Archived Story

You be Answer Man

Published 9:45pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From 1937 to 1956 the Mutual Broadcasting Company presented a radio program titled the “Answer Man.” It was broadcast on Sunday evenings and the “Answer Man” was Albert Mitchell. Questions submitted by listeners were answered on the air by Mitchell.
The program’s offices were located across the street from the New York Public Library, which helps to explain how the 40-person staff was able to deal with a constant flow of a million questions a year. No Wikipedia was available so they  kept a  library of several thousands of volumes, and they created a card index of 20,000 authorities who could be consulted when all research avenues failed. The show was carefully scripted, yet it created the illusion that Mitchell was answering spontaneously.
Questions and answers covered every conceivable topic, from stain removal to legal advice. Typical questions were: “How tall was Jesus?” “What makes bubble gum bubble?” “Is it true that only the male cricket chirps?”
According to an article printed in the 1940s, there were two questions that the “Answer Man” was unable to answer: “How many buffalo would it take to fill Grand Canyon?” and “Do birds dream?”
Everyone is making predictions for the new year and even though I have looked at the past 50 years and reviewed the headlines from last year, I am not willing to take a chance on what will happen this year. But I can ask questions that may get you thinking about the history makers of today.
Here is my list of questions for 2012.
1. Who will be the Republican candidate for President?
2. Will Jim Robinson and John Brielmaier run for office again?
3. Will there be a new credit union building and will it open this year?
4. What will happen to the mud hole? (A term I use for the swamp land that was changed into a mud hole on the corner of U.S. 12 and M-62).
5. Will there be another Polar Plunge in Pleasant Lake?
6. Will there be enough ice for a Polar Plunge?
7. Will the Edwardsburg football team repeat their winning record of last year?
8. Will there be enough participants for a Miss Edwardsburg contest?
9. Will Harding’s Market continue to stay open for business?
10. Will there be only 355 days in this year? (See the Mayan Calendar).
11. Will Notre Dame have a winning season again?
12. Will the price of gasoline continue to climb to over $4 a gallon?
13. Will the Uptown Improvement Association be able to make changes in the village?
14.  Will any new businesses move into town?
15. Will there be a new pizza parlor?
16. Will the snowmobile club be able to hold its races?
17. Will there be enough food in the food pantry to go around?
18.  Will Barnswallow Theater present a new season in its  new theater?
19. Will the U.S. 12 paving project get done by October?
20. What will be the best Argus headline in  2012?
If you can find the answers to these questions, you can make the predictions for 2012. You be the Answer Man.

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