel affection for the company.”
“Employees feel flattered and lucky to work for the phone company,” is the way Bridgeport, Connecticut, customer clerk Judy Perkins sees the situation. “But to tell the truth, I haven’t met anyone who feels true affection. I, for one, find it difficult to feel emotional toward any large corporation.”
Judy sells such services and products as extra lines and push-button phones for the Southern New England Telephone Company. “It’s tough to break in here; the company has a reputation for being good to workers and offering diversified opportunities. But there’s been a change since deregulation – employees feel real concern for the corporation and their place in it.”
Judy works in a small ofice staffed only by women. It’s not easy to get in touch with her at work, but here’s a hint: “I’d be especially charmed,” she says, “by a handwritten invitation to a romantic picnic lunch.” The box-lunch retailers of New England should be thrilled to hear that.
While AT&T is a publisher in it own right (it publishes 120,000,000 phone books a year, on almost a billion pounds of paper), it has yet to put out a directory with a centerfodl. So you might assume its employees would be a little daunted by stripping more than wires for Playboy. The ladies we talked with say anyone who thinks that is barking up the wrong pole.
“It’s been no problem,” Vicki Vittorrio tells us. “I think deep down, most women wonder what posing for Playboy would be like – they’d like to see themselves as sexy. As far as I’m concerened, it’s an honor to be selected.”
Vicki has a Seoul sister in Lana Crandal, a Pacific Northwest Bell reports clerk in Portland, Oregon, who is a native of South Korea’s capital. “It was just fun,” opines Lana, a free-lance graphics designer who admits she prefers her sideline to AT&T’s power lines. “It was a good experience. Now everyone’s looking at me in the office and I’m starting to hear stories all the time, but it doesn’t bother me – at least, not until the other girls start summing me up.”
But leave it to Judy Perkins to express a Bell belle’s essential attitude toward this conference call between Ma Bell and Playboy: Being part of the business world, I sometimes feel stereotyped as a conservative office worker. Posing for Playboy gives me an opportunity to reveal other aspects of my well-rounded personality.”
We’ve called them as we’ve seen them. All in all, we think the women of Ma Bell would make Ma proud. They’re free of hangups. They have the best long lines in the field. And each of them has a voice sultry enough to keep a caller’s pockets packed with dimes. Whether or not they work at switchboards, these have to be the smoothest operators in the business.
A guy known as rhinoCRUNCH on YouTube has been turning his favorite PLA prank calls into creepy YouTube videos by apparently animating dead bodies. Here’s a few of the videos he’s done recently.
There are more, but it’s way too early in the morning for me to be searching for them. Just visit rhinoCRUNCH’s YouTube page and find them yourself. You’ll find a lot of similar craziness in his channel. Thanks, rhinoCRUNCH!
Tabachi is doing a show on Cacti Radio tonight (Friday) at 7pm Pacific / 10pm Eastern. Tune in and listen to him irritate a bunch of people over the phone.
And one last thing – listen to this new remix of a Redbox and the Chilipeppers song, which is all about red, blue and beige boxing.
Years ago, Altalp from the PLA Forums made a bizarre post about buying a Vonage router from her local Wal-Mart, replacing the circuit board inside with a turkey sandwich and then returning it to Wal-Mart for a full refund. She posted a bunch of pictures with her story, demonstrating all the steps she took to ensure that nothing would seem amiss when she returned a turkey sandwich for a refund.
“I needed something lightweight and wouldnt rattle around inside if inspected. I couldnt find anything that would work. Either things were too heavy, not large enough, or too tall. I then noticed my turkey sammich sitting next to me. I picked it up and weighed it in my hand. It was just right. I placed the case over my sammich and cut out the outline in it. Then took a couple bites to make room for the jacks.”
Altalp had no problems returning the device and even made $20 extra by filling out the rebate card. I’m not trying to encourage people to do this sort of thing, of course, because it’s a pretty horrible thing to do. But the idea of replacing a Vonage router with a turkey sandwich sounded exactly like the sort of random comment Zak would make, like the time he claimed to an operator that a vandal had replaced his telephone handset with a bologna sandwich, only Altalp actually did it!
Thanks for the story and the pictures, Altalp! Click here if you’d like to see Altalp’s full post from 2008, complete with details and pictures.
There’s a new technology that some of you may have heard of by now, called “compact discs,” which you can now purchase to listen to a tiny portion of our prank phone calls. We’re pretty sure these are the next big thing, so get ready to start re-purchasing all that music you’ve been buying as mp3 files these past few years. Anyway, a brand new PLA CD, titled “Can I Help You?” is now available for you to buy. This CD features calls by murd0c, Carlito from Madhouse, RBCP and The Spessas. You’ll get to hear about 73 minutes of our customer service calls from the past 10 years.
