Friday, July 14, 2017

Furniture history

Ran across a charming bit of pop culture history in Google News today. It's all about furniture and I've Got a Secret.

It turns out that the Daystrom furniture factory in Olean, NY made the chairs that the IGAS panel sat on for several years. A lady named Bertha Pierce who worked in the factory recognized the chairs when she was watching the show. So she wrote to the producers, and they decided to bring her onto the show as a contestant. Her secret, naturally: "I built the chairs that this panel sits on."

Wouldn't you know, Lucille Ball was a guest panelist that night, and her hometown was Jamestown, NY, which happens to be close to Olean. Lucy didn't guess the secret but she did get a laugh out of the word "tangible." Regular panelist Jayne Meadows finally guessed.

The Daystrom plant in Olean closed in 1962 and the company moved to South Boston, VA. The linked story says that "Daystrom pieces can now be prized examples of 'mid-century modern' furniture, offered on Ebay and other home collectibles websites." The story's right about that.

A few other notes. The entire IGAS episode is available on YouTube. You won't ever see it on Buzzr thanks to the Winston ads. And the linked story quotes Garry Moore addressing Bertha Pierce as "Ms. Pierce." As the video shows, he actually called her "Miss Pierce," of course. "Ms." is an obvious, clanking anachronism for the 1956 show. But I guess the site's p.c. manual requires it.


  1. Since you talk about game shows from the B&W era, why not watch and a write a post about Haggis Baggis, a short-lived game show on NBC? One episode is up on YouTube.

    1. It's already got a write-up...

    2. By the way, another write-up on Haggis Baggis...