What is a Singing Telegram?

An in depth look at Singing Telegrams...

An In depth look at Singing telegrams

What exactly is a singing telegram?

A singing telegrams is where a performer shows up at an event, someone’s home or place of work (really anywhere) to help celebrate a special occasion. It is fun and funny for everyone watching (if it’s done well). This performer can be a singer, a poet or even a dancing chicken. There are hundreds of variations of what the performer can be and it does not have to include a song even though it is called a “singing” telegram.

Can Singing Telegrams be performed virtually?

Singing telegrams can be performed virtually through Zoom and other online platforms. But if you do want to hire a virtual singing telegram, make sure that you work with a company whose talent is has a lot of experience performing virtually, so they can make your surprise virtual celebration be a success. Also it is really important that the virtual telegram is very interactive, fun and really highlights the guest of honor.

Do singing telegrams work for a person who will be alone?

Absolutely. There can be as few as one person or as many people as you like. Virtual telegrams work especially well, if someone is alone because then they can celebrate with their friends, co-workers and loved ones together from around the country and the world.

How much does a Singing Telegram cost?

It really depends on the artist and the service that they provide. For a singing telegram that is local it can cost, on average, anywhere between $150 and $500. (When there is long distance travel involved, the cost can be a lot higher.)

What is the history of Singing Telegrams?

The very first singing telegram was claimed to be delivered on February 10, 1933 by the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company but was made famous by Western Union on July 28, 1933 when their operator named Lucille Lipps sang “Happy Birthday” over the phone to Rudy Vallee.

The telegram was purchased by a Rudy Vallee fan but Western Union thought it was great for publicity and it was more positive than many other telegrams that they were delivering at that time,  This telegram did not go over well, Rudy Vallee called it “a phony stunt by publicity people” and The Western Union executives were not pleased with the the telegram either.  But Western Union continued to deliver Singing Telegrams even though the first one was not well received.

Since then Singing Telegrams have taken off.  And many telegrams no longer have singing in the “singing” telegram.

Do singing telegrams still exist?

Singing telegrams still exist and are gaining once again in popularity.  It is interesting to follow the history of the singing telegram.  So the first one that we have documented was by phone from Western Union as mentioned above, but at the time many people did not have phones so many were delivered in person until after World War II then went back to being delivered on the phone. Then in the 1970s it regained popularity to deliver in-person telegrams.  (Here is an article from the New York Times dated February 10, 1983 about the history of singing telegrams.)

But the interesting thing is that singing telegrams may be coming full circle.  They started on the telephone which was a emerging technology in the 1930s then and now virtual platforms like Zoom Meeting is an emerging technology of today.  So singing telegram companies that embrace this new technology and bring their telegrams to the next level may be able to usher in a new age and form of people celebrating events all over the world together with a virtual “singing” telegram. 

If you are considering doing a virtual telegram, please feel free to reach out to me Improv Poet Amy  at 800-810-8802 because virtual events are my specialty.

Have everyone smiling, laughing & playing along 🙂

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Improv Poet

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