Yes, these calls are all available already on our website and from the PLA Media Pack torrent. You won’t be getting anything new or unavailable by buying this CD, aside from a cool CD with original artwork on it. If you want to download the full album for free, click here. If people like the CD and buy enough of them, that will motivate me to put together a few more of them soon. I’m mainly making these for the same reason I made the newer PLA ‘zine archive book – because some people will think this sort of thing is neat to have.
Click on the PayPal button above to buy this CD directly from me for $5.00, or click here to buy it from our supplier with PayPal or click here to buy it from our supplier with a credit card. The supplier charges too much for shipping, but at least I don’t get your address and your CD isn’t all sticky with my DNA.
Thanks, whoever made that Futurama photo. I think it was Trevor, but I’m probably wrong. Speaking of Trevor, though, he uploaded Tabachi’s billions of edited prank calls from our 24-hour prank call marathon to YouTube a few days ago, denying my request to leave out the one where I made a girl cry. Click here to join the 2012 Marathon Facebook page, which I assume will eventually contain information about next year’s 24-hour prank call marathon. (Click here to watch my video of Trevor’s videos.)
One last thing – because I’m incapable of making a post without mentioning Rappy McRapperson these days, I should mention that he visited my house last week and he accidentally left a bunch of his stuff behind so I created a blog called Comics From Space where I will display scans of the pile of drawings I have here, before throwing them in the trash. Starting next week, I will begin selling articles of his clothing on eBay. Also, me and him put together a pretty good music video for a song from his new album, called Punch The Wall. I’ve embedded it below.
ONE MORE LAST THING: The Phone Show is tonight! 9pm Pacific.
Earlier this week, I was having a nice romantic dinner with Rappy McRapperson at Red Robin, and we noticed an advertisement on the table encouraging everyone to tweet with the hashtag of #banzailoveyou to win free meals and other prizes. Rappy, who was clearly a victim of my bad influence over the past few days, immediately suggested that we tweet something horrible about Red Robin, using their hashtag. A few moments later, using all 3 of my Twitter accounts on my smartphone and then Rappy’s, the following twats were posted.
Now, I have nothing against Red Robin and I think their food is awesome. I eat there with my kids and my friends several times a year and have had nothing but great experiences there. So please, don’t think that my tweets are out of retaliation for poor service or rude staff. Red Robin is a great place and I highly recommend them to everyone that reads this. I’m just an asshole, though, and I think the idea of writing horrible things about them is hilarious. So I started a thread on the PLA Forums, encouraging others to join in the fun and tweet crazy things.
You’ll notice that these first few tweets have two i’s in the hashtag. This apparently is incorrect, as you’ll see on the official contest page, but I swear there were two i’s on the card we saw on the table. I had to look at it each time I made a new tweet from the restaurant and there’s just no way I made the exact same mistake all three times. Legitimate customers were tweeting with 2 i’s too, so it’s not just me. No really!
Right around here is when things got completely out of control. Our wacky tweets are now outnumbering the legitimate contest tweets. Prepare yourself for a gigantic list of hilarious tweets, all by people who noticed our tweets and began writing things 500 times more awesome than we could come up with.
As all of these hilarious tweets were coming in yesterday, keeping me and Rappy LOLing most of the day, Carlito began messaging me from a Red Robin in Pennsylvania. He just happened to be eating there and managed to get an awesome picture of him and the Red Robin mascot. Then he sent me the picture of his Banzai burger, which you saw at the beginning of this post.
Having pictures coming in from Carlito as all of these tweets were happening just added to the hilarity for me and Rappy. The tweets are still continuing today and show no sign of slowing down yet. So a ton of thanks goes out to all the people who’ve given us nonstop lulz these past 48 hours.
I’m not going to say you all should continue doing this, but the contest does last for another month, until February 19th, and it sure is making a lot of people laugh. We’re fairly certain that even the Red Robin corporate people are snickering about it in their corporate meetings (you guys are welcome for that!). If you’d like to enter Red Robin’s contest, all you have to do is follow @redrobinburgers and then tweet something (the contest rules don’t specify what should be tweeted) with the hashtag of #banzailoveyou. You can read all about the contest at redrobin.com/banzailoveyou.
Once again, RED ROBIN IS AWESOME! Don’t believe any of the craziness that you’ve read above. Well, except for the part about the staff stealing my wallet and shooting my wife in the foot – that shit is totally true. If our silliness is making you laugh, though, then you should definitely go eat some overpriced food at the Red Robin nearest you.
Thanks to Rappy McRapperson for making this happen and to Carlito from Madhouse Live for the pictures. Most of all, thanks to all the Twitter users that have given me and us other PLA’ers lots of hysterical laughter these past 48 hours!
Below is a live Twitter feed of all current #banzailoveyou posts.
