Fans of NPRis Wait Wait...Donit Tell Me! radio game show were treated to an appearance this weekend by John Hodgman, the "PC" of Appleis "Get a Mac" television commercials. Mr. Hodgman was on the show promoting his new book, More Information Than You Require, but the bulk of his 11 minute segment on the show was centered around his role in Appleis ads, including a quiz on the history of Microsoft.
Wait Wait...Donit Tell Me! is a news quiz show with a comedic angle on NPR where a panel, guest stars, and call-in guests are quizzes on various aspects of recent news, much of it political in nature. During Mr. Hodgmanis segment, he was asked to play a game the show called, "So youire a PC, huh? Weill see about that."
"So you play a PC in the commercial," host Peter Sagal joked by way of introduction, "but weive been watching them a while, and we are beginning to suspect that youire not really a PC at all. In fact, we think you are are instead a cruel parody of the machine as created by its enemies."
John Hodgman in an Apple
"Get a Mac" commercia.
Mr. Hodgman was then asked three obscure questions about Microsoftis history going back tot he mid-70s. If he got two of them correct, a listener (Ron Blackmoor of Madison New York) would get voiceover icon Carl Kassellis voice on his home answering machine (one of the principal audience-lures the show uses).
The first multiple choice question was about Microsoftis first advertising effort in 1976. Mr. Hodgman guesses wrongly on this one, but the correct answer is that the company ran an ad in Digital Design that was a four panel comic strip called "The Legend of the Micro Kid." Listen to the broadcast for details on this campaign.
He was then asked which of three choices was a Microsoft mascot, and guessed correctly that Big Redmond had a character called "The Blibbet." His other choices were The Exploding Head and The All-Seeing Eye.
The third question centered around Appleis pricing of the original Apple I computer, US$666.66, a fact that Mr. Hodgman knew. When asked how he knew, Mr. Hodgman deadpanned, "I donit wish to brag, but I am very intelligent," a quip that got a big audience laugh.
In any event, Mr. Blackmoor will soon have Carl Kassellis voice on his home machine thanks to Mr. Hodgmanis geeky knowledge about Microsoftis beginnings, and Apple got most of an 11 minute segment on a nationally-syndicated radio show dedicated to Apple, the Mac, Apple advertising, and other Apple-related things.
You can also listen to Wait Wai...Donit Tell Me! on iTunes as a free podcast (thanks Geoduck!).