Friday, April 1, 2011

Love baseball? Try Information Please

Do you enjoy very hard trivia?  I'll be honest with you, I don't. 

Information Please is very hard trivia with an amazing twist -- it's fabulously entertaining!

It is so because of the care-freeness of the game and the participants involved.  It all starts with Clifton Fadiman, who is sharp as a tack intellectually and his humor is sly and first rate. 

For instance, if you enjoy baseball (and it must be said that I love baseball!) you can find out many little tidbits on most every show.  I thought of this show because today the baseball season starts in the Major Leagues.

John Kieren is the resident sports expert on the show and knows a pitcher named Doc Pruitt "owned" Babe Ruth, striking him out a ridiculous 11 of 13 times he faced him.  He also shared the fat that Pruitt was left-handed and became a full-time dentist after his playing days. 

Kieren will also let you know that Casey Stengel got his first name because he was born in Kansas City (K.C.)

But it's not just baseball that gets the trivia treatment.  Science, politics, religion, geography, music, literature and even original limericks make the rounds.

The show is ripe with ingenious puns.  For instance, Fadiman asked the panel to name footwear in lines of literature.  Franklin P. Adams, who was a fixture on the show since the beginning, quipped, "These are the times that try men's souls."

Believe it or not, for a stuffy quiz show, the participants and the quizmaster yuk it up quite a bit - and this is the charm of the show.  Very few of us know the specifics of Shakepeare backwards and forwards or who made the final out in the 1922 World Series.  While you get a myriad of impossible-to-answer questions, you also get to hear four very scholarly men (and an occasional lady) sing barbershop quartet style;  the fact is that they can't sing -- which makes it even more fun.

Another fun feature of the show is that often the fourth part of the panel will be a Hollywood actor or actress.  Orson Welles and Boris Karloff are among the participants who find themselves looking rather brilliant but others did not fare so well or only answered questions about films, plays, popular tunes  or vaudeville.

Oscar Levant is one of the funniest ad-libbers out there and a genius when it comes to music.  It's hard to describe Levant, he must be heard to be appreciated.

This is the second time I have written to beckon you to Information Please.  I do this once again to let you know that you are missing a lot of fun.

©Jimbo 2010/2011


  1. You talked me into it. Sometime this week I will download some of the shows and start entering them into my cue.

  2. I'm very happy you have finally succumbed to my wanton brow-beating on this program. I don't think you will regret it.

    I can understand why someone would bypass Lum and Abner or even Milton Berle but I can not understand how you can bypass Vic and Sade. In my Top 75, I think Vic and Sade has slipped into #1, my friend.


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