Pretty please subscribe to these PLA things: Cacti Radio Facebook, PLA Facebook, Prank Calls Facebook, Redbox and the Chilipeppers Facebook, PLA Twitter, RBCP’s Twitter, phonelosers.org (PLA Radio) RSS feed, Phone Show RSS feed, Big Beef Bueno RSS feed.
January 17th Update! Just a day after posting this entry on phonelosers.org, Red Robin suddenly began heavily promoting their Banzai Burger contest by emailing people on their mailing list and encouraging them to tweet with #banzailoveyou. They also began constantly tweeting, “Put your tweets where your mouth is. Head to Red Robin, enjoy a Banzai Burger & Tweet the love! #BanzaiLoveYou” to get people to respond with the hashtag. As a result, our crazy tweets have been quickly scrolling away for days now, making it pointless to even do it anymore. Well played, Red Robin. Well played.
Another odd thing – when we started doing this, the description on the Red Robin Twitter account had the name of the guy who ran it. As in, the personal name of the guy in their public relations department, or whoever runs it in corporate Red Robin Land. But as soon as they started fighting back at us, his name disappeared from the description. Now it just says “Official Home of Insanely Delicious Gourmet Burgers.” We’re not sure if taking the name off had anything to do with us, but we’re going to pretend it did because we’re such scary people and he just didn’t want any trouble.
Happy 2012, everyone! It’s time to start your year with a brand new episode of the PLA Radio podcast! This episode tells you all about our adventures of irritating Target shoppers during the 2011 holiday season. Prepare to be surprised at how easy it is to create your own cordless phone extension at your local Target store so that you can answer calls for customers. After that you’ll hear some of our old car ding calls that we were doing way back this past November. Here are the show notes.
- 00:00 Boy George Karma Chameleon Telephone – here are a bunch of video links.
- 01:00 Background music is Thanksgiving Sucks by Rappy McRapperson
- 01:05 Original Black Friday PLA Radio episode and YouTube video.
- 03:00 Uniden D1660 cordless phones
- 13:10 Walkie talkies were Motorola CLS1810T (UHF). Frequencies were 467.750, 467.775, 467.875 and 467.900. Click here to listen to extended Target security shit-talking.
- 13:45 Voicemail background song is Technical Writer by The Doubleclicks
- 17:00 Leave a voicemail by dialing 814-422-5309
- 17:20 Car dings video link.
- 21:50 This car ding call is by Samantha. Say hi to her on Facebook and Twitter.
- 26:25 This car ding call is by Carltio, from Madhouse Live.
- 28:33 Here is our official page for car ding calls.
- 29:09 Cacti Radio.com
- 29:17 www.cactiradio.com/phoneshow and madhouse and prank show
- 29:40 myspace.com/plaradio still exists, but I was lying about the rest of the links. Email PLA radio at email@example.com and don’t forget AOL keyword PLA!
- 30:20 Closing music is from Rappy McRapperson’s brand new album. Download it for free from rappymcrapperson.com.
As always, please subscribe to these things: Cacti Radio Facebook, PLA Facebook, Prank Calls Facebook, Redbox and the Chilipeppers Facebook, PLA Twitter, RBCP’s Twitter, phonelosers.org (PLA Radio) RSS feed, Phone Show RSS feed, Big Beef Bueno RSS feed.
i got in touch with you a while ago about becoming a affiliate with the PLA site because im in the first steps of starting my own show/site. im new to phone pranking really and im still trying to find my bearings with everything. but one of the things that has become an issue for me and my cohort for the site is the legality of prank calling. ive read a lot on the site and in your book and i know you have had some troubles from calling people. so im wondering what pointers you can share that generally keeps the law off your ass. i know in california it becomes harassment if the calls exceeds 4 calls in a 2 week span, but really i need helpful advice from someone who has been at it for long enough to know whats what. also, how do you record calls without problems? oh and i remember you referencing a kind of code of ethics that the PLA stands behind, i would like to follow that so a rundown would be very helpful in these first times with getting content for the site.
also, i have a fiend who runs an embroidery company out of her home and i was wondering if you would be interested in making some sew on PLA patches. you have buttons, shirts, hats and books so something else that can have the PLA logo would be awesome! it would also bring some well needed incoming orders for my friend. im thinking about having her make one and send you a picture of it if it would help.
Hi Chris! I’m far from being a lawyer or a cop, so keep that in mind when listening to my legal advice. A few months ago, I wrote an article on how to keep prank calls legal, which should answer most of your legal questions about prank calling. Basically, it says that you should never prank locally, you shouldn’t make threats, you shouldn’t impersonate government employees and you shouldn’t prank someone more than a couple of times. I really need to add that article to the sidebar of this site so that people can easily find it.
