Red Phone! Times are changing.

I noticed during my recent viewing of Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days that he has two phones in his house, one of which is red. Everybody nowadays surely knows of the red phone that supposedly sits in the President’s office, and perhaps of red phones used elsewhere for similar reasons, but do you really know why? I’d heard suggestions that the red phone is used to notify the president of an impending Nuclear attack and up until recently I believed that to be true, but the actual reason is subtly but drastically different. It’s used to communicate between superpowers immediately in the event of an “accidental, unauthorized or unexplained incident involving a nuclear weapon that could increase the risk of nuclear war.”

Furthermore, the phone, presumably coloured red for the blindingly obvious reason that red = danger pretty much 100% of the time (girls, we see through that lipstick ploy), was introduced “after the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis made it clear that reliable, direct communications between the two nuclear powers was a necessity.” (The two nuclear powers in this case being the USA and the Soviet Union).

A fascinating little factual tidbit I’m sure you’ll agree, and one which neatly brings me full circle back to my first observation – Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days has two phones in his house, one of which is red.

But didn’t we just establish that the Red Phone wasn’t in use until post Cuban Missile Crisis?? And yet Thirteen Days is a film directly portraying that difficult time. Something isn’t quite right somewhere it seems.

I checked the ‘goofs’ on IMDB and I see no indication that Costner’s Red Phone is an error – is there anybody out there that has a reasonable explanation for the existence of the red phone in Thirteen Days during a period of time before it was even implemented?

On the topic of JFK (which we are), I watched Bubba Ho-tep yesterday in Blu-ray. Highly entertaining movie – check for the review in the coming days.

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