Dial-A-Joke operators will sometimes actually answer the phone, which is called taking a live call. The co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak actually met his first wife by taking a live call on his Dial-A-Joke service. He started the service as a hobby in 1973, at which time it was the first Dial-A-Joke in the San Francisco Bay Area, wired article. .
881-2345 Telephone Entertainment Line was created in 1971.
The Dial-A-Joke answering machine was located in the apartment of Mark Robbins and Ira Goldstein on Yarmouth Street in Encino, California. Jan Lucas was the voice of Dial-A-Joke. Mark Robbins built and maintained the Dial-A-Joke answering machine. Ira Goldstein and Ben Weinberg were responsible for content and production of the Dial-A-Joke tapes.
The four got a rubber stamp made that said “Dial-A-Joke ###-####” and stamped hundreds of business card sized pieces of paper and then passed them out in local malls.
Originally, they used a Codeaphone answering machine, but due to high call volume the machine failed. Mark Robbins designed a new machine centered around a Craig 8-track tape player. About 30 different jokes were recorded on a Möbius loop tape (8 track tape). There were two tracks recorded on the tape. The first track had the joke on it. The second track had a beep tone after each joke which turned off the machine. They also had a counter that tracked the total number of jokes given. When they retired the machine, it had over a million calls logged.
New York Telephone Company's Voice Automatic Answering System was built by a Georgia company called Audichron. It was first put into service to provide automatic updating of Time and Weather for the New York Metropolitan Area and later adapted for this entertainment function. The system allowed for continuous playback of a complete one minute message. It was called a "barge-in" system in that an incoming caller could connect to the playing message at any point, hear it to the conclusion, and then the message would play one more time until it was played from beginning to end. The unique part of the system is that it was engineered to allow for thousands of simultaneous connections.
Dial-A-Joke run by Cassie Phoenix -Located in Catskill, NY and Fairfax, VA