Per the title, the party line was used to connect several telephones on the same line to provide phone service and allowed individual subscribers on the line to speak with each other by merely picking up the phone receiver. Party lines were often used in rural areas when subscribers were miles apart and running individual lines to each subscriber was not economical in the first half of the 20th century. See more »
A likable slice of nostalgia straight from the suburbs of television...
This early episode of "Dennis the Menace" doesn't feature Joseph Kearns' uproariously fussy Mr. Wilson, yet it features some remarkably funny writing and--in its own simple way--hearkens back to long-ago days of childhood when just spending the day on the block with your friends brought forth adventures all their own. The Mitchells are getting new neighbors down the street, but Dennis and his pals (an uncredited Ron Howard among them) have already gotten into the empty house via the telephone man and have kept themselves busy by making constant phone calls on the line. Meanwhile, Dennis' even-tempered father (the calm and attractive Herbert Anderson), fed up with all the yakking on his party line, decides to get uncharacteristically aggressive and in no uncertain terms tell the phone-hog off--unfortunately, when he does, it's now his new neighbor sharing the connection! Scenes of Jay North's Dennis innocently bothering the moving men are not cluttered up with cheap jokes or slapstick; Dennis behaves the way any typical, curious kid would (and no one seems to mind him). Only near the end, when Dennis is shown to be wiser than his years, does the rote family-formula show through. Otherwise, a carefree, breezy day in the lives of some likable people...and when Anderson quietly stands up to his boss (who insists that Mitchell apologize to his neighbor), the care with which this is handled is rather extraordinary.
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