5 Throwback (Non-Sexual) Uses for 900 Numbers

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900 numbers are usually associated with smutty ads in the back pages of sleazy magazines and newspapers. (Side note, phone sex has to be one of the strangest businesses out there, and I’m surprised it still exists.) But 900 numbers were not only centered around sex. In fact, there were all kinds of 900 number businesses in the 1980s and 1990s. Of course, you still had to pay, but it was for services other than phone sex.

Take a look at 5 examples of 900 number services from the past than ran up peoples’ phone bills.

1. Ask Jimmy Carter a Question

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This historical footnote was an early example of a 900 number. People could call a number and ask President Jimmy Carter a question during a national radio program that was moderated by Walter Cronkite in March 1977. Sounds hot!

2. What’s going on in space?

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In the 1980s, NASA set up a 900 number that told callers what was going on during space shuttle missions. It cost $2 for the first minute and .45 cents for each additional minute. Callers could listen to mission status reports and NASA press conferences. Shockingly, thousands of callers heard the 1986 Challenger explosion live and in real time.

3. The A-Team!

Photo Credit: Universal Television

The popular TV show set up a hotline that allowed viewers to call in and vote on an episode’s ending. In 1986, viewers were charged .50 cents to call the 900 number and vote on whether the episode would reveal a fact about Templeton “Face” Peck’s father. Viewers had their say and voted that a political advisor-turned-felon who the A-Team was escorting back to the U.S. was Face’s long-lost dad.

4. Listen to the Indy 500 Pit Crew

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Racing fans could listen in on pit crews at the Indy 500 in the early 1990s for $1.50 per minute. A lot of the lingo was technical car talk, so a commentator on the line translated it into language for the Average Joe.

5. Chat With Wrestlers

A bunch of wrestlers had their own 900 numbers, and, to no one’s surprise, Hulk Hogan’s number was by far the most popular. I wish this one was still around cause I’d be on the horn with the Hulkster right now.

h/t: Mental Floss