The History of the Telephone Box: Part 3

 

So, the telephone booth, in its original incarnation, is dead. Long live the telephone booth!

 

And in fact, long it will live, because for reasons unbeknownst, film producers and creepy guys with long hair and dark glasses have taken a rather keen interest in them…

 

Back in 1997 a certain Mr. N, as he dubbed himself, saw a speck on a map in the middle of nowhere with the word “telephone” written next to it. He decided to make a trip out of finding the telephone booth, got in his Jeep and headed into the Mojave Desert.

 

After driving around for a considerable amount of time and being lost for the most part of it, Mr. N found it! Eight miles from the closest paved road and fifteen miles from the closest numbered highway at an intersection of two dirt roads. In other words, smack bang in the middle of nowhere.

 

Chuffed with his finding, Mr. N headed back home and wrote a letter to a small underground magazine. Ending his letter with “It works” and the telephone number: (760) 377-9969.

 

On the 26th of May Godfrey Daniels read the article and became, shall we say, a wee bit obsessed. Each day Daniels dialed the number and later on started writing post-its to himself as a reminder to dial the number…

 

Luckily, within a relatively short space of time (considering the bizarre location), Daniels got an answer. One Lorene Aiken answered and after a bit of prompting divulged that she lived in the desert to mine volcanic cinder to make cinder blocks.

 

Spurred on by this interaction, Daniels decided to visit his much loved, but never seen, Mojave Booth en route to Burning Man. And to make a long story short, Daniels’ visit and subsequent word-of-mouth campaign gave the booth a cult following.

 

It also attracted some rather suspect characters, most notably, the man who claimed that the Holy Spirit directed him to the booth where he camped out for 32 days and fielded over 500 calls. Some of which came from a man claiming to be calling from the pentagon and saying that the booth was in fact a military installation.

 

But, alas, all this (most would say unwarranted) attention came at a price. On May the seventeenth, 2000 the booth was removed and destroyed after it was found that all the campers, inquisitives and zealots were damaging the environment, which is located in the Mojave National Preserve.

 

 

Fueled by the stories of other pilgrims traveling to the booth, film director John Putch decided to make an indie film, creatively titled Mojave Phone Booth, about it and although no Oscars were won, it did come away with no less than thirteen (some booth-aficionados would probably read something into the significance of this too…) other prizes and awards!

 

And now, seventeen years after the hype that was the Mojave Booth, another type of booth is gaining a cult following.

 

You might not find the Air3 Office Phone Booth in an exotic location like the Mojave Desert, but it is designed to be portable and can fit any modern office space. It offers the perfect soundproof spot for office staff needing some private space to make a phone call…perhaps even to someone sent by the Holy Spirit to camp somewhere near an old booth in the desert.

 

Photo: ELBAULDEJOSET

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