Clifton Fadiman, shown in this 1938 promotional photo, hosted the popular radio quiz show “Information, Please” from 1938-1952.
Clifton P. “Kip” Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, radio and television personality.
Fadiman was already well known from radio where, from May 1938 until June 1948, he hosted its most popular quiz show, Information Please!. Information Please! was briefly revived for CBS-TV in 1952 as a 13-week summer replacement for the musical variety program The Fred Waring Show. With the advent of TV, Fadiman gained in popularity, quickly establishing himself as an all-purpose, highly knowledgeable guest and host. At ease in front of the TV camera and experienced from his years in radio, he frequently appeared on talk shows and hosted a number of upscale quiz programs.
Fadiman was a prime example of the “witty intellectual” type popular on television in the 1950s. John Charles Daly, Bennett Cerf, George S. Kaufman, Alexander King and a number of other television celebrities personified, along with Fadiman, the highly educated, elegant, patrician raconteurs and pundits regarded by TV executives of that era as appealing to the upper-class owners of expensive early TV sets.
His longest-lasting TV program was This Is Show Business, which ran on CBS from July 15, 1949 to March 9, 1954. Called This Is Broadway during the first four months of its run, the show mixed song, dance and other musical entertainment, with information. Host Fadiman, celebrity guest panelists, and regular raconteurs/intellectuals Kaufman, Abe Burrows and Sam Levenson commented on the musical performers and chatted with them. In late September 1951, This Is Show Business became the first regular CBS series to be televised live from coast to coast. The continuing need in 1950s TV for summer series to replace live variety shows, likewise brought this show back in 1956 for a 12-week period (June 26-September 11).
Clifton Fadiman was also the last master of ceremonies to host the ABC-TV game show The Name’s the Same. The series, broadcast live, featured namesakes of celebrities and other “famous names.” On August 16, 1955, when a woman contestant was discovered to be “Hope Diamond,” Fadiman personally orchestrated an astounding surprise: he arranged for the real 45 carats (9.0 g) Hope Diamond to be displayed to the amazed panelists and the national television audience. Such was Clifton Fadiman’s reputation that the priceless jewel was entrusted to him.