AT&T Archives: Once Upon a Honeymoon





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Uploaded on Oct 5, 2011

For more from the AT&T Archives, visit http://techchannel.att.com/archives

This film is a bit of an anomaly—an expensive Technicolor experience about a product that barely features the product at all. Instead, the Bell System made a piece of surreal entertainment that showcased the telephones without being a 10-minute commercial.

But the story here — the occasional beautiful color telephone notwithstanding — is really the talent that went into making this short film:

Director Gower Champion already had a number of film musicals under his belt, both as a director and a choreographer; doing this one must have been a walk in the park. Following this film, he went to Broadway, where he directed some of the most famous musicals ever, such as Bye Bye Birdie, Hello Dolly, and 42nd St. He won 8 Tonys in his career, more than any other director.

Producer Jerry Fairbanks has one of the most unusual film careers of any during the 20th century. His credits started in the silent film era. He was an aerial cinematographer on Howard Hughes' money pit Hell's Angels. He developed the very first multi-cam setup for television, and was a pioneer on presenting technologies to a wide audience through the films he made with the magazine Popular Science. Along the way he gave James Dean his first screen roles.

Ward Ellis, the husband in this film, was a choreographer by trade, yet in the mid-'60s went on to found one of the kitschiest musical groups ever, the Doodletown Pipers — a kind of "Up With People", only 10 years earlier. The Pipers were a somewhat vapid television mainstay of the '60s, performing choral arrangements of popular songs.

"Chief Angel" Russell Hicks had been in almost 300 films since 1915, and this short was his very last film appearance.

Fun fact: Mystery Science Theater 3000 chose this film as one of the few shorts ever given the MST3K treatment.

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ


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