Goofy British "future of phones" video from way back

Here's a wonderfully goofy old British phone-company video on the future of the phone and teleworking!

The perils of futurology


  1. Gilbert Anonymous here:

    That’s entertaining, but I have a 1937 issue of National Geographic which has a story on the city of Berlin, Germany. In the post offices the Germans had television telephones, along with movie theaters that had giant tv screens and a pneumatic tube system that could send mail anywhere in the city in a matter of minutes.

  2. Say what you will about BT. They’re the only telco that I know of that has set a date for when they will retire the PSTN.

  3. This ad is fabulous! Reminds me of the great Flight of the Conchords telephone sketch presented as a current television ad for the telephone in New Zealand:

    I’d like to state that a lot of what is said about NZ on Flight of the Conchords is pastiche and is not factual!

  4. wouldn’t that be better? (deadpan) yes. marvelous.

    f’kin kills me.

    as does the closing scene and accompanying music.

  5. Quaint and silly? Right.

    While campy, the very legitimate promise goes unfulfilled.

    It’s easy to blame the carriers and, while they do carry their share of responsibility, it’s lazy consumers that are largely responsible. People expect such a highly-unrealistic level of reliability from utility-type services that it makes it difficult for anyone to offer truly useful innovation.

  6. Ha ha, I do video phone calls with my family and
    I’ve faxed and emailed scans of documents. I work
    from home, too. The hardware is just a bit different.

    I wonder if the people of the past who imagined the
    future ever envisioned web cam enhanced phone sex.

  7. MITCH @8

    “I wonder if the people of the past who imagined the
    future ever envisioned web cam enhanced phone sex.”

    I’m sure some did but they were too polite to talk about it.

  8. London was swinging.. but not here, with the Hoi polloi and their cockerkneeeee accents and as usual a posho man in charge.
    “How’s Betty” indeed.

  9. From the page: “Of course, as it criticises YouTube as well as the studio, I have put it on YouTube. But somehow I don’t think they would be willing to try a takedown — not on so obvious a fair use as this one, not on the chairman of the most noted legal foundation in the field. But it’s fun to dare them.”

    Well, Youtube has not removed it – it just doesn’t load anymore after 0:52

  10. Well, in any case, they totally nailed what telecommuting is like for those of us with kids.

  11. For a moment I thought they were gonna go into “Yakkity Sax” at the end, for the scene with the kids.

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