rand’s esoteric otr

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It Pays to Be Ignorant - Pgm 88

October 8th, 2009

Broadcast from 1942 to 1951 on Mutual, then CBS, and finally, NBC, "It Pays to Be Ignorant" was a parody of quiz shows that featured panelists of experts - it's a natural followup to our posts in recent weeks of the "Quiz Kids" and "Twenty Questions".  In this case, our "experts" are a group of regulars always ready for a quick one-liner or really bad pun.

transcription label

In this post, program 88 in the series as broadcast on AFRS, originally heard on CBS on December 21, 1945.  The first question during opening is "Why does the subway have to raise the fare?" and the first question during the main body of the show is "What is the color of the Little Red Schoolhouse?".  The show features host Tom Howard, George Shelton, Lulu McConnell, Harry McNaughton, and announcer Ken Roberts.  I think this particular episode might not be in common circulation among collectors.

Frank, a listener to the blog who has had a long  career in radio, remembered seeing "It Pays to Be Ignorant" and other shows live when he worked in the mailroom at Mutual.  Now that was an employee perk!

The show was transferred from original AFRS vinyl transcription.  Date is from the transcription matrix.


  • Razzilla

    If there was ever a request for more of a series…it will HAVE to be this one…

    Thanks for the fill…

    Oct 9, 2009 at 6:02 am
  • mackdaddyg

    Oh, man….you ROCK!!!!! I love this show, and it saddens me that there are so relatively few in circulation! This is going to be a treat!!!

    Personally, I think this show is underrated. Granted, it’s lowbrow to a point, but a lot of the jokes are just plain funny!! If you think about it, even though they probably use a lot of old vaudeville material and recycle jokes from time to time, that’s a lot of yucks to come up with for 30 minutes every week.

    Anyway, gotta go listen now. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

    Oct 9, 2009 at 9:16 am
  • DontAskSam

    Thank you so much for this program. While I love ‘Information Please’ and have listened to the entire series 3 times, I find ‘It Pays To Be Ignorant’ to be the perfect counterfoil. I also like the fact that service men and women were honored for their contributions to the war effort. Even though the jokes and routines may be corny, the interaction between the performers is priceless. I hope that there are more to follow. I have followed your web site for almost a year now, and always find something interesting every time I visit.

    I have about 55 shows from this series, and if anyone would like to share, i will send a list of what I have. Please let me know!

    Oct 11, 2009 at 9:44 am
  • Jody

    I have a poem, Mr. Howard. There once was a man named Riddle Whose contributions to OTR weren’t little His blog is a must It leaves all in the dust And his latest post made me piddle

    Randy… I can’t say any more than what’s been said, but I will. I don’t know why, I have no logical reason… but IPTBI tickles me like no other show. It’s true theater of the absurd. Stupid, sure. Lowbrow, totally. Corny, absolutely. And funny. Funny. Some were definitely more hysterical than others (this one was a tad lacking). But I’d rather listen to the worst episode of IPTBI than most other OTR comedies and/or game shows. Thank you ever so much for what you do on this site… and if you find more episodes of this program, grab ‘em with two hands!!

    Oct 13, 2009 at 10:30 pm
  • Dr. OTR

    Rand’s Esoteric OTR? I used to woik in that town!! I can’t do anything but echo the previous sentiments. This show is a guilty pleasure with me, and I see that I’m not alone! Please post any other episodes you did up! The service this podcast does for the OTR community is HUGE. (Now we’re back to Miss McConnell again!)

    Oct 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm
  • DontAskSam


    here is a link to a show i have not yet seen around. the sponsor is Desoto/Plymouth. Phil Silvers does not appear on the program. the first question is “Why Is A Man Like A Worm?”. this appears to match number 85786 in the Goldin Index, but the sponsor is different, and the first question in the show is “In what town was Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address” not “Who painted Rembrandt’s self-portrait”. the time is 29:47 which differs from the time of 29:11 in the index. the date in the index is given as 10-23-1948. this may be correct as the music is arranged by Tom Howard’s son and there is a brief mention of Groucho Marx during the program, evidently referring to ‘You Bet Your Life’ which was sponsored by Desoto. CBS is mentioned at the very end of the program. if anyone has more or better information, please let me know. a very good show, IMHO.

    Nov 9, 2009 at 11:13 am
  • DontAskSam

    some shows you all may not have heard!


    hope you enjoy!

    Nov 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm
  • Kliph

    Would love to get in contact with “Frank” for an interview. Lemmee know if you can help me connect.

    Dec 25, 2011 at 1:38 am