Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

By Clarence George on May 17, 2013
Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News
Are we not men? Let's find out. Here are the questions Dr. Brothers answered correctly.

The pioneering pop psychologist first became known to the American public not through her advice to the lovelorn, but because of her boxing expertise…

“I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you.”—From the song Bad Case of Loving You by Robert Palmer

I’ve learned from Mike Schmidt that Dr. Joyce Brothers, the pioneering pop psychologist who died of respiratory failure at age 85 on May 13, first became known to the American public not through her advice to the lovelorn, but because of her boxing expertise.

Married to a man still in medical school and with a newborn at home, Dr. Brothers thought that a good way to make money would be to appear on the television game show The $64,000 Question. She wanted to answer questions on psychology and home economics, but the producers were interested in the incongruous—the construction worker who was expert in botany, for example—and wondered if the young and diminutive girl doctor would agree to answer questions on the Sweet Science. Dr. Brothers didn’t know Rocky Marciano from Rocky Graziano from Rocky Road Ice Cream, but she was amenable and spent the next several weeks memorizing a 20-volume boxing encyclopedia.

First appearing on the program in late 1955, Dr. Brothers came back week after week, correctly answering question after question, until she finally won the coveted 64 grand (at least half a rock in today’s money). Dr. Brothers parlayed her knowledge of boxing arcana into a like amount by later winning The $64,000 Challenge.

The doctor proved that she hadn’t been involved in the notorious quiz-show scandals of the era by appearing before a grand jury and answering each and every boxing question.

Care to test your mettle against this uppity female? Let’s start with those questions she answered to win $16,000:

What referee holds the record for the greatest number of heavyweight championship fights?
Who reffed the “Long Count” match between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney?
Who was the referee in the Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries bout?

Time! We have some lovely parting gifts for those of you who didn’t know or who answered incorrectly. Don Pardo?

“Needle and thread with which to sow them back on. Or…a blouse and skirt ensemble! But wait, there’s more…the most adorable purse (sighing and pearl clutching) in their choice of bone or tan.”

Are we not men? Let’s find out. Here are the questions Dr. Brothers answered correctly, thus becoming the second person and first woman to win the 64 thousand:

Who were the two men Mickey Walker fought for the Light Heavyweight Championship of the World?
In what year and city did the fights take place?
Who won each bout? How? Over how many rounds?
Whom did Bobo Olson challenge for the Light Heavyweight Championship of the World?
In what year and city did the fight take place?
Who won? How? Over how many rounds?

Tommy Loughran challenged the doctor’s answer to the last question—he was wrong…she was right.

Bone or tan?

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Dr Joyce Brothers On $64,000 Question - Category BOXING - Shows Incredible Mind At Work - RIP

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  1. Clarence George 02:18am, 05/24/2013

    Thank you, Mike Silver!

  2. Mike Silver 10:57pm, 05/23/2013

    C.G., guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. But whatever the case, just keep writing. Your articles are riviting, amusing and cool.

  3. Clarence George 02:30am, 05/23/2013

    Mike Silver:  Cynicism is so often warranted (I myself am as cynical as a fictional 1930s private eye), but I don’t think that’s the case here.  The producers weren’t thrilled at the prospect of paying out an enormous amount of money.  As a general rule, they wanted contestants to go so far…and no farther.  It’s why in the case of Dr. Brothers they asked “tough questions [about referees] aimed at eliminating her.”

    Don’t think I’m beckoned by the siren call of her sexual allure, which was pretty minimal—we’re talking about Joyce Brothers, not Barbara Feldon.  And I was never a fan of her (or anyone’s) pop psychology, which I consider intellectual and moral bankruptcy.  Her opinions were fatuous and her political correctness insufferable.  She was a darling of the cocktail-party set—i.e., a twit.

    But do I think she was the real deal when it came to boxing knowledge (or at least memorization)?  Yes.

  4. Mike Silver 11:53pm, 05/22/2013

    George, was she really called before a Grand Jury or was there just an “in house” investigation by NBC?  I know I am sounding even more cynical but I would like to see proof that she was really called before a Grand Jury to answer actual boxing questions. Were all the contestants called before a Grand Jury? I think that never happened. I mean the whole show was rigged from top to bottom. Why would she be the only exception? Would they take a chance on losing her when all the others were given answers? I think the jury is still out on this one.

  5. Clarence George 03:09am, 05/22/2013

    Michael Abercrombie Silver!

    You’re too young for such cynicism.  Besides, you’re forgetting that Dr. Brothers was called before a grand jury, where she proved her legitimacy by correctly answering any number of questions on the Sweet Science.  Was the investigative body bought off?  If not…the doctor was legit.

