Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Information, Please

Routine-- something I've taken to doing every morning instead of bolting out of bed and into a dress and shoes five minutes before critical departure time (like the beginning of a Little Lulu cartoon)--

1)Make coffee
2)Stagger around in housecoat trying to locate keys, wallet, ID badge.
3)Drink coffee
4)Prepare omelette (God, I miss Special K, or any and all carbs for that mattter)
5)Drink more coffee, eat omelet
6)Try to beat (or at least keep up with) the panel on Information Please.

Information Please
is a radio quiz program that from from '38 to '48. Ran across it accidentally while trying to find out more about early, unbearded Orson Welles (more later).

Panelists on the show range from "egghead" to "confirmed egghead", yet manage to slip in RAZOR sharp barbs and quips in between answering (more than usually with accuracy) trivia questions. There are three regulars and a guest or two, and the format of the show runs like this:

Listeners send in impossibly to possibly hard questions...

---->"Make a poker full house [two pairs and three of a kind] with nursery rhyme characters..." e.g. Jack Be Nimble and Little Jack Horner would make a pair.
---->"Name five book titles that contain a article of women's clothing or accessories in them" e.g. The Green Hat by Michael Arlen, Lady Windemere's Fan by Wilde

...as well as asking for direct quotations/identifications...

----> The host reads the last line of a poem, the panelists tell the first line and the author
----> The in house pianist plays a portion of a famous (and usually obscure) piece of music, the panelists name the composer and the title (including key)

Welles popped up on an episode in 1942 when he was all of 26 years old. OW gave the most answers, insisting upon correcting any gray areas in both the questions being submitted and the answering of them. INSISTING. That, plus a happy, cackling, little giggle of a laugh only served to endear the great man even more to this small heart of mine.

The best regular on the show---> Oscar Levant (above), a contemporary and close friend of George Gershwin, who's just as sharp as a kitchen knife and droll, droll, droll. An accomplished pianist in real life, he was more famous for his film and radio appearances than his compositions (a crankier, New England version of Hoagy Carmichael). His wisecracks and spot-on responses are a major part of what builds the show's sense of high competition and high laughs.

Below are some hot spots for checking out Information Please, which, I'll tell you, as said before, go great with morning ham and egg omelettes:

Internet Archive entry for Information Please

Information Please on OTR.Network

OTRCat.com's entry on Information Please (scroll past the order blank for a history of the show)

1 comment:

  1. This sounds AMAZING. I wish I wasn't going to the countryside this weekend - I would much prefer to make myself an Dorothy Dandridge Emotional Omelet and listen to one of these!!!



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