To Tell the Truth Harold and Olga Connolly
Click on the image to watch this episode of To Tell the Truth.
They were two of the most famous people in Czechoslovakia in 1958 – one American and one Czech. But in America, while those in Athletics were well aware of Harold and Olga Connolly, the mass market was not. That likely changed when they appeared on the very popular American game show, “To Tell the Truth”, on June 10, 1958.

The objective of “To Tell the Truth” is to have four celebrity panelists identify the “real” person out of three, by asking questions. In this case, Olga appeared at the opening program alongside two others who claimed to be Olga. They all spoke with an Eastern European accent and they all had the letters CS on the sweat shirt they were wearing. The program started with an “affidavit” from the actual person. Here is how Olga of Prague, and Harold of Boston were introduced by the host of To Tell the Truth, Bud Collyer.

I, Olga Fikotov√° Connolly, am a Czechoslovakian athlete. A week before the start of the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, I met an American athlete, Harold Connolly. Our friendship continued throughout the course of the Games. Both of us set new Olympic records in our events. I won the gold in the women’s discus throw for Czechoslovakia, and Harold won first place in the hammer throw for the United States. Three months after the Games, Harold Connolly came to Prague and asked me to marry him. The authorities hesitated to grant permission until I made a personal appeal to the president of Czechoslovakia. We were married in Prague on March 27, 1957. 20,0000 people came to the wedding. We are now living in this country. Harold is teaching school and I am continuing my studies. Both of us are still actively engaged in active competitions. Signed Olga Fikotov√° Connolly.

The panelists consisted of known celebrities of the time: actress Betty White, actor Jackie Cooper, singer/actress Kitty Carlisle, and entertainment reporter, Hy Gardner. In the first segment of the show with Olga, some of the questions were probing and some were silly and entertaining.

To Tell the Truth Panel for Connolly's
Betty White, Jackie Cooper, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Garland
Kitty Carlisle asked #1 (the real Olga): What is the biggest shoe manufacturer in Czechoslovakia? Olga replied, truthfully I presume, “Batta” (although her pronunciation was more like “Battia”). Carlisle also asked a question that Olga had trouble with, and to be honest so did I because she used an American idiom I was unaware of.

Carlisle: When you want to be a clinging vine and you want to tell your husband, um, something like “the vacuum cleaner is too heavy to pick up”, or “I can’t lift the bag,” what does he say? “If you can’t lift it, throw it?”

Connolly: “What does the vine have to be? I didn’t understand what I have to be.”

Carlisle: “When you say this is too heavy to lift,” will your husband help you with it?

You can see she’s nervous at first because she doesn’t understand the idiom, but she doesn’t shy away and quickly recovers with a sly smile and reply.

Connolly: “Oh yes, I say ‘Oh’, and my husband picks it up.”

After the panelist question round ended, Jackie Cooper and Kitty Carlisle correctly selected participant #1, the real Olga Connolly. And in a twist, after Olga Connolly and her

don schollander_Life Magazine_30Oct1964

Don Schollander was Mark Spitz before Mark Spitz, winning four swimming gold medals and setting three world records at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. At that time, the 18-year old blonde from Lake Oswego, Oregon was one of the most popular people in Japan. As a staff writer for the Greensboro Daily New put it, “The Japanese have gone wild over him. His mother and father have given to a Japanese orphanage some 80 boxes of gifts Don received from his Japanese fans.”

And yet, when he participated on a popular game show in America called “To Tell the Truth”, several months after the 1964 Games, two of three judges failed to identify the golden boy.

The one person who wasn’t selected by the judges was contestant #1, John Farrow, the sister of actress Mia Farrow.