RIP: Joybubbles, Granddaddy of Phone Phreaking, 1949-2007

BoingBoing reader Phil Lapsley says,
Joybubbles (formerly Joe Engressia), often called the granddaddy of phone phreaking, died last week at 58.

Blind since birth, Joybubbles amazed with his ability to make free telephone calls simply by whistling into a phone. He was one of the central characters in the seminal 1971 Esquire article on phone phreaking called "Secrets of the Little Blue Box."

Multifaceted, he was as famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of the telephone system as he was for listening to all 800+ episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood when Fred Rogers passed away in 2003. And, he was a heckuva nice guy.

There's no one great link here, sadly; wikipedia article is here, a good tribute to him is here; news of his death here.

Reader comment: Jeff says,

"Secrets of the Little Blue Box" is the second Ron Rosenbaum article you have mentioned recently. His writings are amazing. Check them out, anthologized, here."
Fernando says,
I'm not sure if you would want to post this but he is featured in this movie.



  1. Hello!

    For those of you who would like to honor Joybubbles on a phone memorial. Please call the following number on Sunday September 16, 2007 at 2:00 pm Central

    Time: 2:00 pm central (3:00 eastern, 1:00 Mountain, 12:00 Pacific
    Number: 218.486.1300
    Bridge: 265996



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