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An empty telephone booth

Phonebooth stuffing was a fad that involved a number of people consecutively entering a phonebooth, until the point where the phonebooth would accommodate no more, or there were no more individuals available. By early 1959 the fad had spread to Durban, South Africa; Southern Rhodesia; Britain; Canada and the United States.

On March 20, 1959, students at the Durban, South Africa YMCA set a world record when 25 of them were able to squeeze at least most of their body into a standard (upright) phonebooth. They ranged in height from 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm) to 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm). When the phone rang, none could answer it.[1][2]

Although it was "one of the all-time great fads," it was passé by the end of 1959, replaced by the more sedate fad of hunkerin'. It was akin to the earlier fads of flagpole sitting, goldfish swallowing, and panty raids, and a predecessor of the fad of streaking.[3][4]


  1. ^ Associated Press (March 20, 1959). "25 in phone booth!". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, CT. p. 13. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  2. ^ "The phone booth stuffing/cramming fad of the 1950's". Mortal Journey. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  3. ^ Marum, Andrew and Parise, Frank, "Follies and foibles," section "Telephone booth stuffing (1959)." Facts on File, Inc., New York:1984, pages 108-109. ISBN 0-87196-820-7
  4. ^ "Telephone booth stuffing." Retrieved October 5, 2007