William “Bil” Britton Baird (1904-1987) [RA 1982-1987, HA 1987] : Telezonia lever worker from Adventure in Telezonia (1949), 1947.


SAL record control number: 85915 ;

Record level: Item ;

Record type: Movable work ;


Work title: Telezonia lever worker from Adventure in Telezonia (1949) ;

Alternate work titles: 
2021 : Telezonia lever worker from Adventure in Telezonia (1949)  [from SAL curator] ; 

Work date: 1947 ; 

Work creator: William Britton “Bil” Baird (1904-1987) ;

Work medium: ? ; 
Work dimensions: ? x ? inches ; 

Inscribed / signed front: [none] ; 

Verso: [none] ; 

SAL category: Sculpture ; 
SAL sub-category: Puppet ; 

Archives of American Art subjects:
Art―Private collections―New York (State)
Art―Private collections―New York (State)―Salmagundi
Sculpture — Puppet

Description of work:
Adventure in Telezonia (1949)
Sponsor: American Telephone & Telegraph Co. Production Co.: Bil Baird’s Marionettes. Puppetry: Bil and Cora Baird. Transfer Note: Scanned from a 35mm print held by the Library of Congress. Running Time: 18 minutes.

One of the Bell Telephone System’s many films instructing the public on proper use of the telephone. Bobby finds his lost dog with the help of the residents of Telezonia, who teach him how to use directory assistance, party lines, and proper phone manners.

Note: Adventure in Telezonia was the Bairds’ second film for AT&T; “Telezonia” was the name of an instructional package on good telephone habits that was prepared for schools. It contained this film as well as practice telephones. A revised version was released in 1969.

1987 Salmagundi, New York, NY, donated by the artist’s son Peter Baird in memory of his father William Britton “Bil” Baird (1904-1987), accession #2006.38 ; 
1947 William Britton “Bil” Baird (1904-1987), the artist, created for the short film Adventure in Telezonia (1949) .

Exhibition history:
2021 SMAA Bil Baird : Narrative Design November – December.

References / citations:
– National Archives, film available for download.
– “Topics and Sidelights of the Day in Wall Street,” New York Times, June 9, 1950, 37; Educational Film Guide (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1953), 559; “Course in How to Use Telephone Rings Bell for Elementary School Children,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 17, 1955, W1.

– The museum would like to gratefully acknowledge the help of fellow puppeteer Craig Marin and Olga Felgemacher, longtime collaborator to Bil Baird, for their kind assistance with identifying the puppet and their productions, 2021.


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Record birth date:
March 31, 2021

Last updated: September 4, 2021 at 17:22 pm