HOLLYWOOD- Representatives from all arenas in Hollywood are shuddering at the prospect that the quantity of 555-XXXX phone numbers is running dangerously low.
Phil Ausherman, Writers’ Guild spokesperson, stated Wednesday that, “The Studio analysts have determined that there are only twelve or thirteen 555 phone numbers left.” He elaborated, “I’m sure that years ago they thought that 10,000 fake phone numbers would last forever. Now we’re down to a couple unrealistic numbers like 555-2424. Audiences would immediately pick that out as fake and then the whole suspension of disbelief thingy is right out the window.”
The phone companies suggested that studios begin using the prefix 555 so that the average Tommy or Jenny wouldn’t be getting phone calls in the middle of the night asking for a Private Eye or Unwilling Hero.
The lower end numbers got used up first as screenwriters are lazy and actors had trouble dialing 555-9989 on rotary dials. Mr. Ausherman suggested that any taxi in a film got the easy to remember 555-7777 or 555-2222 numbers. “No movie scriptwriter has been audacious enough to suggest that the phone number 555-5555 could be real, even in a movie.”
For a while, the number 555-2368 was reused over and over in films. With the advent of the internet, movie goers are now keen to the number and are quick to call it out. Acting coach Sally Byers related, “There’s nothing worse that having a dramatic hostage standoff negotiation scene killed by someone in the theater yelling out, ‘That’s the Ghostbuster’s number!” So the practice of reusing numbers has been phased out and now the unused numbers are almost gone.
Some filmmakers encourage the use of letters for the last four digits, but Ausherman countered, “There are probably only 20 or so four letter words that aren’t dirty. Besides, what chick flick would have the heroine giving out her number as 555-MUNG or 555-LIPS?”
When I questioned Mr. Ausherman about increasing the number of phone numbers by including area codes he said it wasn’t realistic. “Who gives out their area code with their phone number? Besides, nothing happens outside the 323 anyways.”