Notably, no one here seems to care about this demise but here's a David Hinckley column on the subject:
Western Union really
delivered for H'wood
Wednesday, February 8th, 2006
The 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" has a pivotal scene in which Audrey Hepburn, as Holly Golightly, receives a telegram from the Brazilian ambassador calling off their engagement.
Were Hollywood to remake "Breakfast at Tiffany's" today - and hey, it's remaking everything else - that scene might show Hilary Duff getting the news as a text message on her Blackberry.
This image alone tells us what popular culture has lost since Western Union went out of the telegram business last week.
No, I'm not arguing we should abandon the Internet because telegrams are more romantic.
But they were.
And let's not forget that, in their day, telegrams were the Internet. They were a magical means of sending words to people thousands of miles away.
The importance of the telegram is nicely illustrated in HBO's best series, "Deadwood." It is the arrival of a polite, well-dressed man with a telegraph machine - even more than a sheriff - that signals the moment Deadwood stops being a steel-cage death match and starts becoming a part of civilization.
Small wonder Hollywood has always recognized the telegram as a potent dramatic weapon.
Jimmy Cagney getting the telegram from President Roosevelt summoning him to the White House in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." The telegraph operator sending his all-points bulletin about the murder of the German couriers in "Casablanca."
In "High Noon," the telegraph operator is the first to learn Frank Miller is back in town, aiming to kill Marshall Will Kane. Telegrams set up critical action in "Mister Roberts," "The Caine Mutiny" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." A telegram ordering him to duty in Hitler's army pushes Capt. Von Trapp to lead his family over the mountain to freedom in "The Sound of Music."
On lighter notes, Oscar Madison jokes in "The Odd Couple" about Felix sending him a "suicide telegram," and Mel Brooks alerts the town of Rock Ridge with a telegram in "Blazing Saddles."
Yes, some of these messages could have been conveyed other ways, but there's something dramatic about a telegram. It has a flourish in the movies, as it has in real life. Sometimes its arrival reveals nothing of its message, while other times it carries the smell of death. A wartime telegram back home often meant something terrible had happened over there, an awful truth used by Steven Spielberg to set up "Saving Private Ryan."
Now that the telegram is part of the past, the movies will also move on. In fact, they already have, and that's fair. All we ask is that, if they remake "Breakfast at Tiffany's," we don't have to hear the new Holly Golightly on her cell phone saying, "So, like, he just blows me off. ... So I go ... and he goes ... and I'm like ... and he's like ... whatever...."
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.