is one of the more fascinating and certainly one of the most obscure
on Bill's resume. When we first started this site, we didn't even know
it existed. Then we started learning bits and pieces, mostly
brief mentions of it in major 1953 publications:
TV Guide (November 26): "Three years ago, though he had tenanted University of Pittsburgh classrooms only briefly, he rented a cap and gown and put a half-hour quiz show, Professor Yes 'n' No, on film. It was sold to a number of local stations."
Turns out the program
speaking, a game show. It's a play at home contest in which Bill
asks fifteen 'yes' or 'no' questions directly to the camera and home
mail answers to their local stations for a chance to win prizes.
Bill only asks thirteen questions. Question eight is asked by the
local station during a commercial break at the midpoint of the fifteen
minute program. Question fifteen is left for the viewer to create
himself, and the originality and creativity of a viewer's own yes/no
is used to break ties.
The questions are mostly academic in nature, and they start out fairly easy ("There are 360 degrees in a circle. Yes or no?") but get progressively more difficult. Each question is separated by a title card and an unnamed announcer keeping track of the question numbers. Most questions are augmented with some sort of visual aid, usually Bill drawing something on the blackboard. The program ends with Bill giving the answers to the questions asked on the last show.
According to a March, 1953 Variety article, Professor Yes 'n' No was among the first programs distributed by Screen Gems when they entered the syndication business. Interestingly, that article also mentions that the series was originally seen locally on the Dumont affiliate in Philadelphia and that twenty-six episodes had been produced "so far". We have confirmed three markets in which the series aired: KGO-TV, the ABC station in San Francisco; KGNC-TV (now KAMR-TV), the NBC affiliate in Amarillo, Texas; and KOPO-TV (now KOLD-TV), the CBS affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. The series was airing into May of 1954.
Two episodes are known to survive, the one at UCLA and our own 16mm film, which is labeled as being episode eleven of the "first series". Pretty sure there was just the one series of 26 episodes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Professor Yes 'n' No page at Adam Nedeff's Bill Cullen's World