I’ve also written an article on how to record phone calls, which mostly deals with cellular phones and land lines. I need to update that page to include Skype recording, because Skype is about the only thing I ever use anymore for prank calling. I don’t even know how to begin to explain how I have things set up in the Cacti Radio studio, but it involves broadcasting software, a mixer and 2 sound cards hooked together in a loop that should explode the universe, but doesn’t. When I’m not on the air, though, I use mp3 Skype Recorder, which is a free program that automatically records all of your Skype calls. It sucks and it has issues and I will replace it one of these days when I feel like testing out other options, but for now it does the job. Sort of.
Finally, about your friend who makes embroidered stuff – tell her I would love for her to make a ton of PLA shit! Here’s the thing about PLA merchandise – I make barely any money at all from it. In fact, between all the time I spend packaging things up and driving to the post office and all the free stuff I include with orders and all the PLA stuff that I give away because I’m such a nice guy, I’m sure I lose money in the end. Luckily, phonelosers.org supports itself with the advertisements on this page, so I don’t really lose money at PLA.
Here’s what I’m getting at, though – I would like your friend to make any cool things she can think of that would be related to the PLA. She can use the PLA logo or PLA quotes or cacti or anything she wants. She can send me links to things she makes and I will help her sell them, using phonelosers.org and the PLA Facebook page. And here’s the best part – she can charge whatever she wants and keep all the profits for herself!
Samantha had this great idea a month or two ago – she wanted to knit things with PLA symbols on them, such as gloves or hats or whatever. I loved the idea and told her to go for it, but knowing how lazy Samantha is, I immediately set about creating a competitive market for her knitting by contacting random ETSY shop owners and suggesting to them that they make PLA things and sell them.
The image you see here is the first result of that. This is a cell phone cozy, made by MarikaHandKnits in Toronto. She makes custom party wristbands, fingerless gloves, iphone cases and more. Ideally, the etsy owner would put the item up for sale so that I could link people to it and they could easily buy it, but for whatever reason, this shop owner didn’t do that and didn’t tell me how much this cell phone cozy costs, so all I can do is tell readers to visit her shop and ask to buy the PLA cell phone cozy.
I would like for everyone to do this! If you know someone who makes things and sells it on sites like etsy.com, tell them to make PLA things! I want to see PLA hats, gloves, sweaters and underwear! I can’t guarantee that anyone will buy these things, but I will do my best to link to their PLA merchandise from this site. I’d like to even set up a section on the PLA Store page for things that other people make. Do this, people!
Thanks for the email, Chris!
Every once in awhile, I post a Phone Show episode to the PLA feed, just to remind you people who dearly miss PLA Radio why I hate baby Jesus.
But my secret ulterior motive for posting this today is to tell everyone that Rappy McRapperson is having his album release party on Cacti Radio this Saturday! At 7:00pm Pacific / 10:00pm Eastern, Rappy will join RBCP for a 2 hour live interview as we play his new album, Live at the Amway Arena. We’ll be talking about Rappy’s new album, taking your phone calls, and maybe even making some prank calls. You can preorder an autographed physical CD at rappymcrapperson.com or you can just steal the album from the internet when it comes out on Saturday.
Below are the show notes from this week’s Phone Show. Listen and read along!
- B. Reith – Old School
- Rappy McRapperson is having an album release party this Saturday, December 17th at 7:00pm on Cacti Radio. The new album is called Live at the Amway Arena and you can preorder CDs or digital albums at rappymcrapperson.com.
- This is a recording DOT COM!
- RTH pitches a Cacti Radio idea for a new show about underground infoz. Now he’s obligated to do it.
- Everyone buy PLA Harley shirts!
- 425-906-5744 is a weird number that TheN “found.”
- Cacti Radio will be hosting a 24 hour prank call marathon soon. Here’s the planning thread.
- Here is Samantha’s Pylons Call which is awesome. Also, Samantha has agreed to marry RBCP if they reach 100 mutual friends on Facebook. Her Facebook URL is www.facebook.com/thesamantha.
- LTmatt is a firebug.
- Here is a link to the “new” PLA book, which is a collection of all the old ‘zine issues from the 1990′s.
- Random thought while I’m editing: If you have that many enemies, YOU are the problem.
- The URL for book donations for Christian schools is actually phonelosers.org/book/donations/ – I gave the wrong one on the show.
- We call fake Kevin Mitnick – aka “The Audi Guy” from Madhouse Live
- We call real Kevin Mitnick and he’s incredibly nice to us.
- Buy Kevin Mitnick’s book!
- The aftershow was really boring, so it was not saved.
Subscribe to these things: Cacti Radio Facebook, PLA Facebook, Prank Calls Facebook, Redbox and the Chilipeppers Facebook, PLA Twitter, RBCP’s Twitter, phonelosers.org (PLA Radio) RSS feed, Phone Show RSS feed, Big Beef Bueno RSS feed.