Golden Telephone

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The golden telephone which was presented to the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1957.

The golden telephone is an icon representing power or communication with a higher power. Golden telephone sets were presented to Pope Pius XI in 1930 and to the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1957.

The Vatican[edit]

In 1930, the newly created Vatican City was connected to the international telephone network via the International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), which had recently installed a new telephone exchange. For that occasion, the Catholic church in the United States presented a golden telephone to Pope Pius XI. The golden phone was used until the end of Pope John XXIII's pontificate in 1963.[1][2] Since then, the pope has used a standard phone in 'papal' white.


During an award ceremony with US Ambassador Gardner, a ceremonial golden telephone was presented to the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in 1957.[3] The instrument can be viewed at the Museum of the Revolution (formerly Batista's presidential palace) in Havana.

In popular culture[edit]

A golden telephone appeared in The Godfather Part II as the film depicts Cuban dictator Batista receiving it as a gift from the telephone company United Telephone and Telegraph (presumably intended to represent International Telephone and Telegraph).

In Oliver Stone's The Doors, Jim Morrison meets Andy Warhol at a party. The camera focuses on a golden telephone, which Warhol offers to Morrison saying: "Somebody gave me this telephone... I think it was Edie... yeah, it was Edie... and she said I could talk to God with it, but uh... I don't have anything to say... so here... (giving Jim the phone) this is for you... now you can talk to God." Morrison accepts the telephone and later gives it to a homeless person.

This symbol is also popular in various award ceremonies as a supposed edifice of prominence. Golden telephone awards include Springwire[4] and Overthinkingit.[5]


  1. ^ "Golden Telephone for Pope Pius". Spokane Daily Chronicle. July 29, 1930. p. 6. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ Glatz, Carol (July 24, 2006). "On call 24/7: Vatican phone system directs thousands of call each day". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times
  4. ^ Springwire
  5. ^ Overthinkingit

See also[edit]

External links[edit]