OLD TIME RADIO - 1 CD-ROM - 9 mp3
Total Playtime: 4:18:06
In the 1940s the game became a popular radio panel quiz show, Twenty Questions, first broadcast at 8pm, Saturday, February 2, 1946, on the Mutual Broadcasting System from New York's Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street. Radio listeners sent in subjects for the panelists to guess in 20 questions; Winston Churchill's cigar was the subject most frequently submitted. On the early shows, listeners who stumped the panel won a lifetime subscription to Pageant. From 1946 to 1951, the program was sponsored by Ronson Lighters. In 1952-53, Wildroot Cream-Oil was the sponsor.
The show was the creation of Fred Van Deventer, who was born December 5, 1903 in Tipton, Indiana, and died December 2, 1971. Van Deventer was a WOR Radio newscaster with New York's highest-rated news show, Van Deventer and the News. Van Deventer was on the program's panel with his wife, Florence Van Deventer, who used her maiden name, appearing on the show as Florence Rinard. Their 14-year-old son, Robert Van Deventer (known on the show as Bobby McGuire) and the program's producer, Herb Polesie, completed the regular panel with daughter Nancy Van Deventer joining the group on occasions. Celebrity guests sometimes contribute to identifying the subject at hand.
The Van Deventer family had played the game for years at their home, long before they brought the game to radio, and they were so expert at it that they could often nail the answer after only six or seven questions. On one memorable show, Maguire succeeded in giving the correct answer (Brooklyn) without asking a single question. The studio audience was shown the answer in advance and Maguire based his answer on the audience's reaction; during the 1940s, New York radio studio audiences included many Brooklynites, and they cheered wildly whenever Brooklyn was mentioned in any context.
The moderator was sportscaster Bill Slater who opened each session by giving the clue as animal, vegetable, or mineral. He then answered each query from panel members. This cast remained largely intact throughout the decade-long run of the show. Slater was succeeded at the beginning of 1953 by Jay Jackson, who remained through the final broadcast, and there were two changes in the panel's juvenile chair. When McGuire graduated from high school, his decision to attend the North Carolina-based Duke University meant he could no longer remain on the program, so he asked his high school friend Johnny McPhee to replace him. Since McPhee was attending nearby Princeton University, he was thus geographically available for the production in New York. McPhee continued until he graduated and was himself succeeded by Dick Harrison (real name John Beebe) in September 1953. Harrison continued until early 1954, when he was replaced by Bobby McGuire, then 22 years old. McGuire appeared as the "oldest living teenager" until the end of the run.
As a television series, Twenty Questions debuted as a local show in New York on WOR-TV Channel 9 on November 2, 1949. Beginning on November 26, the series went nationwide on NBC until December 24, after which it remained dormant until March 17, 1950 when it was picked up by ABC until June 29, 1951.
Its longest and most well-known run, however, is the one on the DuMont Television Network from July 6, 1951 to May 30, 1954. During this time, original host Bill Slater was replaced by Jay Jackson. After this run ended, ABC picked up the series once again from July 6, 1954 to May 3, 1955. The last radio show had been broadcast on March 27, 1954.
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Twenty Questions - 460330 9 First Topic - The Mouse That Ran Up The Clock
Twenty Questions - 460406 10 First Topic - Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven
Twenty Questions - 460601 18 Lucille Ball
Twenty Questions - 470524 69 Lulu McConnell, guest - First Topic - It's The Worm That The Early Bird Gets
Twenty Questions - 480918 138 William Gaxton, guest - First Topic - Wet Hen that One Gets As Mad As
Twenty Questions - 490115 155 Lawrence Tibbett
Twenty Questions - 500211 211 Dr Roswell G Ham - First Topic - Jimmy Valentine
Twenty Questions - 501125 252 First Topic - The Political Symbols of the Elephant and the Donkey
Twenty Questions - 511222 308 Santa Claus, guest - First Topic - Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer