history of the radio quiz shows. Before television, the radio quiz
shows were “reality” entertainment. Cheap and easy
to produce, quiz
shows offered escapist programs, offering cash prizes (from "10 Silver
Dollars" to "64 dollars!") to their contestants.
Radio quiz shows were so popular that a popular film of the day parodied the genre. Champagne for Caesar starred Ronald Colman and Vincent Price, who proves to be adroit at plucking big laughs from the broad theatrical material. Brilliant intellectual Beauregard Bottomley (Ronald Colman) lives with his sister Gwenn (Barbara Britton) in a Hollywood bungalow, trying to find a job equal to his brainpower. Sent to the soap company of insufferably egotistical Burnbridge Waters (Vincent Price), Beauregard flunks the interview but gets a terrific idea - to become a can't-lose contestant on Waters' idiotic TV quiz show. A walking encyclopedia, Bottomley comes back week after week, developing into a celebrity hero. His unstoppable wins threaten Waters' company with bankruptcy. The show was later featured on a Lux Radio Theater.
Our offering this week includes excerpts from "Dr. IQ," "20 Questions," "The answer Man," and "Information Please."