Prehistoric pre-cellular mobile phones: Did they ever have direct dialing?

The only place I’ve ever seen them is in TV shows and movies, and you always had to go thru a mobile operator to send or receive a call on those phones. Did they ever have direct dialing?

A fellow I worked with had one back in the middle 70’s. He had to go through the mobile operator. IIRC there were six channels available. This was in St. Louis if it makes a difference.

The phone company had the ability technically to do direct dial for mobile phones.

But there were so few of them in use, it wasn’t worth setting up such a system. Easier & cheaper to just have operators dial these.

Perhaps there was also the concern that the act of dialing would distract a driver, and voice recognition dialing was NOT feasable in those days.

Why would the chauffuer be distracted by the boss in the back seat on the phone?

Certainly everyone (both of them) that I knew with a pre-1975 mobile phone had a chauffuer to drive them around.

My dad had one of them back in the early 1970s. The thing was the size of a briefcase and had a rotary dial phone. I don’t remember him using it very much (I did get in trouble for playing with it one time), but every time he did, he had to dial the operator (and he always said “Mobile operator”). He wasn’t particularly happy with the service as I recall.

See Improved Mobile Telephone Service.

I briefly worked as a mobile operator (MTS) for a radio common-carrier. All calls, incoming and outgoing, were setup by the operator.