When Anson R. “Randy” Merriman left military school
to join the circus, he began a long career in entertainment
that led to local and national success in radio and television.
After a stint as circus ringmaster, he became a star on
the Twin Cities vaudeville stage before joining KSTP Minneapolis/Saint
Paul as host of “Tavern Trouper,” a radio show
in which soldiers in the South Pacific could talk to relatives
in Minnesota. Soon he was headed for the Pacific himself,
working with Bob Hope as a USO entertainer during World
War II. He returned to KSTP after the war and co-hosted
the pioneer quiz show “Fun For Your Money” with
Jimmy Valentine on KSTP TV. In 1951 he ushered in the network
TV quiz show era, starring on “The Big Payoff”
with former Miss America Bess Myerson, televised nationally
on NBC and later CBS. He returned to Minnesota in 1958 and
joined WCCO Minneapolis/Saint Paul, hosting radio and television
shows including “Honest to Goodness” with Dick
Chapman and “Fan in the Stands” before Minnesota
Twins baseball games. Always an entertainer, he was active
in the Zuhrah Shrine Merrymakers and performed magic
shows for children in his retirement years.
On October 27, 2005, Randy Merriman died at his home in Florida at the age of 93.