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A phone number is much longer than a real phone number, or noticeably longer than other phone numbers given at the same time. The entire number may be listed or the audience may simply see a character dialing far more digits than would be reasonably expected without seeing which digits they are. Sometimes the number will be an international number and the extra digits are presumably country and area codes, but more often than not no explanation is given.
Sort of Truth in Television: To dial on a public phone from Tokyo to Guadalajara, Mexico, for example, you have to dial 0041-010-52-33-XXXX-XXXX, where 0041 is the long distance carrier, 010 is the international long distance code, 52 is Mexico's country code, 33 is Guadalajara's city code, and XXXX-XXXX is the local phone number.
Film - Animated
- The technical support line for the Insan-O-Flex in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters.
- Also the emergency number Carl had to dial after Meatwad sawed both his arms off.
Film - Live Action
- Used in You Don't Mess With the Zohan to have some Palestinian-Americans call an extraordinarily long number to reach the "Hizballah Phone-Line". It turned out that "terrorist-supply service will resume as soon as negotiations break down".
- The "new emergency number" in The IT Crowd: 0118 999 881 999 119 725...3
- In Little Britain Abroad, Caroll Beer dials a lot of numbers on the telephone in order to call someone.
- Talk Soup had a gag like this, but it was intentionally parodying 10-10-321 (formerly 10-321) and a host of other similar ads that were advertised at the time, especially on E! network. As I rememeber, the chain ended with "...and pi, then press 1, and then the number you want to dial!"
- The Amanda Show did this for each of its "When ______s Attack!" sketches; for example: "1 (500) I-Just-Saw-the-Brady-Bunch-Attack-Some-Person-and-Now-I'm-Calling-This-Number-to-Report-What-I-Saw".
- An Alec Baldwin episode of Saturday Night Live had a false ad promoting a new collect-call service:
Well hey! Don't dial direct! Now you can save 4%! Simply dial 10-10-1776-5-28-1830-242-3-316-68-22! Then 1, the area code, and the number you're calling!
- Done on The D Generation. A poll on a news show was "Do you think unions have too much power?". The number to call for "yes" was short and the number for "no" was ridiculously long.
- The NBC prank show Betty White's Off Their Rockers had an old lady approach a guy and ask him to dial one of these so that she could talk to her grandson in another country. She recited at least thirty digits before stopping and asking to start over. The second time, she took the phone back, but then said it was a wrong number.
- Allan Sherman had one of these in The Let's All Call Up AT&T and Protest to the President March.
- In Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People: Homestar Ruiner, if Strong Bad attempts to call Homsar with Homestar's phone, a really, really long sequence of simulated button presses (via speed dial) is heard, though the numbers can't be seen.
- A fake advert in Homestar Runner features Senor Cardgage Mortgage inviting you to "come along down and dial 555-55-55855-55-5-SENOR-MORT-GAGE-TODAY!"
- Stuart Ashen once did a fake promotional message to support Sad Onions (long story). The YouTube comments were quick to jump on the fact that the long phone number he recites is different from the number that scrolls along the bottom of the screen.
- The Simpsons: When Homer calls Japan, he dials a ridiculous series of digits (we can't see what he's dialing). At one point, he touch-tones the theme to The Magnificent Seven. (Note that it's made to seem longer than it is by Homer looking back to the phonebook after every digit).
- There was a similar bit on the episode of The Simpsons where Bart plays a phone prank in Australia and the dial tone sounds like the National Geographic theme.
- Another example comes from "Poppa's Got A Brand New Badge", where Homer creates his own security agency. He implores customers: "don't dial 911, dial (insert obscenely long number here)."
- Sheep in The Big City had one episode where they cut to commercial as a character picked up the phone. When it returns, the character is still dialing, and the narrator comments, "If you're wondering why he's still dialing, he's calling one of those really long collect call numbers."
- Lilo and Stitch: The Series: 624/Angel's tag had the phone number of Dr. Jacque von Hamsterviel.
- Family Guy: "If you are in the Los Angeles area and you want to get tickets to Hitler, then call 213-Du-Werdest-Eine-Krankenschwester-Brauchen!" The English translation is "You will need a nurse" in broken German.
- Placing a phone call in the United States using a prepaid phone card will add 25 digits to any phone number.
- Sometimes an advertisement will state to dial a number that is longer than an actual number just so that the word or words they're using to represent the number won't be cut off. You don't actually have to dial anything other than the actual number in order to reach it, but dialing the extra digits won't hurt.