Sunday, January 23, 2011

One of the best: People Are Funny

When I made my Top 75 list the other day, I forgot one program: People Are Funny.

This is a very fun show, hosted by Art Linkletter.  The show went on to television and was a big hit there as well.

This was an audience participation show, where people were chosen from the audience and often asked embarrassing questions - especially embarrassing because before Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter there were no intentional embarrassing questions asked on the air.  But Linkletter and People Are Funny are just as responsible for "opening up" the airwaves and changing what we heard and saw as anyone else.

Art Linkletter
More often than not though, it wasn't the embarrassing questions that were so funny as the stunts people were asked to preform.  There's one available show where the People Are Funny staff sent a chef (not the contestant) to a home, offering a free dinner for them and guests they could invite.  They accepted and began to make a mess of the house - he told them he was just the prep chef - the real chef was coming at 7:00 pm.  The "real" chef was a gentleman picked out of the audience who didn't know how to cook and was sent to the home 45 minutes late and then instead of cooking, he was to invite them to partake of pills that were supposed to taste like real food!  If the family would partake of the pills, he was instructed to bring them back to the studio, where the family and he would win fabulous prizes.

The show was filled with dizzying stunts such as the one described above.  Sometimes the stunts were harder - find someone to lug your packages around in the rain or go door to door and give away frogs.

This was experiemental radio to be sure - and many times, it worked beautifully.

There were some strange moments as well, such as the one in the audio below:

Although each of the men in the clip above were heroes - today such a stunt would probably dissolve into Linkletter and CBS being lynched in the press for such a "ridiculing" stunt.

Times have changed - but the time capsule reamins open for us to hear People Are Funny - a show I would rank about #20 in my previous list.

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