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Dolly wrote in to try to get on What’s My Line. Maggie encouraged her to also write in for I’ve Got a Secret. Their secret would be for the Weddings special as Leroy Sr and Dolly were married at the Athens Fire Station. A fire bomb went off during the ceremony. All the bridemaids were men. The wedding music was played over the firestation’s stereo system.
Two weeks after sending in her application, Rosco (or Oscar) Peterson called from New York to ask them to appear on the June 5, 1957 show: special program on weddings. The network people wanted to meet both Leroy Sr and Dolly, and see how they would react to their questions. Leroy Sr was very negative and didn’t want to go to New York. But all the boys at the firehall knew about it. The Mayor of Athens insisted that Leroy go.
Eddie Cantor was the celebrity guest; name of show “Who wants to marry Henry Morgan?” The show's host made the segment before theirs run too long, so that they had to be grouped with two other couples. The first contestants were college students.
They weren’t questioned much by the panel to save time. No one could guess their secret, and they won the full prize money of $20 per judging panelist who failed to guest ($80 total). Letter stating their winnings.
Thanks to Fremantlemedia & Point 360, Michelle was able to track down how to order the episode on a DVD from the Archives of I've Got a Secret episodes. On August 21, 2011, Leroy Jr and Rita were finally able to watch the episode with a handful of grandchildren. Check out the clip here.
Transcript of Nell's story for the Athens Banner Herald in June of 1957:
On June 4, 1957, the afternoon edition of the Athens Banner Herald carried the following story.
“Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Moorehead leave for New York to appear on a national television show. Because of their unusual wedding in an Athens fire station back in 1938, Mr. and Mrs. Moorehead have been invited to appear on this week’s “I’ve Got a Secret” show.
This invitation came as the result of my writing to Goodson & Todman, producers of the show, asking to appear on the “What’s My Line” show. Goodson & Todman produce both shows, so I learned in an article in TV guide. The article urged persons with unusual occupations to write about such occupations. You see, at that time, I was selling lizards and daily had to explain to customers I did not mind sacking up a dozen lizards for them. It seemed strange to everyone that a female would be in such an occupation. Course that was before any rumblings of “women’s liberation.” Now, nobody questions anything a woman wants to do. I really didn’t mean to be doing a man’s job, and I was anything but liberated. I was doing what my husband told me to do.
After the bit about the unusual occupation which really was intended as free advertising, if by some chance I made it, I added a post script, and I do mean P.S., on the bottom of the letter stating that they might find the circumstances about my wedding interesting for “I’ve Got a Secret.” I went on to tell them about the bridesmaids (all 23 of them) dressed in blue uniforms with brass buttons. The false alarm during the middle of the ceremony. The wedding march by means of radio, the only available instrument in the fire station. Station WGAU cooperated beautifully by interrupting their regularly scheduled program to take off on “Here Comes the Bride.”
Two weeks passed and I had heard nothing from my letter. I was having morning coffee with a neighbor when my phone rang. This interrupted our conversation about the letter, as we were speculating I would never hear from it. On the other end of the line, a strange voice identified himself as Roger Perterson, of the Program Production Staff of I’ve Got a Secret. My neighbor yelled, “You’ve got to be kidding!” as she heard my replies to his questions about whether or not my husband and I could come to New York on Monday. This was like Friday morning.
Well, it took almost an act of Congress, or at least a decree from the Mayor, to get my husband to leave his business at the Bait Shop, during the busiest time of year. I made all kinds of promises about we’d fly up and right back. But to an X GI, who had just a few years prior promised himself he would never set foot in another airplane if he could, these promises didn’t carry much weight. But the Mayor got wind of the episode and he directed an order to Mr. Moorehead, “Athens needs that kind of publicity. The time will be on the city (not your vacation) and I will see that the fireman of your choice looks after your business.” Well, he was trapped and we took to the skies for New York.
The timing of the trip was directed by the producers. They did not want us in New York prior to the show for more than an hour or so. We got in about 3:30p.m., checked into the hotel, and had to appear at the theatre at 7:30p.m.. Showtime was 9 p.m. There was a sort of rehearsal with a substitute panel, but it was not much of a rehearsal. I couldn’t believe the whole thing would go off, but it did. Changes were made almost momentarily, but somehow the pieces seem to fit together.
This was an experience I’ll never forget. For a real TV fan, it was sure fun being on the “other side of the tracks” for a few minutes. And Oh, You want to know, Did they guess our secret? Of course not. What seemed like the thing to do to us, was such a far fetched idea to those NY city clickers, they didn’t believe us after we told them. Gary Moore pinned me with a lovely white orchid, presented Leroy with a carton of Winston’s, and we winged our way back to good old Athens with the $80 prize money in our pockets. Aside.. we got a handful of autographs, a few clippings, and a most pleasant memory.