We made 200 prank phone calls in a single summer night.
It was probably the summer of ‘96, and my friends and I (The DDC) were in our obsessively weird prime. It all started with one of Tommy’s old Nintendo games, entitled Jackie Chan Kung-Fu or some crazy thing. We played this game in The Barn occasionally, we mainly just made fun of the cheesy animation. In this game, Jackie Chan’s head is the size of the entire rest of his body, it looked like Karate South Park. It was hilarious. Or at least it was to us.
A few things to keep in mind:
- This is 1996. Mainstream America has never heard of the Asian fighting sensation, Jackie Chan. My friends and I only knew of him through the NES game.
- We didn’t think Jackie Chan was a real person.
- We really liked making prank phone calls, and these, my friends, were the golden years before widespread Caller ID.
As it is with these things, the idea did not come from any one person, and it would be selfish to take credit. Together, we did this:
Because of our obsession with Jackie Chan and prank phone calls, we ended up prank calling the only Chan number listed in out local phone book (378-8919) many, many times. We asked them if they were related to Jackie Chan. They had apparently heard of him, and didn’t seem to like us asking if they knew him. But we kept asking. In funny voices. In offensive voices. Whatever. Whenever. Our Speed-like use of Mountain Dew kept us awake all night, and we would call the Chan Residence at ungodly hours. Soon enough we received a string of obscenities and threats from Mr. Chan, enough to scare us and piss us off. We were too scared to call back, but we wanted revenge.
Enter Jackie Chan.
We called 200 phone numbers we found in the phone book.
And left messages.
”Hi, this is Jackie Chan, you probably don’t remember me, but I really need you to call me back tomorrow between 5 and 6 PM, my phone number is 378-8919. Thanks.”
We called families. We called businesses that have answering machines. We called churches and we called bars. All early morning hours. All answering machines. Then we got bored. We made up a character, Ronnie Silver, “Jackie Chan’s personal assistant.” We made up a company, Chan Enterprises. We flipped to the “Show ‘N Sell” our paper’s picture classifieds. We called every single number in that paper than was selling something, and when we received a groggy and irritated “hellloo...,” we got going:
(The voice we used for Ronnie was a fast talking nervous New York accent, a rip off of Dan Akroyd on SNL.)
US: Hi there, this is Ronnie Silver of Chan Enterprises. Sorry for the early morning call, but I got a lot to do today and I don’t mind getting started early, heh, heh.
THEM: Go fuck yourself.
Well now, that sure would be hard, wouldn’t it? Heh, heh. Hey, I was calling in reference to your ad in the paper, I am interested in buying your *insert boat/car/RV here*. I am prepared to spend a little more than you are asking, if that is what it takes, heh heh.
(Mood changes quickly)... Oh, uh, yeah, sure... definitely, what was your name again?
Ronnie. Ronnie Silver, Chan Enterprises. Look, I am sorry for calling you so early, I didn’t realize you would be asleep. If you would like to call me back about this, you can call Mr. Jackie Chan between 5 and 6 tomorrow....
People will do anything for money. Including calling a phone number
the next day. We even let the phone ring at a car dealership
for a full 15 minutes
before the night security guard
picked up the phone, and asked him to leave an urgent message
on the desk. We called the then-principal
of Sierra Vista Middle School
, Don Rothery
(at 3am, this one took balls). When his wife answered, we said our name was Ronnie Silver
, a very
angry parent of a student. Before she could wake her husband, we told her to just call us back you-know-when, or else we would be going straight
to the school board
It all worked brilliantly. We had no way of knowing how many people called the Chan residence, but it was enough. When we called Mr. Chan at 6:00pm the next day, we could hear the exhaustion in his voice. “No, Jackie Chan does not live here, we’re not related, who asked you to call?.”
The beauty of it was, in our naive minds, there was no way for them to really trace it. Unless they got really crazy and involved the Police, there was nothing they could do. All the callers had been too tired to care who we were when we called, and by the time they called the Chan’s, it was too late to find out. Sweet revenge.