Every once in a while you come across something on the Internets that’s so good you just have to share it, no matter how old it is. This clip of a game show from 1956 hit YouTube in 2009, but chances are you haven’t seen it. If that’s true, stop what you’re doing and appreciate a piece of living history.
CBS’ I’ve Got a Secret featured a panel of four celebrities playing a modified game of 20 Questions, with each star trying to figure out the contestant’s amusing, embarrassing or amazing secret.
This particular episode, airing some time in February 1956, featured a man named Samuel J. Seymour, who at the time was the last living eyewitness to President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Watch this:
Unbelievable, really. Now, a few points for deeper discussion:
1. How quickly did those panelists figure that one out? Sure he’s an old dude, so maybe the brain heads right for the Civil War, and once you’re there it’s a straightaway to Lincoln. But, man, that was fast.
2. Anyone else need a smoke after that? It’s amazing to think that brands like Winston could not only sponsor mass appeal shows but also feature in-show promotion of cigarettes.
3. Seymour is 96 years old, and his prize is…pipe tobacco? My how far we’ve come. Could you imagine that on television these days? Mr. Seymour, thank you for coming on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, here’s some pipe tobacco! Well, if the dude made it to 96, having survived everything including a fall in the hotel before the show, surely he can handle more tobacco.
4. No “Prince Albert in a can” jokes? Did that practical joke begin before or after 1956? Anyone?
Post-script: Seymour died about two months later, exactly 91 years to the day of Lincoln’s assassination.