This morning I was watching a commercial for AT&T touting all of their new cell towers and improved service. Well, I'm really not a fan of AT&T because I had to report them to the PUC several years back when they tried to gouge us for $300 in termination fees. But that's another story. By the way...we won.
The commercial got me to thinking about how far mobile, and now cell, phones have come. From the wonder of wonders---a phone that you could carry around like a briefcase with a regular telephone receiver---to the equivlent of a mini-computer you can hold in the palm of your hand. There were the seemingly impossible Dick Tracy wrist radio and the shoe phone in Get Smart, but those were in the funny papers and on TV. What could come next?
I thought back to my first exposure to a phone-on-the-go. I was working for a Beverly Hills commercial real estate development firm many years ago and the obnoxious sales manager got a mobile phone installed in his Cadillac. Back in those days, not many people had car phones. His looked like a telephone receiver installed on the console between the seats,and reception was questionable. Lots of crackles and pops accompanied by static, but, hey, it was a status symbol and if there was anything Richard Denman wanted it was to be thought of as a hot shot.
I don't know if people didn't want to talk to him on his mobile or he was just looking to impress, but every time this jerk pulled into the sub garage of the office building we would get a call. The minute we heard the snap, crackles and pops, we knew who it was.
"Um, this is Denman. I'm, um, pulling into the garage. Do I have any messages?"
The receptionist's eyebrow would rise in her distinctive way, the office manager would groan, "Dennnmmmannn?" and when she nodded we all giggled. I don't think he ever knew what enjoyment he gave us in the middle of a boring day.
Then phones evolved. You could actually carry them around with you, and possibly injure your shoulder in the process. They came in a handy case with a shoulder strap, weighed several pounds and still had a regular phone receiver attached to the apparatus in the case. I taped an exercise show back in the 80s and I saved it for the following commercial. In today's world, it's kind of hilarious.
A very attractive Asian woman walks along the sidewalk by the Marina with this case containing the phone slung over her shoulder, happily chatting away on the telephone receiver while she ambles past the boats. Ah, L.A. Cellular could make this idyllic scene yours. The message was that important people had mobile phones and lots of leisure time. Why not make this yours for only a few hundred dollars and a hefty monthly fee?
These days every teeny bopper has a cell and their parents can track them on GPS should they desire to while the kids lol and gaily text their "buds" in a language I have yet to master.