Fact Bag makes its triumphant return as Ophira and Jonathan ponder questions about Germany, Bob Ross and an early Corn Flakes marketing gimmick. Fact Bag!
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
The final round is coming up, but first, Jonathan and I will play a game. This is called Fact Bag. I have a bag full of envelopes with trivia questions written on them. Jonathan and I have not been told the answers in advance. We will read a question, talk about it, make our best guess and then open the envelope and find out the answer. This is Fact Bag.
EISENBERG: OK, Jonathan.
JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Yes.
EISENBERG: In Germany, what honor does a family's seventh child qualify for? Let's hope it's free therapy.
COULTON: It's Europe, right?
COULTON: So they're a reasonable country, probably.
EISENBERG: Practical, pragmatic...
COULTON: They treat everybody nice. They care about the people who live in the country, probably - the government does...
COULTON: ...I'm guessing. So it's probably something good.
COULTON: So maybe they get, like, a free...
EISENBERG: House - what if they get a free house?
COULTON: A college education?
EISENBERG: I think that's already free.
COULTON: Free health care?
EISENBERG: Already free.
COULTON: Already free - OK. Free beer.
EISENBERG: Free beer.
COULTON: Free pitcher of beer.
EISENBERG: Yeah, maybe, But I think you're right. It's pragmatic. It's probably free house or something like that.
COULTON: What the hell do they not get already that they...
EISENBERG: I mean, I think you still have to pay for a house.
COULTON: Yeah, sure. Free house.
EISENBERG: Free house.
COULTON: I'm going to say free house.
EISENBERG: OK. The answer is, if a family wishes, the German president can become the seventh child's honorary godparent.
COULTON: It's not a thing I would have guessed.
EISENBERG: And also, I feel like every German is like, nope.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) The honor comes with an award of 500 euros. Oh, now I'm thinking different.
COULTON: Oh, wow.
EISENBERG: Yeah. All right. How much was Bob Ross paid per episode to host his long-running PBS show "The Joy Of Painting?" It ran from 1983 to 1994.
COULTON: So my guess is it's going to be something that seems way too low to us for a person who has hosted a show for 10 years because he seems like a nice guy who probably didn't care a lot about money.
EISENBERG: But those perms didn't come for free.
COULTON: No, that's true.
EISENBERG: And it's beloved, and he does seem super happy, and it's PBS.
EISENBERG: And you're right. It's going to be a low amount.
COULTON: It's going to be something like 150 bucks a show or something like that.
EISENBERG: That's right, but I challenge you to this.
COULTON: You're saying he did it for free?
COULTON: As long as I can show pictures of my pet squirrels...
EISENBERG: And paint whatever I want.
COULTON: ...And paint whatever I want - it's probably going to be a landscape.
EISENBERG: You just pay for these perm rods and we've got a deal.
COULTON: Just keep the perms coming. I'll do the show for free.
EISENBERG: Let's see. The answer is he was paid nothing.
EISENBERG: He was paid nothing to host "The Joy Of Painting." Bob Ross revealed this in a 1990 Orlando Sentinel interview, saying, quote, "this is PBS. All these shows are done for free."
COULTON: Well, I feel like a real heel because I make 150 bucks a show at this job.
EISENBERG: OK. In the early 1900s, the cereal company Kellogg's offered a free box of Corn Flakes to any housewife in New York who would do what?
COULTON: Well, it's the 1900s, so it's not anything salacious.
COULTON: In fact, it's probably something offensive.
EISENBERG: But what if it was something, like, just borderline to be - like, take a bath in a thing of Corn Flakes...
EISENBERG: ...And then take some photos.
COULTON: How about some naked photos of you in the bathtub with some Corn Flakes, and we'll give you a free box of Corn Flakes?
COULTON: Why would any housewife say no?
EISENBERG: Let's see what it says. The answer is Kellogg's gave a free box of Corn Flakes to any housewife who winked at her grocer.
COULTON: I did not think it was going to be that bad.
EISENBERG: The promotion was called Wink Day Wednesdays and apparently was risque at the time. When the promotion ended, Kellogg's ran a print ad reading, in large text, stop winking. All right. The Fact Bag is empty. Thank you, Fact Bag.
(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.