Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial/extradimensional (Seltas) (see comments) (Pre-modern era)

Occupation: Space-traveller

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Unnamed Earthman

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Formerly trapped in a telephone receiver; originally from a Microverse (presumably; see comments)

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#94/4 (March, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: Unknown -- the "Tele-Phony" was never actually seen; his presence was only made known through the sound of his voice on the telephone. The "Tele-Phony" was small enough to occupy a spaceship which was only a fraction of an inch in length.

History: (Strange Tales I#94/4 (fb) - BTS) - The "Tele-Phony" was traveling through space when a magnetic disturbance fouled up the guidance system of his spaceship. The tiny spaceship somehow got lodged inside the ear-piece of a telephone headset.

(Strange Tales I#94/4) - The phone rang and a man answered it, but he only heard a voice crying for help. Not recognizing the voice, the man asked the caller if it was some kind of gag. The caller told the man that it was no gag and that he needed help badly. The caller went on, telling the man that he did not know him and that he was from another world. Angry, the man told the caller he had no time for playing games, but the caller assured him that he spoke the truth. The man asked the caller where he was, but the caller didn't know -- that's why he was calling for help! Sobbing, the caller worried that without help, he would soon perish. Irritated and tiring of the conversation, the man slammed the phone headset down so hard it cracked the receiver ear-piece, which fell off and onto the table. Finally freed, the tiny spaceship flew off -- the man had unintentionally helped him after all!

The man looked at the damage he'd accidentally caused to his phone -- he'd call the phone company in the morning for a replacement. Hoping that he didn't get anymore crank calls, the man looked over his shoulder and noticed the strange looking "bug" flying off...

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report#1 - BTS) - Before they were freed the aliens deployed nanotech probes tasked with assimilating the telephone's technology so they could adapt it to secure their own freedom. The next day A.G. Bell came to replace the phone and found the advanced technology inside which would lead to his career as Phone Ranger.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

The alien was never actually called the "Tele-Phony" in this story -- I just made that up to identify him.

I guess the best description of this story would be -- the film "Sorry, Wrong Number" done as a "Twilight Zone" episode.

I would speculate that maybe the "Tele-Phony" was an inhabitant of a Microverse (similar to the Goloks or the Gilliams) who strayed onto Earth.

So exactly how did that tiny spaceship get inside a telephone headset?...I dunno, maybe it was the result of sunspot activity causing an electro-magnetic power surge on the phone lines which temporarily opened a space-warp into a Microverse, and the ship flew through it...you know, the kind of "one-in-a-trillion-accident" stuff that only happens in comic books...(I hope).

This story -- "Help!" -- was reprinted in Kull the Destroyer #15 (August, 1974), and it should not be confused with the Beatles song/movie of the same title.

And now, my whole reason for doing this profile: Sa-aa-ay...maybe this was actually a SUPERHERO ORIGIN STORY!!! Maybe when the man slammed the phone down and broke it, he also ruptured the hull of the tiny spaceship, which resulted in a radiation leak from the ship's nuclear reactor core -- the radiation infused the man and endowed him with the proportionate strength and abilities of a telephone, transforming him into...(dramatic pause)...the phenomenally phantasmagoric and phun-loving Phone Ranger!!!

The race of the alien was revealed in the Microverse profile in OHotMU A-Z HC#7.

Profile by John Kaminski

The "Tele-Phony" has no known connections to:

Unnamed Earthman

An ordinary man, he was the hapless recipient of a mysterious phone call from someone he didn't want to speak to...No, not a pesky tele-marketer, an ALIEN! After spending several minutes conversing with the strange voice, he thought it was all just a crank call and forcefully slammed the phone headset down, which broke open the earpiece and freed the tiny spaceship trapped inside his phone.

--Strange Tales I#94/4




images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#94, p23, pan5 (main image)

p23, pan6 (flying away)
p21, pan5 (unnamed Earthman)

Strange Tales I#94/4 (March, 1962) - Steve Ditko (artist), Stan Lee (editor)

Last updated: 09/11/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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