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Great Beginnings: The Answer Man February 26, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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From 1937 to 1956, in 15-minute intervals, Albert Mitchell was The Answer Man with a seemingly endless capacity for answering questions.

Created by Mitchell and Bruce Chapman, listeners would send in questions hoping for an answer. One million questions a year came in asking: How tall was Jesus?; What makes bubble gum bubble?; and Is it true that only the male cricket chirps? The Chapman staff would patrol the bookshelves of the New York Public Library looking for answers.

The shows would start as follows:

. . .

ANNOUNCER: Trommer’s White Label – the premium beer that is two ways light – presents Albert Mitchell’s program, The Answer Man. And here he is – The Answer Man.

 ALBERT MITCHELL: Good evening ladies and gentleman. Now if you’ll read the first question.

ANNOUNCER: Certainly . . . A West Orange, New Jersey man asks – Does the British Who’s Who still list Hitler’s telephone number?

ALBERT MITCHELL: Oh yes . . .

. . .

Mitchell would proceed to amaze his listeners by answering every question. He knew Hitler’s telphone number, Jesus’ height, and whether or not only the male cricket chirps or any of the other questions. He was reported to only have been stumped twice: How many buffalo would it take to fill the Grand Canyon? and Do birds dream?

Allow us to add a third – How could such fun ever be taken off the air?

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