AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

Introduction by George Kupczak of the AT&T Archives and History Center

This film was originally made to be shown in classrooms to elementary students, and the film was sent along with model phones so kids could practice their dialing skills.

It's also plainly one of the most psychedelic in the AT&T catalog. How to grab kids' attentions in the middle of the 1970s? If you thought you could learn about dialing and using the phone book from talking foam letters, numbers, and a guy in a skirt, you came to the right place. It starts off like a typical short film cautionary tale, but once they take a trip inside the telephone, things go terribly weird. This film is a cult classic.

Robert Towers, who plays the halfway-creepy guide "Telly", has had an illustrious — if bizarre — career, including being inside the Snorky costume on the Banana Splits, as one of the Benjamin Buttons in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and the singing voice of Snoopy in the TV version of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. Though for much of his career he did voices for animation, during the 2000s he acted in television comedies.

Produced by Tom Dodington for The Petersen Company
Directed by Erik Karson

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 12/16/2011