Film: 5107

Entertainment + Leisure | 1950 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

American television quiz show 1950's - telerecording

Weighing scales with YES and NO sign on each scale. Diagram of a bear trap. Voice-over in up- beat fashion as is the accompanying music. A paradox is set. A hunter sets a trap. When a bear is caught in the trap a second hunter comes along. To whom does the bear belong? It is time to play the new, fun game, "Decide for Yourself". While the introduction suggests a more documentary programme feel with the end of this sequence and the introduction of Dennis James, it is clear we have one of the early quiz shows which originated on U.S.A. television. The conundrum set at the top of the programme sets the tone for the programme, where a panel of experts will give their opinion on legal battles based on actual court cases. Along with the audience the panel hears the cases for the first time. After the panel reaches a decision relating to how the case has decided a legal adjudicator will present the actual decision. Panel consists of Virginia Graham a well known television personality of the time, Darren McGavin actor, Julie Wilson singer, and humourist Harvey Stone. Each celebrity 'represents' a member of the public whose name is selected at random from a goldfish bowl. Each person receives a transistor radio and the celebrity who amasses the biggest score in terms of correct answers will win a colour television set on behalf of the member of the public they are playing for. Dennis James introduces the first case of a man who bought his girlfriend a six carat diamond ring. After three years of engagement the girl broke it off. She insisted on keeping the ring claiming it was a gift. The man sued her and asked her to return the ring. Should the girl be allowed to keep the engagement ring? Darren suggests the ring should be returned, Virginia begs to differ. A panel discussion ensues with a mixture of humour and seriousness. The topic revolves around marriage and the obligations of each partner prior to getting legally wed. We see the weighing scales used at the top of the programme. Each member of the panel is asked whether or not the girl should return the ring. As each panel member indicated she should, a small wooden sculpture in the shape of a cat is placed on the YES scale which tips the balance. The ruling in court was that the girl had to return the ring because she had been given the ring on a condition she was unwilling to fulfil, namely a marriage (10 seconds break for advertisements, NOT included in film). Second case is of a wealthy woman who made a financial provision for her five household companions, her cats. She put $13,000 in trust for the five cats. According to her Will the cats were to receive the benefits while they were still alive. The residue would eventually revert back to the estate and in turn the heirs. Inheritance tax had to be paid by the cats. Should the cats pay tax? General discussion ensues. Panel votes. Cats are taxed. Next case involves a man whose luggage was stolen by a porter at a railway station. The man sued the railway company who insisted they should not be held responsible because it was a service made available to passengers. This is the mystery guest case mentioned at the top of the programme. The audience at home hear the voice-over, the panel do not. Shot of Mickey Spillane the celebrity guest superimposed on screen. Heated discussion ensues. The general consensus is that the railway is not liable. Mickey Spillane is revealed. Darren McGavin and Spillane talk briefly about his role in Mike Hammer, the American television series. Final legal conundrum involves a man who tore up his winning ticket at a horse race track. Should he be able to sue the race track owner because he tore up the winning ticket and was unable to find the pieces. General discussion. Panel votes. Quiz ends with a tie between the two male guests.


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