THE STORY OF "TWENTY QUESTIONS": A NOVELIZED MEMOIR by Robert Van Deventer

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Twenty Questions was one of the first weekly panel quiz shows on the radio. It was a "panel of experts" show, based on the old animal, vegetable, mineral parlor game. Listeners sent in subjects - famous things and people - for the panel to identify. Churchill's cigar, Huck Finn, and the Empire State Building are examples of easier subjects. The panel would narrow down the possibilities by asking the emcee yes or no questions, no more than twenty of them. "Is it east of the Mississippi?" "Was he a fictional character?" The panel consisted of a guest celebrity, three willing adults, and a juvenile who was sometimes willing and sometimes maybe not.

This book was written from the viewpoint of Bobby McGuire, the original juvenile panel member of the Twenty Questions program. The problem was that he was an adolescent and much of the time didn't know what he wanted. What's extraordinary about the book is the intermix of show business euphoria and high school angst that the teenager must face. The young man wants to "come of age" in the world of high school, but the world of show business doesn't want him to. This conflict, along with his version of the usual problems teenagers face, results in several hilarious and sometimes wrenching adventures "in both worlds" many of which are themselves extraordinary. And they all really happened.

Listen to an interview with the author

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