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Kay Kyser
by Billy Ingram

Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge

Before there was 'Jeopardy' (1964-present) and 'Name That Tune' (1953-77), there was this wild NBC show (sponsored by Chrysler) that ran from December 1949 - December 1950 that combined similar elements of both.

Popular bandleader Kay Kyser, clad in cap and gown and calling himself 'The Old Perfesser', presided over the madness each week. On hand was a full band along with singers Ish Kabbible (who had several hits as a vocalist for Kyser's band in the Forties) and Mike Douglas (who went on to host his own daytime show two decades later).

In the game, contestants listen to a selection played by Kyser's band and then answer a true/false question incorrectly to win - then Kyser would yell: "That's right, you're wrong!". If the contestants were stumped, the audience (student body) yelled the correct answer in unison. Players would progress from "mid-terms" to the "final exam" to get the big money payoff at the end of the show. The series was very popular, but ended when Kyser quit show business, and sponsor conflicts kept the show from simply being re-cast.

'The Kollege of Musical Knowledge' was eventually revived for a short time in 1954 with host Tennessee Ernie Ford and a compliment of cheerleaders, but the new format failed.

Armchair Detective

A duo of fifteen-minute 'mysteries' are presented by host H. Allen Smith, then two studio contestants (and viewers at home) are asked to guess the answer to the riddle when the action stops, based on clues given throughout the stories. This low-budget series ran on CBS in the summer of 1949.

Check out the idiotic plot twist in this bizarre clip from 'Armchair Detective' - the cardboard characters have been talking casually for five minutes, when suddenly the cop fires into the closet. Good thing he did, there was a guy in there with a gun! Even the secretary has a gun and she finishes the guy off, then gets hysterical that she didn't shoot him when he first came in!

If you believe this scene, working in an office in the Forties must have been quite exciting, with everybody packing heat.

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