Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 15 – Calling Pay Phones In The 1980s

In the mid-to-late 1980’s I wrote a program for my TRS-80 Color Computer 2 that allowed me to easily talk to people on the phone using the computer’s speech cartridge. The program consisted of a screen full of commonly used phrases like “How Are You” and “I am doing okay” and “Malfunction, Need Input.” I used the computer to call pay phones and talk to strangers, and to order pizzas from Dominos. Episode 11 of Brad’s Cactus Shack went into more detail about this same thing, but in that episode I didn’t have any actual audio of me talking to people with the computer. In this episode I’ve found a couple of short audio files of me actually talking to people with my computer.

Enjoy this 30 minutes of terrible quality phone recordings where I talk to a girl from my school while she does her homework and I call kids who are hanging around the pay phones at Alton Square Mall. About 11 minutes in I couldn’t understand who she was asking if I knew. During my editing I heard the name clearly. She wanted to know if I knew Sammy Hagar from Van Halen. You probably already know this. I also play a few of my old answering machine messages from 1989 or 1990. The opening song is Welcome To My World by Nerf Herder. The background music is Danger Storm by Kevin MacLeod. The ending song is The Sun Shines Down On Me by Daniel Johnston.


  • C O M P L E T E F A I L

  • Wow. Back in the 80s, when I was thinking Pogo Balls were the coolest thing going, you were already messing around with computers and phones for fun. Recording shit, as if u somehow knew the internet would be a stage in your future, to share recordings with your future internet buds. Neat.

  • You ever hear the Roger Water album “Radio K.A.O.S.? It’s got nearly the same computer voice. Hard to understand as well. Even with my new JBL Studio 530’s (Bad Ass Bookshelf Speakers) which sound amazing as hell, it’s hard to understand everything the robot voice says. Damn that album sounds amazing on the 530’s! Back when I was listening to Episode 14, I was walking around a few miles from my house, and I found a keyboard that went to a Tandy computer like you had. Thought it was a whole computer, but it was just a keyboard. It was just sitting there, on the side of the road in the industrial area. Weird coincidence. I didn’t think the recording quality was too awful on episode 15, I’ve got just average headphones I listened with. I’ve listened to many a conspiratard recordings that sounded way worse than anything on Brad’s Cactus shack. Damn that TRS-80 voice sounds cool though.

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