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Helen K. Atchison
The story heard here centers around the early-ish years of the telephone and the under-researched history of prank calls.
I was working one night, and, during World War II, and I got a call from Portage. A couple flyers – what do I want to say there? – Bud McKinney and Jerry Sleed were having a party and Jerry wanted to put in a call to Hitler. I didn’t know hardly what to do with the call, but I talked to the Presque Isle operator and we kept telling him the line was busy. And finally he called in and said, ‘Well, I’ll talk with Mussolini.’ So after a while I told him they were both out. He said, ‘Hitler may be out, but I know Old Moosey isn’t!’
Georgie Orcutt, Ashland, Helen K. Ashland, Hitler, switchboard operator, long distance phone calls, Presque Isle, 1940s, World War II, pranks, Mussolini
For more on the history of women as telephone operators, see Martin, Michele. “Feminisation of the Labour Process in the Communication Industry: The Case of Telephone Operators, 1876-1940,” Labour/Le Travail, 22 (1988), 139-62.
Folklore | Oral History
Orcutt, Georgie. 1972. “Phone Call to Hitler.” NA2864, CD455.3. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.