TV Guide (August 20, 1955)

Record Details:

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Catherine E. Kreitzer; she quit Gino Prato: he had a kiss for au- when she was $32,000 ahead. dience after passing $8000 mark. win $64,000”) but this isn’t necessary. If, after reading your letter, the producers think you’d make a good contestant, they will get in touch with you. In other words: don’t call them— they’ll call you. Applicants are carefully screened, for a number of reasons: age, sex, oc¬ cupation and locality (to provide a nicely rounded group); personality (“We want to bring into the Ameri¬ can home the kind of people who would be welcome in anyone’s living room”), and appearance—^not neces¬ sarily good looks but “clean, decent- appearing persons.” Then the research starts to make certain the applicants have not mis¬ represented themselves. Cowan’s office checks with their ministers, priests or rabbis, with their banks and their places of work. Finally, a check is made on the applicants’ knowledge and abilities. The show originates in New York. Suppose an applicant from California sounds as though he might be a good contestant. How would Cowan’s office check his qualifications? “If we think such a person sounds good enough, we’ll fly a man out there to interview him,” he said. “Either that or bring him to New York. We’ve flown several people here only to find that we could not use them. We also fly our contest¬ ants to and from their homes for the show each week, once they get past that important level of $8,000 and an¬ swer only one question a week.” It should be noted that Cowan’s care in selecting contestants has paid off handsomely for the program. That Staten Island cop, Redmond O’Han¬ lon, was an all-American choice—a husband, a father, a New York police¬ man and a Shakespearean scholar. And Mrs. Kreitzer impressed so many peo¬ ple that Ed Sullivan immediately hired her to do a series of Bible readings on his Toast of the Town. All of which has added up to a hot summer’s hottest show. If any more proof be needed, there are just two more factors to be considered: First, the vast amount of Page 1 news¬ paper space devoted, week by week, to the program has poured fuel on the fire of suspense. Second, there’s that matter of ratings. Despite the weather, (which broke all sorts of records— and every one in the wrong direc¬ tion), viewers have remained glued to their TV sets. At least, on Tuesday evenings. — Bob Stahl