AT&T vision video from 1961

Remember AT&T's "You Will" campaign from the early 1990s? Here's its predecessor, from 1961. Starring:

* The wireless Bellboy Pager, which was introduced commercially in 1962
* The Data-phone, which was supposed to revolutionize business communications
* The videophone—shown as a credit-card-reading vertical two-way television
* The card-reading phone or automatic dialer, which would dial a number from small plastic punch cards, introduced in 1961
* Oh, and package delivery via rocket (which had just been tested in 1959).

"AT&T Archives: Seeing the Digital Future (1961)"


    1. Wow, tripy!  I especially loved the phone punch card dialer – so teletype!  I also loved that they wrote AT & T in full, lest we forget they were American Telephone & Telegraph!

  1. First thought: Was that Roger from Mad Men at the first scene with 5 guys???

    Second thought: Larry Tate is on screen around 13:40. :)

  2. Anyone here remember the song “You Will” by Too Much Joy?  It’s their somewhat terrified take on AT&T’s promise of how new technology will change our lives (lyrics here: ).

    Plus, as a Stanford graduate, I enjoyed the references to Lake Lagunita, the crappy lake which remained unfilled 3 of the 4 years I was there due to drought.

  3. Those screeching electronic bleeps that open it were still being taught as the sort of thing serious composers should be composing when I went to college in the 80’s

  4. 8:15 Plastic punch card dialing – a whole five percent faster than hand dialing!

    9:30 A pager that’s a small as six decks of cards? That sumbitch is MINE now!

    1. That pager was epic! And all it could do was beep. I’m thinking that if I went back in time and showed them my Samsung Captivate, their effing heads would explode, or they’d worship me as a god.

  5. I love the musicality of the touch-tone sequence generated by the punch-card reader between 7:10 and 7:23.

    Also, I’m almost positive that the gentleman who comes in and gives an order at the 8-minute mark is Mason Adams.

  6. Also, the faux Frenchman at 11:30 must not be a serious dart player if he has such a lovely white vase so close to his dartboard on the mantel.

    1. You’d think the faux Frenchman could’ve done better with his accent:  it sounds rather German at the end of one line and like High School French the rest of the time – also, you’d think a Frenchman would write French words using the requisite accents…  I guess they weren’t terribly concerned with linguistic accuracy in the video.

  7. The future sure looks scary.

    (Seconded on “I work my pants to the bone”! Surely some sort of Freudian bonerism.)

  8. “Can my machine talk to your machine?”

    Wasn’t that the title of a Kraftwerk song?

  9. heh love how the guy at the restaurant just pockets the pager! nice touch.

    also, interesting how most of the users of the new technologies are women.

  10. I loved the handwriting recognition on the French guy’s pate order , and the ICBM pate delivery from Paris.

    And someone really does need to sample this for a techno song.

    1. Starts off slow, but the last half is  brilliant — complete with plausible faked moon landing. “3 wrong: you flunk”.

  11. It’s kind of amazing how much human interaction is still required, even in The Future. Why wasn’t the order for pate beauf just routed to the appropriate suppliers automatically? Imagination FAIL.

    What I remember about the You Will campaign was that, within a year of the start of that campaign, I was sitting on the front porch of a 19th c. house in a small town in Indiana, writing up documentation for an Indigo IRIX acoustical analysis software package on an Mac notebook, before dialing in toll-free to a team meeting that spanned three continents. The ads were, if anything, too conservative.

  12. I know the “you will” ads were voiced by Tom Seleck, but we made fun of them by reciting the copy in the voice of Groundskeeper Willie.  Made everything sound more ominous.  BTW – I still want to check out my entire cart of groceries without actually taking the stuff out of the cart.  And no, a cashier with a hand scanner will not suffice.

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