Broken telephone

Do you remember the game “broken telephone”? This is when one person whispers something in your ear, and then you have to whisper it to the next person in line, and so on. Inevitably, the last person in line receives something completely different from what the first person started with.

I found an example of “broken telephone” in the October 8 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. The initial article was about a Toronto Hydro lineman who fractured his skull when he fell off a pole:


Later in the same edition, there was a picture of the unfortunate Mr. Smith, along with a picture of a boy who also suffered a fractured skull. So far, so good, as the details of both articles seem to match:


Now here’s the broken telephone part. Later in the same edition, I saw this bit of filler:


Here, Roland is now Lorne, and Binscarth Road is now Dinscarth Road. Somebody obviously wasn’t paying attention when they took notes.

Happily, Roland survived his injury. He appears in the 1928 and 1929 city directories at his 328 Ossington Avenue address, and appears in the 1930 directory at 1708A Queen West. I hope this meant that he got to enjoy many years with his family.

When looking up Roland Smith, I discovered that there was another Roland Smith who  worked with Toronto Hydro at the same time – the one in the article above was Roland H. Smith, and the second one was just plain Roland Smith. The second Roland Smith also moved in 1930, which must have made things very confusing for the Toronto Hydro human resources department.

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