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October 9, 2020

Ashtrays and Coin-Operated “Tel-a-Chairs” in the Los Angeles Greyhound Bus Terminal, 1969

Passengers watching coin-operated TV’s in the LA Greyhound terminal in 1969. Also, take note of those space age chairs, ashtrays, phone booths, and terrazzo floors! And look how everyone is dressed. Suits and hats!


At the time, there were roughly 160 Tel-a-Chairs in operation in Southern California, including 49 at the Greyhound Bus Terminal at 6th and Los Angeles that were grossing $4,000 every month.

Ten minutes of television time cost 10 cents while a half-hour cost 25 cents.

The Tel-a-Chair was invented by John R. Rice. Each chair featured a 9-inch set connected to an apparently very comfortable chair.

By a sit-in test, the Tel-a-Chairs are more comfortable than anything else in the terminal, unless you happen to fall asleep in one of them. Greyhound spends $5,000 to $6,000 a month for security in its downtown terminal, and besides keeping drunks and rabble-rousers out, one of the guard’s main functions it to remove sleepers from the Tel-a-Chairs.

One Tel-a-Chair franchiser stated that the company was “anticipating an additional 800 chairs within the next 90 days. These hopefully will be installed in hospitals, Greyhound and Continental Trailways terminals and at International Airports”. The company was hoping to create an “instant rating system for TV network advertisers” using the Tel-a-Chair, but the idea never took off as expected.

(via Television Obscurities)




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