AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

In 1947, the Bell System honored the 100th anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell's birth with a long (for a Bell System film) biopic. The half-hour film starred Raymond Edward Johnson as Bell and Mason Adams as Thomas A. Watson. The film reenacts Bell's daily life during the period in which he invented the telephone — the mid-1870s.

It's a fairly conventional, idealized view of Bell, portraying him as highly-respected, hard-working and charitable. He is shown as a leader in his community, speaking out against injustices being visited on the deaf and frequently speaking out prophetically about the telephone:

"And then I see its lines and poles marching thousands of miles, connecting the head office of every city in the land to the head office of every other city. And then I see perhaps, in the next century, the tiniest, farthest, hamlet, woven into the wire fabric, doctors summoned, disasters met and overcome."

Lead actor Johnson only made a few films, but Mason Adams continued to act in films and on television until 2003 — but a few years before his death in 2005.

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

Release date: 12/07/2011