Social History: AT&T cable linking the USA to Cuba during the 1950s…

This is a wonderful retro AT&T film on the telephone cable linking the mainland USA and Cuba during the 1950s…

USA Social History: The Cuban American Telephone & Telegraph Co. first linked the mainland U.S. (Key West) with Cuba in 1921. That first cable was extremely primitive, just two wires protected by insulation and armor.

(Left: Laying telephone cable by AT&T ship, 1950s…)

Over the next 20 years, a total of six cables were deployed to handle US-Cuba telephone traffic.

The last two of which are chronicled in this film, from 1950.

The cable used in the AT&T film was comparatively state-of-the-art — it used the newly-deployed polyethylene as both insulation and waterproofing. Diplomatic relations with the U.S. decayed at the end of the 1950s…

The S.S. Homeric sailing into Havana, Cuba. 1950s.

(Sears in Havana – 1950s…)

AT&T still provided Cuba’s link with the world for decades following, using not only the cables (which by the late 1980s were all damaged or severed) but also by a microwave, over-the-horizon troposcatter system located in Florida that provided not only telephone calls but also television signals.

With the growth of the information age, it was necessary to provide Cuba with more modern technologies.

But the very complicated politics of the situation meant that the country, gained piecemeal improvements, including satellite connections via Intersputnik, throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2011, the first high-speed broadband cable was installed between Cuba and Venezuela. Until then, Cuba was the last country in the Western Hemisphere without a fiber-optic link to the world.

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ…

Visit the AT&T history center by clicking here…


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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