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We Learn About the Telephone (1965)

Unrated | | Animation, Short, Comedy | April 1965 (USA)
Bill sketches an animated person, Mr. Man, who takes us back through history to explain how people developed a need to communicate, and shows us devices that helped to do so.


Jean Yarbrough


W.H. Schneider (story)


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Complete credited cast:
Wright King ... Bill Matthews
Pat Cardi ... Jimmy Matthews
Pamelyn Ferdin ... Susie Matthews (as Pam Ferden)
Richard Webb ... Capt. Tom Adams


Bill Matthews, a graphic artist, is planning on taking his nephew and niece, Jimmy and Susie Matthews, on a picnic. Before they can leave, Bill receives an important telephone call from one of his clients, the police department. While waiting for the rain to subside for them to be able to go on their picnic, Bill, thinking about that telephone call, wants to educate Jimmy and Susie about how man communicated over long distances before the telephone. Using his artistic ability, Bill creates an animated world for them, which outlines such primitive communication methods as runners, messengers on horseback, smoke signals, and flashing light signals, then moving onto electronic methods such as the telegraph and then the telephone. Each communications advance was designed to make communication faster, easier, more convenient and/or more effective. Bill, still using his animated world, describes how the telephone works and outlines proper telephone protocol and etiquette, including how to ... Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

telephone | ephemeral film | See All (2) »








Release Date:

April 1965 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

We Learn About the Telephone was a quaint educational short that I discovered on Mark Evanier's site
28 November 2011 | by tavmSee all my reviews

Just watched this educational live action/animated short on Mark Evanier's blog. In it, a man tells his nephew and niece about the telephone, its uses, and how people originally communicated before its invention. They also visit a police station where the superior there explains how to call the operator for emergencies. The live action part was directed by Jean Yarbrough best known to me for helming Abbott & Costello in some movies and their television series. The animated part was by John Hubley. Those parts are pretty amusing especially knowing that the voices were provided by Mel Blanc and Paul Frees. The little girl is credited to one Pam Ferden but according to Evanier, it's actually Pam Ferdin who later did the voice of Lucy in the animated Charlie Brown specials and then played Felix Unger's daughter on the TV series version of "The Odd Couple". If you don't get too bored by the somewhat static live action scenes, We Learn About the Telephone is still a little effective learning film about what the communication device was like before cell phones eliminated the use of wires.

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