How well we remember the reassuring voice on the other end of the line when we were trying to find someone’s number or needed help completing a long distance call. Lily Tomlin did a very famous (if unflattering) impression of an operator that had Laugh-In crowds doubled over. But, operators are a dwindling ilk of professionals these days. It’s something that young people today won’t know anything about!
The short film below shows us footage of the operators hard at work and interviews with the operators from just after the cord board system was replaced by a more modern system. Hearing these ladies answering sure does bring to mind memories of using the phone many decades ago! For those of you who worked as operators this certainly will bring it all back.
We love it how they discuss getting to talk to so many kinds of people as a job asset, not to mention that the ladies seem to enjoy the job title of operator! While this New York operator center was streamlining and updating in 1979 (probably due to the high volume of calls), there were operators using the old cord board system well into the 1990s. Have a look in the fun video clip below.