Silver Springs, Alabama, is a small town that most people have never heard of. But from 9pm on a Sunday evening in August 1979, the whole world knows its name. For years afterwards people would remember the terrible events that took place there, and for some, the nightmares would haunt them until the day they died.
The brick and steel confines of a television studio formed the setting for that evening’s cataclysm of horror: a place built to exclude the world, yet devised to transmit its dramas into the homes of everyone with a television. A perfect prison, and a perfect showcase.
Chosen by genius for its melodrama, this innocent structure was transformed by madness into a spectacle of intimate and studding terror, exposed to a nation frozen into impotence – unable to reach for the off-switch and unable to stop the course of the horror.
And who could have foreseen it? It was only planned as a marathon charity phone-in (“If you want to help these wonderful kids, the number to call is…”). But in the event, the agony of Manny Prole, the comic who hoped to make a comeback, of Gloria, the alcoholic former movie queen, of Morgan Stevens, the lovely local girl singer who had made it to the top, was to be enacted in every home in the land.
The Number to Call Is… unfolds a story of suspense and pathos, horror and unexpected heroism. But what will linger in the mind is that the insanity of that night at Silver Springs could have happened almost anywhere, at any time…
“Tough and terrible”
“A thought-provoking thriller”
“Frighteningly well done”
“A horrifying tale almost guaranteed to give nightmares”