cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
JonBailey64
Veteran Contributor

I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

The black-n-white originals were about a farm boy and his collie bitch (played by a boy dog).

 

In the farm house, there was an old-fashioned wooden telephone with a hand crank and in the community there was a community switchboard operator.

 

 

Did American farms really have such telephones and party lines in the 1950's and 1960's?

 

 

About how late in American history would such telephone service persisted in the country? 

 

 

Gramps (George Cleveland) even hated radios. The Jeff's Collie/Lassie farm house in the original '50s TV series did not even have a television or an electric refrigerator. Old Lassie TV shows presented a very quaint picture of rural life even in the middle of the 20th century. I do find the shows charming, sweet and innocent. 

 

Was the town policeman called a CONSTABLE back then? 

 

 

6 Replies
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

When I was a kid in the late 60`s early 70`s, I remember being on a "partyline telephone".  If you picked up the phone, there was a chance than your neighbors were talking or if you were in a conversation, you`d maybe hear someone listening in.  It was kind of like the NSA for rednecks  🙂

rawhide
Advisor

Re: I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

Now they call that Facebook BA

r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

When my dad was a kid in the 30s their ring was two shorts and a long. If the phone never stopped ringing it meant there was an emergence such as a neighbors house was on fire.

Husker-J
Senior Contributor

Re: I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

I know someone who had that at least into the late 80's, perhaps even into the early 90s.

Canuck_2
Senior Contributor

Re: I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

Not the US here but we had a party line with a live switchboard operator who you could contact by giving a short ring.

You needed the operator to place any calls outside the people on your party line.

Our party line had around 18 phones on it when I was old enough to understand the phone.

Then they split the line and fortunately we were on the end with nine parties of houses only the general store at the corner was then on the other line, much less telephone traffic.

Our ring was 2 longs and a short.

You became accustoned to it and really never heard the phone ring unless it was those 2 longs and a short OR one very long ring which as was mentioned meant there was an emergency.

First person answering took the message from the operator and then passed it on to other on your 'line' while operator put the call out to other 'lines' near the problem so everyone that was able could lend a hand. Usually it meant a fire.

 

We got dial in the early 60ies with only 5 people on our line and you heard rings for only your 'side' of the line which was only 2 on ours.

We had one of the first dial systems in a rural area.

Got 2 party lines in the 70ies sometime I think and finally 'private' lines for everyone at a later date. You could pay a premium and have a party line almost from the start of dial as long as they had enough wires on you road.

Worked for the phone company in the early 60ies as they tore out overhead lines and put underground in.

 

Now we have fibre optic lines with phone, internet (high speed) and TV.

 

BTW we have a couple of those old crank phones and can hook them up to work between themselves with a battery in the wood box to power the whole system.

Very simple.

gough whitlam
Senior Contributor

Re: I have been watching old Lassie TV shows from the 50's and 60's

Christ you guys had it easy. We originally had a kerosene TV. When coloured TV came we had to change to power kerosene to get the colour.