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It Pays To Be Ignorant

It Pays To Be Ignorant

It Pays To Be Ignorant was a radio show that premiered on June 25, 1942, first as a spoof of the quiz show, Doctor I.Q. and then as a parody to Quiz Kids and Information, Please. The questions were doled out by host and quizmaster Tom Howard to the satirical panel of three “experts” who answered them with humor and wit.

Moronic questions such as From what kind of mines do we get gold ore? were answered in extremely hilarious and stupid monologues that were sometimes irreverent and rude. Bob Howell, who was working with Ruth Howard, daughter of vaudevillian, Tom Howard, first conceived It Pays To Be Ignorant. Ruth commandeered Howell’s outline and worked it into a script that lampooned other popular quiz shows.

The first task was to find a group that would be comfortable with the sometimes deadpan answers and that could quickly think of witty puns. They chose George Shelton, who had worked with Howard in vaudeville. Harry McNaughton found his fame as Bottle, the butler on Phil Baker’s radio show was also chosen to be one of panelists on It Pays To Be Ignorant. During the first few airings, the third panelist was Ann Thomas, but she was soon replaced by Lulu McConnell, whose gritty voice and coarse personality filled the show with nonsensical wisecracks and tomfoolery that delighted the audience.

By the time It Pays To Be Ignorant aired, radio audiences were tiring of the intellectual quiz shows. It Pays To Be Ignorant was different than other quiz shows and enjoyed the barbs that flew between contestants as much as the dumb answers they provided.

Eventually, Ruth Howard married Bob Howell and they collaborated on the scripts for It Pays To Be Ignorant until Bob passed away in 1944. Ruth continued writing the scripts after his death, but host, Tom Howard edited them to make sure the jokes flowed smoothly.

For a while, the concept of It Pays To Be Ignorant was a skit on The Kate Smith Hour. Critics didn’t give the show a chance to survive, but It Pays To Be Ignorant hoodwinked everyone by lasting for more than nine years, sponsored by Philip Morris, DeSoto and Chrysler, upholding its popularity the entire time.

It Pays To Be Ignorant was seen on television from June to September of 1949 on CBS, and on NBC from July to September of 1951, with the original cast of the radio show. In 1973, the show was syndicated by Hatos-Hall Productions and shown as a weekly series with Joe Flynn as the host and Jo Anne Worley, Billy Baxter and Charles Nelson Reilly as panelists. Later, in the mid-1950s, Jackie Gleason spoofed It Pays To Be Ignorant on his television show.

Broadcast: 4th October 1943
Added: Jun 22 2009
Broadcast: 7th February 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Dec 04 2001
Broadcast: 12th May 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Jul 31 2001
Broadcast: 14th July 1944
Added: Jun 23 2009
Broadcast: 18th August 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Aug 14 2001
Broadcast: 8th September 1944
Added: Jun 26 2009
Broadcast: 15th September 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Aug 28 2001
Broadcast: September 22, 1944
Added: Jun 27 2009
Broadcast: 29th September 1944
Added: Jun 28 2009
Broadcast: 6th October 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Sep 11 2001
Broadcast: 13th October 1944
Added: Jun 29 2009
Broadcast: 20th October 1944
Added: Jun 30 2009
Broadcast: 27th October 1944
Added: Jul 06 2009
Broadcast: 3rd November 1944
Added: Jul 13 2009
Broadcast: 10th November 1944
Added: Jul 20 2009
Broadcast: 17th November 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Sep 25 2001
Broadcast: 24th November 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Oct 09 2001
Broadcast: 8th December 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Oct 23 2001
Broadcast: 15th December 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Nov 06 2001
Broadcast: 29th December 1944
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Nov 20 2001
Broadcast: 20th July 1945
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Dec 18 2001
Broadcast: 5th October 1945
Added: Jul 27 2009
Broadcast: 21st October 1945
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Jan 01 2002
Broadcast: 25th November 1945
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Jan 15 2002
Broadcast: 7th December 1945
Added: Aug 03 2009
Broadcast: 28th June 1946
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Jan 29 2002
Broadcast: 30th August 1946
Added: Aug 10 2009
Broadcast: 5th February 1948
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Feb 26 2002
Broadcast: 23rd January 1949
Added: Aug 17 2009
Broadcast: 13th January 1952
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Feb 12 2002
Broadcast: 6th November 1952
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Mar 26 2010
Broadcast: Not known
Starring: Tom Howard
Added: Mar 27 2010
Broadcast: Not known
Added: Mar 29 2010
Broadcast: Not known
Added: Apr 02 2010
Broadcast: Not known
Added: Apr 03 2010