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” during that April 1982 episode, Murphy petitioned the audience to call in, even telling Larry the Lobster’s life story.
By the end of the show, almost 500,000 people had placed calls.
The episode caused such an unexpected spike in calls that AT&T, the phone carrier, later created AT&T billed more than $200,000 that night, marking a glorious moment for the young 900 number business.
In the late 1980s, dialing a number with the 900 prefix on your landline phone became a way to gain access to a web of information on any number of subjects before the Internet as we know it existed.
But instead of offering it for free alongside poorly-performing ads, 900 numbers supported content creators.
A typical call cost $1.99 for the first minute, and 99 cents for each additional minute.
Some numbers were kind of like subreddits of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where people with a common interest could get updates.