rand’s esoteric otr

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Cliche Club - June 14, 1950

July 11th, 2009

This week, we feature a guest post from fellow otr collector Daniel Sears who shares an episode of a rare panel quiz program. Daniel is the Creative Director for GrumpyFILMS, inc in New York.

Many thanks to Daniel for sharing the show and the blog post. - Randy

Here's an episode from a series that I have rarely heard anything about, which is a shame because it's great fun - "The Cliche Club" from June 14, 1950.  Your host is Walter Kiernan, ABC News Analyst and future co-host of NBC Monitor.

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The listening audience sent in funny little stories that represent certain cliches or old hat sayings, and the panel was supposed to guess which saying within two minutes.  If a listener's story was used, they got a Rand-McNally Cosmopolitan World Atlas, and if the panel did not guess the cliche, the listener then got a lovely Wittnauer watch.

This week's panel is made up of regulars Carol Lynn Gilmer, Associate Editor of Reader's Digest, Agnes Rogers, author and poet who was published in many magazines of the era like Harper's, and Ed Hill, who (from the research I've been able to dig up) was also a news analyst of the period.  The special guest on the panel is Bennett Cerf, author, humorist, and co-founder of Random House publishing.

The show is a lot of fun, and it sounds like the people involved genuinely had a great time doing it.  I've not been able to find the series mentioned on RadioGOLDINdex, and the only other episode I've seen anywhere is posted on the random pages of archive.org.  That episode happens to be the one following this, where the special guest is Gypsy Rose Lee.

The show was transferred directly from a pair of ABC Network lacquer discs.


  • Jim B.

    You liked this show a lot better than the radio critic at the Chicago Tribune, who headlined his July 2, 1950 column with “Take it Away! Critics Advice to Cliche Club”

    Here’s a capsule history. The show debuted on Wed. May 10, 1950 (8:30, following ‘Dr. I.Q.’) and replaced ‘The Casebook of Gregory Hood’. Its last broadcast was Sunday, Nov. 19 (7:30 p.m.) and was replaced by another Walter Kiernan quiz called ‘Mystery File’ with panelists Himan Brown and Kay Kyser.

    The show never had a chance. On the East Coast, on Wednesdays it was opposite Gildersleeve (NBC), Boston Blackie (Mutual) and Dr. Christian (CBS). When it moved to Sundays, it was against Phil Harris/Alice Faye (NBC), Juvenile Jury (Mutual) and Amos n Andy (CBS). On the west coast, it was opposite The Whistler on KNX.

    Edwin C. Hill was a commentator at ABC at the time this show aired.

    One other trivia note: the show made its debut the same night as Mr. Chameleon.

    Bennett Cerf may have been quicker on this show than he was on ‘What’s My Line?’

    Jul 14, 2009 at 7:00 am
  • KL from NYC

    I can’t find the other program at archive.org

    Jun 23, 2010 at 2:06 am
  • Clare Kiernan Lafferty

    Walter is my grandfather and a great one at that :)

    Feb 8, 2011 at 9:31 am