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Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, Nov. 24, 1959

November 24, 2009 |  2:00 pm


Nov. 24, 1959, Mirror Cover

Face It; Aren't You Just a Mite Rigged?

Paul CoatesSit down.

    No.  Better yet, lie down.  Or is it lay down?

    Anyway, get prone.  Tuck a pillow under your head if it'll help relieve that nervous tension which undoubtedly has been building up within you all day.

    All set?  Nice and comfy?  You've got my column in front of you, extended at arm's length?

    Good.  Now I can tell you.

    Today, I'm going to discuss the TV quiz scandals.

    You undoubtedly thought that they were passe by now.  That, of course, is part of your trouble.  Too flighty.

    Along comes payola and your attention is diverted.

    All you're interested in now is if your favorite disc jockey was getting a few bucks under the turntable for trying to make a roll and rock hit out of that old ditty, "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life."

    I could write a story.  I could tell you that Madame Curie was rigged, and you wouldn't care.  If Van Doren can be rigged, why couldn't Madame Curie?  That's what you'd answer me.
And now we're getting close to my point. 

Nov. 24, 1959, Otash     My point is that you've pushed this whole messy affair back deep, deep into your subconscious before you've had a chance to carefully analyze (which is, I grant you, a split infinitive) its implications.

    In other words, what I'm probing into is: "The TV quiz show scandals and YOU!"

    Do you know exactly where you stand now that we've all been told by the TV quiz show moguls that the riggings were a natural byproduct of the decadent, deceptive day in which we live?

    If you don't, be thankful you're here.

    I have with me a test which will show to what degree you have decayed morally.

    Please --not for my sake, but for your own -- answer the questions truthfully.  If you don't you'll just rot a little more.

    1- When you do crossword puzzles while driving home on the Hollywood Freeway in the evening, do you turn to Page 8, Part III, for the answer to "Tibetan oxen," and then write it in, giving yourself full credit?

    2- On departing from a cocktail party, do you tell the hostess that you had a wonderful time, even though you know, down deep, that the Martinis were watered?

    3- If you give a seven-year-old newsboy a dollar for a newspaper and he gives you $1.10 in change, do you pocket the profit, pat him on the head, and walk away with a feeling of accomplishment?

    4- Do you save last year's Christmas gift boxes with Bullock's labels on them to package gifts which you bought at the 5-and-10 this year?

So, You Got Defects

    Now, tally up your answers.

    If you have one "yes" answer, you're morally defective.  But only a little bit.  Don't let it worry you.  Cut the test out. Try it again six months from now.

    If you have more than one "yes" answer, you're a moral thief.

    You know it.  I know it.

    And that's what I like about you.  You're not afraid to own up to it.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, get off the couch.  My head hurts and I want to lie down myself.