Special Services

Special Services Branch of The Electric Orphanage of North America, Inc.


We design and build pole lines . . . the old fashioned way.

Planning a film where your story’s attention to historical detail is a must?

Consider The Electric Orphanage’s Special Services. 

What better way to impart true “Americana” to your motion picture than incorporating authentically designed and placed open wire communications outside plant to your time period (1900-1960s).  

We provide design, construction and operations services to motion picture companies seeking an accurate portrayal of typical communications systems landscape elements required for your films.  If you are a set perfectionist, “historically simulated” landscape architecture will not do.   Your audiences donotice film inaccuracies and we can do something about that. 

Time-specific actual communications structures will be erected with scrupulous attention to detail using bona fide equipment, hardware and materials.  

All equipment, poles, materials used in the project will remain the property of The Electric Orphanage. Upon your film’s completion, these structures and wire will be de-commissioned and safely removed from the site by our construction forces.

Since each project is custom-designed and engineered, we invite you to contact us so that we can work with you to achieve convincing and authoritative period properties.   Use our “Contact Us” link to communicate your film’s goals to our staff so we may better assist your project efforts in a timely fashion.

If you want it, we can build it! Photo credit: Erik Boucher

Appeared in the Recent JFK Assassination Anniversary Motion Picture “Parkland” (2013)

This CL Series Western Electric Switchboard, used for long distance and exchange services at a typical AT&T Central Office, was recently used as a property in the upcoming movie Parkland.  As a “supporting cast member” this switchboard was used as the incoming call center for Parkland Memorial Hospital (as portrayed in the film).


Since the filming of the movie occurred in Austin, Texas–not Dallas’ actual Parkland Memorial Hospital–this unit was used as the “stand in” as the typical institutional switchboard of the time.  


As Hollywood never likes to let “facts” to get in the way of spinning a good story, honest-to-goodness research would have disallowed this unit’s use and instead, specified a then contemporary ’60s PBX system. True applications of this particular unit as pictured would have been seen in bays of Bell System long distance operator facilities back in the 1950s and 1960s. Gleaning from my experience of working in the North Dallas, Farmers Branch, and other urban locations around Parkland on Harry Hines Boulevard, I would surmise Parkland Memorial Hospital in the early 1960s would most certainly have had a Southwestern Bell electronic PBX 300 series busines phone system. These would have been used at large universities, businesses, hotels and other high volume service providers and not this unit used in the motion picture.  


However, for the undiminished purpose of weaving a genuinely good story from Bugliosi’s great book, don’t let this minor technical failure diminish your enthusiasm for seeing the upcoming picture.  Look for the switchboard above to be prominently featured and enjoy the movie!

The Electric Orphanage’s Switchboard to appear in “Parkland,” an upcoming JFK Assassination film directed by Peter Landesman and produced by Guy East, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Nigel Sinclair for release in November 2013.

“Parkland” film properties people applied simulated paper directory number listings of hospital departments on listings shown to the left of the photo.

Please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsOwpR3Ygzo&NR=1&feature=endscreen for information relative to its operation.