Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Joke: It's time for another Internet 'Spring Cleaning.'
Prior to its "Internet cleaning" version, the premise of the jape was to convince the gullible that phone lines had become dirty, requiring the phone company to force air through them to clear the debris. Users were cautioned to place plastic bags over handsets, lest the dust being blown through the lines settle on everything in the house.
A 1974 version of this prank substituted "frozen" phone lines for "dirty" ones:
A radio announcer told his audience that, since the community had experienced several nights of unusual below-zero temperature, the telephone company, at a specified time, would put "heat-a-lators" on all the telephone lines to thaw them out. The disk jockey told his listeners to put their phone receivers in an empty bucket so that, as the lines thawed out, water wouldn't run out and ruin their rugs.Last updated: 30 March 2006
So many people took their phones off the hook that the central office was in a "no tone" condition for four minutes.
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