Ahh, telephone booth stuffing, in the borgo household this has become a traditional Thanksgiving favorite…


1 telephone booth
1 group of college students
1 extremely large turkey
1 humongous oven

Ah, forget it.

Actually telephone booth stuffing was a fad that swept through college campuses in the late 1950’s. (Oh those crazy kids)

Even though telephone booth stuffing conjures up thoughts (at least to me anyway) of students on the west coast of the good ol’ USA cramming themselves into one of those things, it appears it had its roots in South Africa.

It seems 25 South African students managed to stuff themselves into a standard size phone booth. They submitted this history-making act to the Guinness Book of World Records and the gauntlet was thrown down to the rest of the world. Students from England, Canada and the United States responded to the challenge. (It seems students from the rest of the world were too busy getting an education.) In England for instance, students went on diets. In the United States, students enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) tried to use their God given talents in geometry and calculus in order to devise more effective cramming methods. I guess the Canadians just did it for warmth.

Naturally, disputes about rules were inevitable. Must the whole body be inside the booth or could an appendage be left dangling out? Must the booth be erect or could it placed on its side? Should the door remain open or should the door be able to be closed upon completion of the stuffing? The Brits even wanted a rule that required that one of the stuffees must either be able to place or receive a call.

Alas, no consensus could be reached and near the end of 1959 the fad died out. Not to worry though, a few years later the fad sort of resurrected itself and the sport of Volkswagen stuffing was born.

Oh yeah, I believe the record for most people crammed into a phone booth is still held proudly by the South Africans at 25. I guess it’s one of those “records that will never be broken.”

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