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Mr. Digit and the Battle of Bubbling Brook (1961)

 |  Short  |  1961 (USA)
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Mr. Digit explains the to the public the impending change to all-number calling in this 1961 film starring the then-well-known radio and television team, Peg Lynch and Alan Bunce ("Ethel ... See full summary »


(as Robert Larsen)


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Cast overview:
Peggy Lynch ...
Ethel (as Peg Lynch)
Alan Bunce ...


Mr. Digit explains the to the public the impending change to all-number calling in this 1961 film starring the then-well-known radio and television team, Peg Lynch and Alan Bunce ("Ethel and Albert"). They portray a couple coming home from vacation to find their time-honored telephone number, "Bubbling Brook 3-2468", is being changed to seven numerals. Ethel is, naturally, upset to be losing her identity. Mr. Digit, a character created by former Disney animator Chuck Couch, is featured in the animated portion of the film, as the tutor from the telephone company. He explains the new numbering system to Ethel and shows that "we're running out of numbers under our present numbering system." He discusses some expected communications services of the future and the necessity of all-number calling to make improvements in present services as well as those expected to come. Ethel finds the change isn't as radical as she thought, and "she might like it, at that." Written by Charley Couch

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Release Date:

1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ethel: [reading letter] What is this? Albert. Albert! They're going to change our telephone number. From Bubbling Brook 3-2-4-6-8 to... seven numbers!
Albert: Yeah.
Ethel: All numbers and no names!
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Yankee Doodle
Played as main theme and end credits sequences
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User Reviews

Losing the Battle But Winning the War
11 January 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Peg Lynch and Alan Bunce return from a trip to discover that they are about to lose their Babbling Brook exchange to all-digit dialing; Peg imagines a telephone exchange with AT&T's Vice-President in Charge of Numbers in this mixed live/animation short subject produced by UPA for the phone company.

Miss Lynch and Mr. Bunce perform in the characters of Ethel & Albert from their long-running radio show "The Couple Next Door" and its TV spin-off. Those of us who remember named exchanges (I still remember our number from when I was a child and its FRanklin 4 prefix) recall the fuss over having to throw out the old numbers and memorize new ones. Nowadays, the eleven digits one must dial to call the people next door is made easier by telephones with memories. It does, however, lack charm and the arguments that Mr. Digit uses to convince the sentimental but rational Ethel probably didn't convince anyone; Seven years later, the movie THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST had the Phone Company in a conspiracy to control the world through all-digit dialing; today, it probably makes makes it easier for the NSA to record my conversations about old movies with other fans.

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