To Sort of Tell the Truth
As readers of these pages know, I enjoy videos of the old TV game show, What's My Line? -- most notably the Mystery Guest segment. There were two other game shows of that era that were all somewhat similar and very popular. The closest -- in fact, sort of a copy -- was I've Got a Secret, which is fair, though poor in comparison. (Too often the "secret" is so minor as to be insignificant, and sometimes not even real, just made up by the producers because it would seem interest.) The third was To Tell the Truth, a show I don't particularly like at all.
On the surface, it's actually very good in concept, and I can even understand it's popularity -- of the three shows, it's the one that's most easy for the home audience to play along. But as a TV show, I find it has an inherent built-in problem. And that's that two-thirds of the show is a lie. You have a real guest answering the questions honestly about himself -- but the two imposters are just winging it. In fairness, some imposters have boned up on the real person and do the best they can to fool the panelists by giving correct answers. But they're still lying about who they are, and you don't know what the truth is or isn't, and most of the time they don't have a clue what the true answer is. Furthermore, the panelists can ask questions to whoever they want, so it's possible that the real guest -- is may be a remarkable person -- only gets two or three questions and far less than the fakes who are making it up as they go. So, while it may be "fun" to play along and guess...you're still like listening to lies. And it's frustrating because the real guest might have a fascinating life you actually want to hear about -- but you don't have any idea if you are learning about anything in the slightest.
There's also something the show does that drives me up a wall. Once the real guest is revealed -- someone who was thought fascinating enough to be a guest -- the show's host doesn't ask him or her any follow-up questions at all. Instead, they skip over this interesting person and go to the two imposters! "Tell us a little something about yourselves Mystery Guest Number One," he'll say. To which I'll yell at the screen..."WHY???!!! He's an imposter. He's just some guy who agreed to lie for 10 minutes. An advertising executive or something. Meanwhile, you've got an Actual Interesting Person sitting next to him who your ignoring! Stop talking to the fake, ask the real guest a question!!!! Pleeeeeeease!" Alas, they never listen to me.
All of which makes this video all the more frustrating -- except that I'll tell you who the real person is so that you can watch and listen to his real answers and enjoy the good fellow. If you don't want to know, though, don't worry, I won't post it until after the video, so you can simply avoid reading below it. And I'll put it a buffer, as well, so that you eye won't catch it. But I think you'll want to know. Because who "he" is...is Ted Geisel.
Hmm, who??, some of you might be puzzling -- though I'm sure others of you know. Ted Geisel is the real name of a writer who you know better as...Dr. Seuss!!!
That's what makes this video so frustrating under normal circumstances -- you have Dr. Freaking Seuss there, and you don't (normally) know which person he is. I can help with that, but alas I can't help with the other terrible part, which is one the real Dr. Seuss stands up...that's it, they don't ask him ANY MORE QUESTIONS!! Instead, they...well, you know the drill -- they talk to the imposters. While Dr. Freaking Seuss is sitting right next to them. Oh, sigh...
So, here's the video. If you want to know ahead of time which one is the real Dr. Seuss -- so you can enjoy his answers -- I'll post it a little ways below the video. But for now...hey, it's April Fools Day, as good a reason as any to post this on a day for tricking others...
Okay, this is where I'll let you know which one of the three contestants is the real Ted Geisel. I'll get to it in a moment, but you can always just jump to the last line now, of course.
I'll skip a few lines here, so no one's eye will (hopefully) spot the answer by accident.
Not to worry, I'll get to it in a moment, but want to put in a bit more buffering.
Okay, here's the reveal. If you want to know which of the contestants is actually Dr. Seuss -- who the real Ted Geisel -is - he's the fellow in the middle. There, so you can now enjoy it.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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