Quiz Show Spoof (1942 - 51)
During the height of radio, quiz shows were the staple
of the radio community. From Quiz
Kids to Information,
Please, radio was saturated with 30-minute shows
that pinned contestants versus contestants in a battle
for intellectual supremacy. So, when It Pays to be
Ignorant came along, it provided a breath of fresh
air for the radio society; but the show was unlike any
other quiz show transmitted through the airway.
Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2014 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved-Reproduction is prohibited.
As much a comedy show as a quiz show, It Pays to Be
Ignorant was the buffoon's version of a quiz show.
The three quizinheimers were George Shelton, Lulu McConnell
and Harry McNaughton. The quizmaster was Tom Howard. As
Dunning summaries in his "On
the Air, The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio,"
The three nitwits who made up the "board of experts"
spent most of the time trying to figure out what the questions
were, between rambling monologues, irrelevancies, and
rude interruptions. The questions were as moronic as the
panel." Although Dunning is not amused, the show
was very popular for nearly a decade, and kept the nation
laughing along with the live broadcast audience.
Harry McNaughton For a half-hour each week the show careened along its
way, haphazardly maintaining the semblance of quiz while
really offering a vaudeville celebration of the best ways
to get off a joke or zinger before the next guy.
There was a young writer named Ruth, who was the daughter
of a vaudevillian, Tom Howard. When her radio program
director boyfriend Bob Howell came up with the goofy idea
of a radio panel show like "Information, Please,"
but with experts dumber than the contestants, Ruth ran
with it, thinking that her dear old Dad, might get a part
if Bob ever actually got to do the show. The show was
picked up by Mutual. The "expert panel" parts
finally did go to three drawn from the ranks of vaudeville.
Lulu's McConnell's character was abrasive in demeanor
and raucous in tone. Tom Howard's gravel voice was equally
rank as the quizmaster. Harry McNaughton was an Englishman
who made a vain attempt at propriety, and always failed.
George Shelton had been Tom Howell's partner on the stage,
and still got off a running patter. The three "experts"
were like the Three Stooges doing a quiz show, but less
The show was panned as it got started, but the public
thought it was a hoot. Not the owl kind of course. Actually,
it barely paid to be ignorant on the show, as the questions
were pulled from a dunce cap, fumbled with, and if answered
correctly, the winnings were so little as to be positively
hilarious. But who cared what the answers were? The chaos
of the show might now be considered positively prescient,
as the devolution of formal entertainment, and ad lib
humor are both still very popular today in our new century
of multimedia choices. As for Bob and Ruth Howell, they
got married sometime during a crazy dream come true, and
together they laughed happily ever after.
"Information, Please," the lampoonee, is also
available for your auditory perusal. For more free-form
humor, please see You
Bet Your Life, I'm Sorry,
I'll Read that Again, and The
Goon Show, which can be found at the bottom of
the I'm Sorry page, and even more obscure, two rare episodes
of The Jack Webb Show
is part of the Jack Webb Collection.
For more quiz show fun, see also: The Game Show Collection, Twenty Questions, You Bet Your Life, Quiz Kids, and Information