As kid watching "Lassie" I was always confused on why Timmy's parents, to use the phone, had to pick it up and ask whomever was on the other end to make the connection. "Can't they just dial the number?!" I would ask. I wonder how much 80s/90s movies and TV will confuse younger generations on stuff like this on being ignorant on the technology and how it worked at the time.
It was even worse than that, there were Party Lines back then, which meant you had to share your phone line with someone. So, if you wanted to make a call, you had to first make sure the phone wasn't in use already. (And you could listen in on other people's conversations)
I Lived out in the desert in the early 1980s and they still had Party Lines out there.
Yeah, my mom grew up for a time in an area using party lines and she told me about it.
Even stuff like that blew my mind that technology was once so "quaint."