The Red Bike Blog


Noteable Telegrams – 2

We take a look at another 5 of the most noteable telegrams ever sent – documenting world-changing events, revealing humorous exchanges between journalists & celebrities and showcasing one author’s famous correction of his premature obituary.

Dear Jack: Don’t buy one more vote than necessary. I’ll be damned if I pay for a landslide.’

John F. Kennedy (commonly referred to as Jack) joked during his 1960 Presidential campaign that he had just received this telegram from his Father. Of course, with accusations aimed at the Republican that the election was indeed rigged, this may have been more than a little true.

Successful four flights Thursday morning.’

The Wright brothers’ first successful flights were announced thusly, sending a telegram to their Father from the location of the famed flights, in North Carolina.

How old Cary Grant?’

The above telegram was sent by a reporter to the actor Cary Grant, asking after his age. The reason for the terse nature of the message was due to Western Union charging users by the word.

The actor responded:

Old Cary grant fine. How you?

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’

Author, Mark Twain, sent the above telegram from London, upon hearing news that his obituary had been published in his native America. This is the origin of the famous saying.

Need 2-page short story two days.’

Mark Twain, still very much alive, received said telegram from his publisher.

Finding it easier to write long than short, Twain responded with the following witticism:

No can do 2 pages two days. Can do 30 pages 2 days. Need 30 days to do 2 pages.’

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Telegram – alternatives

When the telegram was at the height of its popularity, with thousands of messages being sent internationally on a daily basis, the primary telegram companies wanted to add an extra something to their services.

As the majority of telegrams were used to send negative news, the heads of a number of companies, including Western Union, decided to offer services that were strictly for delivering good news. They also decided that this good news could, and should, be delivered in a silly, theatrical and fun fashion.

Singing Telegrams

The singing telegram was such a popular idea that it is a service still offered by numerous companies around the world. Beginning as a joke service in 1933, the singing telegram remains big business – messages are sung to recipients by people typically dressed in comical costumes.

The first ever singing telegram was delivered over the phone, when Western Union owner, George P. Oslin, asked an operator to deliver the message in an interesting way.


The kissogram (or kissagram) was a telegram message that was delivered – you guessed it – with a kiss. This was usually arranged as a surprise for a person on a special occasion, with the kisser usually employed by the telegram company or hired out from an agency.

The Kissagram was particularly popular throughout the ‘80s.

Wedding Telegrams

Yes, the wedding telegram was once considered a novelty service. They were an alternative to the fact-based content of most telegrams. Now, this seems ludicrous, as telegrams are largely used to celebrate special occasions.

In fact, the wedding industry is one of the largest supporters of the telegram business. The retro messages are used to both invite guests to the ceremony and congratulate couples on their impending matrimony.


Red Bike may not offer singing telegrams, or a kiss upon delivery, but we do offer a retro cool messaging service, perfect for any occasion - Contact us today


Telegrams – fun facts

We take a look at some fun, interesting & unbelievable facts about the telegram.

Interesting, right? Now it’s your turn. Evoke a golden era – Send a Telegram


The most noteable Telegrams ever sent

We take a look at 5 of the most notable telegrams ever sent – humorous, life saving & otherwise.

‘It’s a boy.’

The physicist, Edward Teller, sent this telegram in 1952 to inform Los Alamos based colleagues about the detonation of the first ever hydrogen bomb.

‘SOS SOS CQD CQD Titanic. Wa(sic) are sinking fast. Passengers are being put into boats. Titanic.’

The Titanic’s last wireless message was reportedly sent early on April the 15th, 1912. It is said to have proved invaluable in the rescue operations of the survivors. 


Oscar Wilde sent this, one of the shortest recorded telegrams in the English language, to ask after the sales of his new book. The response from his publisher read simply ‘!’

‘Streets full of water. Please advise.’

This humorous telegram was sent by American journalist, Robert Benchley, upon his arrival in Venice. The message was telegraphed to his editor at the New Yorker.

The response is unknown.

‘Flee at once – all is discovered.’

The writers Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle reportedly sent this, as a lark, to a dozen men, all of whom were prominent in society. The men all packed their bags and left their respective towns immediately.