Remember in the nineties when you could dial that 1-800 number for D.A.R.E. and hear an automated message from then-Saved by the Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar's anti-drug message? No? Yeah, me either. I mean, I certainly never wrote that number down in my Hello Kitty address book under G for Gosselaar like it was his own personal number or anything...
Well, these days it is much more than just charitable causes that are utilizing the power of toll-free calling. Shows and stars themselves are getting on-board. Gosselaar is back with 1-855-WERE-LAWYERS (what the hell is 855!?) where he and Franklin and Bash co-star Breckin Meyer have a variety of pre-taped voicemail messages you can hear depending on what option you select (hint: hit 1 for my fave from Gosselaar and 2 for my fave from Meyer). It is unclear what would happen if you actually tried to leave a message, though.
Meanwhile Cougar Town obtained 1-855-PENNY-CAN where fans can hear a voicemail message from Bobby Cobb, Penny Can master himself (Brian Van Holt) learning how they can buy their very own Penny Can. Or, for a lucky few, you can actually get through to one of the members of the cast or writing staff, as the number is attached to a working cell phone that they have been passing around. And as series star Josh Hopkins shared with Made Possible by Pop Culture on the red carpet at the TV Academy last week, "We'll keep doing it as long as [series creator] Bill Lawrence tells us to!"
But in a day and age where stars tend to take to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to converse with their fans, is the old-fashioned phone approach a necessary outreach? Sure, the extra buzz can't hurt, and surely those numbers are super cheap to acquire now. But phone lines get jammed and a voicemail might not cut it at a time when one can bombard his or her favorite celebrity on a social networking site and come away with a more public response that he or she can show off as proof of some kind of connection.
Besides, just how many people are even calling when kids today would rather spend $30 a month on unlimited texting and never actually dialing a phone number to converse with a friend or family member? Are YOU calling? And if so, what other shows would you want a similar interaction with? Weigh in below!