Tube Bar prank calls

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The Tube Bar prank calls are a series of prank calls[1][2] made in the mid-1970s to the Tube Bar in Jersey City, in which pranksters would ask the proprietor of the bar if they could speak to a fictitiously named customer. The fictitious names given by the pranksters were pun-like/homophones for other—oftentimes more offensive—phrases. Recordings of the calls were circulated widely on duped cassette tapes and may have been the inspiration for a running gag in The Simpsons.[1]

History[edit]

In the mid-1970s, two young men—John Elmo and Jim Davidson;[3][4][5] later known collectively as Bum Bar Bastards, or The BBB—began calling the Tube Bar located at Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey. The bar was owned by heavyweight boxer Louis “Red” Deutsch, and most of the time Deutsch himself answered the calls. During a call, the pranksters would ask Deutsch to call out fictitious, pun-like/homophones names such as “Pepe Roni” (pepperoni), “Hal Ja-Like-a-Kick” (how’d you like a kick), “Phil My-Pockets” (fill my pockets),[6] “Al Coholic” (alcoholic)[1][6][7] or “Mike Hunt” (my cunt).[2][7] Most of the time, Deutsch would call out the names, unaware that he was subjected to a prank.

At times Deutsch would catch on, and when he did, he would respond with extreme hostility, shouting profanity, obscene sexual references (usually involving the caller’s mother), and threats of physical harm at the caller. He would utter threats such as, “I’m gonna break dem bones in your feet, so you’ll never be able to walk right again!” as well as “I’ll cut your belly open and show you all the black stuff you got in there!” Sometimes Red would offer the two pranksters a reward of $100 or $500 if they would show up at his bar in person, but they never took him up on the offer.[3][8]

By the 1980s dubbed cassette tapes of the calls were shared between staff of several major league sports teams such as the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Dolphins. These dubbed copies of the calls were unofficially referred to as the Red Tapes or Tube Bar Tapes.[9] The popularity of these prank calls spread throughout respective sports leagues, branching out to sports reporters and then into the larger media world.

Bar Location and Details[edit]

The Tube Bar itself was located at 12 Tube Concourse, Jersey City NJ, 07306 adjacent to the entrance of the Journal Square PATH station and across the way from the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre.[10] The small complex of commercial storefronts that included the Tube Bar was demolished in early 2009 to make way for the One Journal Square development project.[11][12]

Legacy[edit]

  • The 1981 movie Porky's included a scene with characters calling a bar asking for “Mike Hunt.”[13]
  • Animator and cartoonist Matt Groening apparently obtained a copy and incorporated the phone hijinks into a running gag on The Simpsons with barkeeper Moe Szyslak, who is partially based on Deutsch. Although Groening is a fan of the tapes, he describes the apparent connection between Red and Moe as “creative synchronicity.”[14]
  • During the 1980s, several different record labels released various edits of the tapes on CD, LP and cassette tape before the Bum Bar Bastards came forward in the 1990s to claim copyright of the tapes and officially release their version on their own.[8]
  • Sculptor Alan Wolfson created a miniature 13 inch by 13 inch by 13 inch sculpture of the Tube Bar facade—titled, “Tube Bar (1992)”—based on what it looked like in the mid-to-late 1980s; decades before its demolition in the 2000s.[15]

Discography[edit]

# Album Format Release date Label Catalog Number
1 The Tube Bar Cassette Tape 6 November 1988 Teenbeat Records Teen-Beat 22[16]
2 The Tube Bar LP 15 February 1990 Teenbeat Records Teen-Beat 31[17]
3 The Tube Bar CD 23 September 1991 Teenbeat Records Teen-Beat 81[18]
4 Tube Bar CD 1993 Detonator Records 30414-2[19]
5 Tavern Tour Cassette Tape & CD 1997 Padded Cell Productions bbb1111[20][21]
6 Tube Bar Collector's Edition CD 2006 T.A. Productions 634479238611[22]
7 Drunk, Dirty And Disgraceful CD 30 October 2006 T.A. Productions 634479416163[23]
8 Tube Bar Red's Bootleg Tape [Remastered] CD 1 September 2007 T.A. Productions 883629285993[24]
9 Tube Bar Legendary Prank / Crank Calls [The Ultimate Collection] CD 23 October 2008 T.A. Productions 883629648101[25]
10 Tube Bar Prank Calls 35th Anniversary Complete Collection CD 1 September 2010 T.A. Productions 885444445392[26]
11 Tube Bar Vol. 4: Rummies, Bums & Dummies CD 17 April 2013 TubeBarPrankCalls.com 887936261862[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ehrman, Mark (24 July 1993). "Phone Pranks: Not Just For Kids Anymore". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Sisario, Ben (March 7, 1999). "POP MUSIC; Giving Jerseyana A Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Beato, Greg (June 2002). "Off the Hook". SPIN (SPIN Media LLC): 76. 
  4. ^ Burke, Doug (July 1997). "Prantagonize, Issue 1: The Bum Bar Bastards". Frank's World Entertainment Network. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "The Bum Bar Bastard Interview". CranKings. 27 May 1997. Archived from the original on 20 March 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Walsh, Mike. "The Legend of the Tube Bar, Part 1: Introduction". Mouth Wash: Articles, Stories, and Humor by Mike Walsh. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  7. ^ a b ""The Tube Bar Tapes" - Transcrierea". grup goarna.go.ro. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Moran, Mark; Sceurman, Mark. Weird N.J. Vol. 2: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling. p. 110. ISBN 978-1454903628. 
  9. ^ Walsh, Mike. "The Legend of the Tube Bar, Part 2: How the Recording Got Around". Mouth Wash: Articles, Stories, and Humor by Mike Walsh. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Tube Bar, Inc., Petitioner, v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Respondent". leagle.com. Leagle. 26 December 1950. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Hack, Charles (8 April 2009). "It's all up from here for Journal Square". NJ.com. The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  12. ^ McDonald, Terrence T. (5 January 2015). "Jared Kushner buys site of long-delayed Journal Square project for $27M". NJ.com. The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Porky’s (1982) - Quotes". IMDB. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Ehrman, Mark (3 June 1993). "Telephone Trespassing: Think only kids make prank calls? Now grown-ups are dialing, baiting their prey and taping what follows. And thousands collect the recordings.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  15. ^ Wolfson, Alan. "Tube Bar (1992)". Alan Wolfson - Miniature Urban Sculptures. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  16. ^ The Tube Bar {audio documentary} (Media notes). Teen-Beat. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  17. ^ The Tube Bar (Media notes). Teen-Beat. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  18. ^ The Tube Bar Deluxe (Media notes). Teen-Beat. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar (CD, Album) at Discogs (Media notes). Detonator Records. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tavern Tour at Discogs (Media notes). Padded Cell Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  21. ^ The Official Bum Bar Bastards Homepage (Media notes). Padded Cell Productions. Archived from the original on 10 June 2004. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  22. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar Collector's Edition at Discogs (Media notes). T.A. Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  23. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Drunk, Dirty And Disgraceful at Discogs (Media notes). T.A. Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar Red's Bootleg Tape [Remastered] (CD, Album) at Discogs (Media notes). T.A. Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  25. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar Legendary Prank / Crank Calls [The Ultimate Collection] (CD) at Discogs (Media notes). T.A. Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  26. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar Prank Calls 35th Anniversary Complete Collection (CD, Album) at Discogs (Media notes). T.A. Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  27. ^ Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar Vol. 4: Rummies, Bums & Dummies (CD, Album) at Discogs (Media notes). T.A. Productions. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 

External links[edit]