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View Diary: Midday open thread: rayguns coming, death penalty support falls, 'War of the Worlds' caused no panic (52 comments)

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  •  Edgar Bergen (0+ / 0-)

    The way I heard the story was: Mercury Theater aired opposite the enormously popular ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his even more popular dummy/sidekick, Charlie McCarthy. So when Edgar and Charlie went to commercial, rather than hear Chase & Sanborn flog their coffee, a bunch of people went channel surfing and found Mercury Theater . . . right at the point where the "lid" of the Martian canister pops off and the Martians start frying people. Having no context for what was happening, people got excited, at least until they realized that if there was anything of this magnitude going on the other broadcast networks would have picked up on it, and everything calmed down again.

    The problem I have with this story is, back in those days commercials were often worked into the story of the week, or at least played out by the principals of the show. For instance, Fibber McGee and Molly's announcer Harlow Wilcox would work his way into the action twice a night in a mini-skit that ended up as a pitch for Johnson's Wax, the show's sponsor. Now I don't know for certain whether Edgar and Charlie did the Chase & Sanborn commercials, but if they did I suspect there would be minimal tuning away from the possibility of Charlie McCarthy getting off a good line.

    Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

    by Omir the Storyteller on Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 01:16:32 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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