I was curious about this contest, The Walking Man, which was a feature of Ralph Edwards’ Truth or Consequences radio show in 1948. The contest was mentioned in this ED SULLIVAN New York Daily News column from May 30th 1948. Prizes included living room furnishings, a 15-foot freezer filled with food, kitchen appliances, a boat, and much more. Interestingly, participants were required to include a donation to the heart fund with each entry in order to qualify as a contestant.
I contacted Bruce Caplan, a frequent contributor to QZVX, and he provided a couple audio clips and more info about the radio contest.
The Walking Man Contest was mentioned in an episode of Life of Riley, starring William Bendix. Of course, Riley can’t get to the phone in time when Ralph Edwards calls him…
The rhyme given as the clue to the identity of The Walking Man was “Bing – Bong – Bell, It’s Ten And Only One Can Tell. Master of the Metropolis, fits his name quite well.” Metropolis being Rochester, Tenth letter of the alphabet J, ten cards and then a Jack. Bing Bong Bell – Might have been the chimes of NBC. Not easy by any means. There were three phone calls made during each episode of Truth or Consequences, leading up to the March 6, 1948 program.
Here is the actual phone call to the real winner, Florence Hubbard.