19th August 2017
What do Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Good Will Hunting all have in common? A phone number.
Why? That tricky 555 prefix.
Other than that, all of the 555s were up for grabs in films.
So if you tried to get The Ghostbusters at their number (555-2368), you’d also be calling the hotel room from Memento, Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files, and Jaime Sommers from The Bionic Woman.
It was a good run for 555 numbers in film and television.
The phone companies quickly realized that it would take away from the numbers available for 1-800 numbers and they began charging upwards of $2,500 per area code for the same 555 number. With over 250 area codes in the United States, that’s a lot of money, and these companies clamoring for 555 numbers weren’t happy.
The phone companies, however, insisted the 555 snafu wasn’t their fault and, instead, blamed it on the limits of technology.
Mental Floss points out, “the 555 system still isn’t up and running in any meaningful way.”
In a fun turn of events, the movies and shows that do use real numbers often try to have some fun with it.
One woman was so incensed that she threatened to sue Universal Picturesbecause she was receiving at least 20 calls an hour; another man in Manchester, England, received upwards of 70 calls a day.