The 30 Weirdest 1-900 Numbers From The ’80s

Ah, a time when shoulderpads were big, ties were skinny, and it was $2 for the first minute, $1.95 for the following.

1-900 numbers weren’t just for sex lines and psychics (thought they were probably mostly used for that). They were a way of transmitting information for money in a pre-Internet world for things like jokes, music, games, and fan club information.

Sadly, after testing them out, these numbers are no longer in service.

1. Corey Haim and Corey Feldman’s fan hotline:

Can’t get enough Coreys in your life? Ready to pay for more hot Corey action? Here’s the number for you.

2. He-Man hotline

A lot of these fan lines were aimed at kids. They’d always have a warning telling kids to ask their parents’ permission before calling, but their profits must’ve all come from furtive dialing from kids who didn’t realize it would show up on their phone bill.

3. Paula Abdul’s line:

Straight up now tell me, do you really want to pay $0.99/minute?

4. Hulk Hogan’s fan line

Back before you could listen to him complain about having sex on a full stomach in his sex tape, you could pay to listen to him tell you cool Hulk things. According to a factoid flagged “citation needed” on Wikipedia, the Hulkster’s line was the most profitable 900 number from 1991-1993 on AT&T. Oh, brother.

5. Jessica Hahn’s secret-revealing hotline

Jessica Hahn was involved in a sex scandal with televangelist Reverend Jim Bakker that was one of the biggest tabloid stories in 1987. She claimed it was non-consensual, he admitted to cheating on his wife, Tammy Faye, but that it was consensual. Her ad promises to tell you the “real story” of her encounter.

6. “Room Mates” sexytime hotline:

This isn’t just your standard phone sex line, it’s one that’s angled specifically at the fantasy of two bored female roommates who want to talk dirty to you. Like if the characters on Girls ran a phone sex line.

7. Warrant’s fan hotline

For Warrant fans. Yes, at one point, there were so many Warrant fans that they had a pay phone line. Now the singer is dead :(

8. A phone lottery game

The premise of this 900 number was that if you were the lucky caller, you could win prize money. Basically like a phone lottery ticket.

9. WWF Hotline

This number would give marks insider info on Wrestlemania. It’s been replaced by something called a blog.

10. Grandpa Al Lewis from “The Munsters” fan hotline

The actor who played the grandfather on the classic sitcom The Munsters had a strange career where he made money on doing that same character for decades.

11. New Kids on the Block fan hotline:

Probably the greatest fan hotline of all time. The best part of this ad is when Joey McIntyre pretends to be talking on the phone in an over-the-top pantomime.

12. Jokes

Do you like to laugh? These chuckles ain’t free, friend.

13. Tiffany’s fan hotline:

Tiffany’s fan hotline. Best line in the ad is when Tiffany manipulatively says, “you’re my friend, so call me.”

14. Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s fan hotline

Best part is that they recorded a whole rap for this. Will Smith rapped for a 1-900 number.

15. Dial-An-Insult

The biggest insult is that you have to pay for this.

16. The Spin Magazine playlist

You could call up this number and pay to listen over the phone to a playlist of the music reviewed in that month’s issue.

17. Video Game hints

Video game hints were a huge market for 1-900 numbers. Nintendo, Konami, Sega, and all the popular video game makers of the ’80s had paid tip lines.

18. A “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” game

It’s unclear exactly what this game was, but it seems to be a trivia game where you could win prizes for correct answers. A truly bizarre movie marketing tie-in.

19. Kiss’s hotline

This one isn’t surprising, since we all know Kiss will do anything for money.

20. The Crying hotline

The weirdest of them all. A number you can call that will make you cry? “What makes people all over America break down and cry like this?” For $2/minute you can find out. Probably you look at your phone bill after calling this.

21. Freddy Krueger’s phone line

The Call Freddy! line advertises “Freddy’s favorite bedtime stories… [laughter]….deadtime stories.”

22. Creep phone

With the creep phone, you can even leave your own scary message recording that will be played for others. Crowdsourcing your creeps.

23. Santa’s hotline

Like the He-Man hotline, this was very clearly targeted at small children. They called it “Santa’s special phone,” where kids could tell Santa their toy wishlist and get a special message from Santa.

24. Rappin’ Santa

This time Santa’s rapping.

25. G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling)’s hotline

Keep up with your favorite female wrestlers.

26. “Little Monsters” promotional contest hotline

This was a sweepstakes hotlines to promote the Fred Savage movie Little Monsters (which is awesome). The rap in the ad is absolute ’80s perfection.

27. MC Hammer’s fan hotline

If only he got more calls, he might have not gone broke.

28. L.A. nightclub guide hotline

The “party tracker” line would recommend nightclubs in the Los Angeles area for you based on what kind of club you were looking for. Why they used such a nerdy pitchman for this proto-Yelp, I have no idea.

29. Jose Canseco’s hotline

According to a 1990 article in the L.A. Times, Jose had his own 1-900 line, hosted by the same company, Audio Communications, Inc, which hosted many of the other celebrity fan lines.

A clip of the ad exists within an old sports news show - at the 0:54 mark of this video you can see the ad where Jose promises, “if you want to know if I do steroids, how fast I drive, or why I was carrying that gun, call 1-900-234-JOSE.”

30. U.F.O. hotline

For information about U.F.O.s, “we warn you – this may be the most shocking phone call you’ll ever make!”

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Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
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