555 telephone number

From Academic Kids

In North American television shows and movies, 5-5-5 is the prefix used for fictional telephone numbers. In older television shows from the 1950s or 1960s, "KLondike 5" was used, as at the time the telephone exchanges used letters. "KLamath 5" is sometimes also used.

One of the main reasons the prefix exists is to avoid accidentally using real phone numbers in movies. There are many cases of people, for various reasons, actually trying to call these numbers. Unfortunately, in cases where the prefix isn't used, people with the same numbers receive many calls from people who have seen the movies. A perfect example of this situation is with the 2003 film Bruce Almighty. The makers of the movie opted not to use the prefix, and several people whose phone numbers matched one mentioned in the film were inundated with callers asking for "God". Another widespread example was the fiasco caused by the hit 1981 song "867-5309", which actually is a valid number in many area codes and commonly receives calls asking for "Jenny".

Not all numbers that begin with 5-5-5 are fictional—for example, 555-1212 is the number for directory assistance in many places. In fact, only 555-0100 through 555-0199 are now specifically reserved for fictional use, with the other numbers having been released for actual assignment. Some movies have gone to creating fictional telephone numbers starting with 1, giving someone a "telephone number" of 167-1402 in the film, for example. Others, such as the producers of HBO's Sex and the City have acquired actual telephone numbers solely for the purpose of using them in the movie or on TV.

In other countries, where different numbering schemes are used, different conventions for fictional numbers are used. In the United Kingdom, the telephone regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) has recommended here ( that the area code 01632 is used (for detail see UK telephone numbering plan#Drama Numbers); for specific area codes a special range of numbers (usually, but not always beginning 4960) has been reserved.

The producers of the television series 24 began using the real telephone number belonging to a member of the show's production staff. The cell phone the number belongs to is answered by the show's staff whenever anyone actually calls it. This approach was also taken by the producers of the show Scrubs, who used the phone number (916) CALL-TUR(k) as the notional number of the cell phone of intern Chris Turk. The number goes to a voicemail box on which the outgoing message is recorded in rotation by various members of the cast, in character.

A related situation is that of the use of domain names in television programs and other popular media: some production companies register the names they use and let them sit dormant, some forget to register them and they are taken advantage of by others, and some actually put active websites there, as a paean to their avid viewers. When IP addresses are called for in a script, some TV shows, like 24, use numbers that are over 255 (which are not allowed in real addresses).


  • 555 8383 Eddie's boiler repairs in the Playstation 2 game Grand Theft Auto 3
  • 555 8383 Jerry Seinfeld's car phone in episode 28 The Alternate Side.
  • 555 8383 Jerry Seinfeld's home phone number in later episodes.
  • 555 0199 Lester Burnham's (Kevin Spacey) office number in American Beauty.

See also

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