AT&T's Hilarious Vintage How Not To Be a Raging Dick Telephone Commercials

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Way back in the 20th century, when people talked on phones, the old AT&T Corporation produced instructional movies with a mission: to show telephone newbies how not to be assholes. The strategy? Show a lot of footage of male assholes.

The films—1946's "Telephone Courtesy" and 1972's "How to Lose Your Best Customer"—center around one theme: cranky businessmen shouting at their hapless secretaries. Shouting in the rain, shouting in hats, shouting and shouting. The lesson here, surprisingly, wasn't "dont' be an insufferable prick, bossguy" but "don't make minor mistakes at work so that your prick boss is forced to berate you into subordination." Gender and workplace relations have changed a bit since then! But these ads came out, and, fortunately, everyone then was polite on the phone forever, bringing us into the current day. It'd actually be nice if carriers still produced little movies like this—"Don't Talk to Your Boyfriend on the Subway" and "If You Walk into Me While Texting Again I'm Going to Have a Breakdown" would both be great if executed with similar Hollywood flair. [AT&T Archive]