My 200th Blog on My Own Site – Rotary Phone Proof

Hi All and welcome to my 200th blog on my own site. Thanks so much for reading and visiting – you are appreciated! (I had tons of blogs on the Houston Chronicle site before, but I am counting the ones on this site)

I figured that a perfect 200th post was a re-visit of one I posted a year and a half ago.

Being a writer, I am a pretty savvy researcher. And I have been doing all kinds of research since I first posted THIS blog. I have watched movies, TV shows, and even TV commercials (thank you You Tube) to prove myself right.

For those who don’t want to read the old blog, I was annoyed at Mad Men in April 2012, because it was set in 1966 and there was some uses of technology and costuming that didn’t pass the smell test for me. I was a lower middle class child in 1966, keenly aware – hyper aware of everything cool in use at that time as I was an aspiring cool wannabee. I was observing because I was visualizing  success and greater things. So I noticed things.

The thing in Mad Men set in 1966 that bugged me the most was the use of a touch tone (push button) phone in Don Draper’s apartment.  After I posted the blog, I tweeted it under #MadMen and so of course I heard from people connected with the show who challenged my memory.

And so I have been on an 18 month research trend, collecting clips and examples to prove them wrong and me right. You may ask why am I on this mission? Well for one, I still hear from the Mad Men people, as recently as this past weekend. They try to defend their own research. But look below at mine (aside from my super memory from that era).

As just one example, here is a commercial of the brand new SLIMLINE phone in 1968 – two years after the Mad Men era of 1966, and if you watch just 4-7 seconds in, you see the woman lift a ROTARY phone to her ear.  See it here.

If you watch the Brady Bunch episodes like this in 1969 and 1970, this affluent family had rotary phones in their home. In this clip at 33-36 seconds in, you can see Marcia put the lemonade down by her rotary phone.

The same for the Stevens household in Bewitched. A successful ad man, Darren Stevens had a rotary phone in his home.

Recently, I watched an awesome Peter Sellers movie called “The Party” and it takes place at a rich movie producer’s very posh and modern home in 1968 – again TWO YEARS after the Mad Men episodes in question taking place in 1966. The movie mogul in the movie had every modern convenience including a remote control sound system and retractable swimming pool deck, operated by push buttons. But guess what kind of phone he had in this luxe home? That’s right. A rotary.

Again, I didn’t say that push button phones did not exist nor would I ever deny that some rare person here and there MIGHT have had them in their homes in 1966. But is it believable for a home set in 1966 to have one? No. Not to me.

After this blog, I think I will put this to rest once and for all. My own son (born in the 80’s) now believes I was right. (Mama is always right, son)

So happy 200th blog to me and let’s hear your own memories of Rotary phones, busy signals and the like.



  • My cousin, Sherri, moved to Huntingdon Valley when I was a kid. She lived right near Sterling Street across from Fels Junior High School but her dad moved the entire family to a brand new sprawling house in Albidale. It was such a new development there was mud where grass should have been and most of the houses weren’t built yet. It wasn’t her very own large bedroom or huge brand new kitchen that she loved – no it was the push button phone – she had those too. I remember visiting her one day and getting the chance to use it. It was thrilling!!! I don’t remember the exact year, but I know I wasn’t in high school yet, making it pre1968.

  • Arlene,
    I don’t know the answer to this one. If my parents were still alive, I’m willing to bet they would STILL want a corded phone, and even a rotary one if they could get it.

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