Sunday, December 13, 2015

Information, Please!

The words typed above won't mean anything to the younger ones among you.  In the 1940s they signaled a weekly radio show our family never missed -- one that invited readers to "Stump the Experts!"  Among those experts was someone named Clifton Fadiman...  pause while I wikipedia to make sure I'm remembering right -- yes! 
"While still at the New Yorker, Fadiman became well-known on radio, where he hosted its most popular quiz show, Information, Please! from May 1938 to June 1948. A regular trio of pundits—Franklin P. Adams, John Kieran and Oscar Levant—...literate...humor..."
If the program used one of your questions, you'd receive an Encyclopedia Brittanica. 
I never made it, but in 1941 I did have one question used by the junior program, Quiz Kids.  My prize was a portable radio.  It was the size of a suitcase --I just found an internet "image" of the exact one!   New batteries cost $4.95 --
pause again while I click for the current equivalent -- more than $65, which would be much easier to find now than $4.95 was then.  I couldn't ever afford a set of replacement batteries.  Years later it was on that radio (using its AC cord) that I heard Japan had surrendered and TheWar was over.
But I digress:
Even if you do recognize that phrase as the name of a radio show, you probably don't know where it came from originally -- it was what you said to the phone operator when you didn't know the number you wanted to call.  All of which has nothing to do with today's question:
     Information, Please!  After my Thanksgiving visitors left, a bunch of these foil-wrapped tablets turned up in the little kitchen drawer next to the dishwasher.  So what are they? Dishwasher soap tablets?  Some kind of second treatment to leave the glasses shining?  Either way, how would one use them?  Where to put them?  Surely foil won't dissolve in the dishwasher?  Information, Please! 
So what was the question I asked the Quiz Kids? 
Where would you get if you went:
                     a.  first to the right and straight until morning? (Peter Pan's NeverNever Land)
                     b.  to the end of the yellow brick road?  (As I remember, this was before the movie)
               c.  I forget what the third part was -- it might have been "down the rabbit hole?" 

8 comments:

  1. We all remember 'Information Please!'

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  2. Love the piece, Edith. Take the tablet out of the foil and place it in the dishwasher's soap compartment. Be careful not to touch the tablet with wet hands and always rinse your hands after you touch it, as the tablet is made of caustic ingredients. I buy tablets with a thin, clear, coating that you can put right in the dishwasher. Better not to risk touching the chemicals.

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