  6. Mike Silver 06:44pm, 05/21/2013

    For those who think Dr. Brothers was not in some way coached or given the answers in advance I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you at discount. Why did she escape virtually unscathed while every one else on the show was implicated? I think the fact she had a highly rated show on NBC (same network as “64K Question”) when the scandal broke and she was garnering high ratings protected her. Money talks—always has.

  7. Clarence George 02:22am, 05/21/2013

    I didn’t know that joke, Mike S., so I looked it up…good one.

  8. Mike Schmidt 11:56pm, 05/20/2013

    As always you are very generous C.G. I have spoken to accounting and, AS ALWAYS, the cheque is in the mail. What’s that old joke, two guys go bear hunting, one guy, a ‘Check” gets eaten by a bear…........

  9. Clarence George 06:37pm, 05/20/2013

    Thanks so much, Mike S.

    It was your suggestion, but I don’t think crediting (and, let’s face it, immortalizing) you in the article is enough…I’ve asked the accounting department to send you 20% ($1,500) of my usual $7,500.

  10. mike schmidt 05:20pm, 05/20/2013

    I was up North at the cottage with family including Bronson the Coyote/Shepherd so no internet—great article as always Sir-‘keep ‘em coming.

  11. Clarence George 04:42pm, 05/19/2013

    Thanks again, Michael…I’ll do my best.

  12. Michael Hegan 04:16pm, 05/19/2013

    gotta love that ...‘Yo Maesto’ ..

    Clarence have ‘it’.......Keep ‘em coming buddy

  13. Michael Hegan 03:59pm, 05/19/2013

    ....I couldn’t have got most of those answers… my dreams.

    ...Just making an observation…..about that third or fourth round…challenged by the guy that was there..Tommy himself.

    Unless the ref calls it off….before the bell ..of the third round…....the opponents are both in the fight until the bell rings for the fourth….at which time…one of the principals would retire….or ruled not able to continue by the doctor…......just sayn

  14. Clarence George 06:57pm, 05/18/2013

    Thanks, Michael.

  15. Michael Hegan 06:03pm, 05/18/2013

    This is just the kind of ‘human interest’ article .....with a lot of research and knowledge…...fight fans need ...from time to time…
    Look at the pic…..ROBINSON looks like he is farting….

  16. Clarence George 10:51am, 05/18/2013

    So glad you enjoyed it, Peter.

  17. peter 10:01am, 05/18/2013

    Dr. Joyce Brothers vs Joyce Carol Oates—now that’s a heavyweight fight. Thanks for a very enjoyable article. Yes, the “interconnectedness” was noted.

  18. Clarence George 05:59am, 05/18/2013

    That’s very kind, Bob, and very much appreciated.

  19. Bob 05:51am, 05/18/2013

    Loved this story and video, as well as Mr. George’s appreciation of things long gone. He brings a very unique and memorable voice to the site. All of his stories are very nostalgic and remind me of how big boxing was at one time, and how fond I was of the game. Great stuff.

  20. Clarence George 03:49am, 05/18/2013

    Well done, Nicolas.

  21. nicolas 03:12am, 05/18/2013

    On those questions, I could not answer the years or the cities. But when they said what cities the fights took place of those Mickey Walker challenges, or the years. I got the rounds correct. I also surprised myself by answering the correct number of rounds of Moore and Olson.

  22. Clarence George 09:54am, 05/17/2013

    Eric J.:  It sounds like you did a lot better than me.  I knew the answer to two of the questions.  At least I’ll be getting the purse in tan; the bone just doesn’t do it for me at all.

  23. Clarence George 09:48am, 05/17/2013

    There is indeed truth to King’s statement, Irish.  Boxing is the distillation not only of science (as in sweet), but also of art and poetry.  It’s meat and drink to us, and the very air we breathe.  And it’s about women, of course (despite its being pretty much exclusively all male).  Why do men become boxers?  For the same reason they flexed their biceps in the first grade—to attract maidens fair.  Women—it’s why men do anything…and everything.

  24. Eric Jorgensen 09:47am, 05/17/2013

    How great is that?  Awesome. 

    (Personally, I was off by 1 year on the Rosenbloom-Walker match and I missed most of the cities.)

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:29am, 05/17/2013

    Clarence George-Don King is quoted as saying that ‘boxing is life”....hyperbole for sure….but this article makes me think that he’s on to something.

  26. Clarence George 08:59am, 05/17/2013

    Irish:  I assume that’s a compliment; in any event, I’m taking it as one.

  27. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:10am, 05/17/2013

    Clarence George-When I read your articles one word comes to mind…“interconnectedness”.

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