September 19, 2014
Walter J. Podrazik
People Are Funny The radio game show and soon after television game show People Are Funny, was first created by John Guedel. Originally the series was called Pull Over, Neighbor, but as the audience grew away from the show he reworked the title and named it People Are Funny, Aren’t They. Guedel soon was informed that his series was on the verge of cancelling in 1942, so he promoted his idea to NBC as People Are Funny. The name stuck and was on air April 01, 1942. This series was the building blocks for many other game shows in the following years, and continued its air run until 1961
During this time the US was involved in World War 2. The leading forms of news were through the radio and newspaper. American citizens that were listeners grew tired of hearing about war and that’s what triggered the listeners to get way and tune to different programs to escape. The radio series couldn’t have came in on a better time to air.
The radio game show was for entertainment, in front of a live audience. It was for the average American, running from about 20 to 30 min. Participants for the game show came directly from the audience. I can’t tell how old they might be but doesn’t seem to have younger children as participants. The contestants would pull comedy stunts primarily putting the person in an uncomfortable safe situation whether in studio or in public for money. Art Linkletter the host of the show is mostly the one that sets up jokes for people to finish, no dark comedy involved. Before the constentans do the stunts the host says what the theme of the show will primarily be about then continues on to ask the participants simple questions like their name, occupation and adds a funny comment that usually has a funny response. In-between the show there are two commercials mainly of daily use items like cigarettes, laxative products, toothpaste, etc. One section of the show is a continuation of the last episode. What happens is the continuing participant was asked in the last episode if they would like to take the money or try for more in the next show with harder tasks. This is usually how the radio show ends.
The TV game show was named the same as the radio show, People Are Funny. The studio used was in Burbank, California NBC studios. The first television show was in September 1954, starting in black and white color. The opening scene is the title of the show with an animated character pulling from left to right the letters of the title while also playing playful background music. Art Linkletter continues to be the host of show as he was for the radio version. There is more then one camera that focuses on the main stage, sometimes looking into the audience of about 300 to 500 people. The comedy that the radio show contains passes over to the TV show as well, same witty comments that are understandable to all ages. The premise also hasn’t changed as its still entertaining the American audience, by making human nature funny. In these shows we see more family members and multiple members participating in the show, including all ages. None of the people talking on stage seem to be reading from anything, no rehearsal and nothing written out. The ending had the credits for the director, production supervisor, film editor etc.
The radio version of People Are Funny did a fair job in explaining concisely what was happing in the game show. Nothing was left unanswered while hearing the show. It was crisp and clear when the host talked. The host also did a great job of making you feel welcomed, and in the audience. Similarly the TV version was a spot on with what they wanted to be. In an interview with Linkletter he says, ”we were just trying out stuff, we didn’t know what we were doing” by doing this he made no effort to try and make people laugh it would just naturally come about. Both versions of the show were exactly the same. There wasn’t any distinction when it…