In 1935, Our Sunday Visitor newspaper launched a 25-week-long competition testing readers’ familiarity with the Catholic faith. The grand prize of the “Know Your Religion” contest was $1,500. The second prize may have been even cooler — $500 and a 1936 Studebaker Dictator. In all, the contest awarded 100 cash prizes totaling $3,000. Not a bad incentive considering the country was in the middle of the Great Depression. Factoring for inflation, the value of the cash prizes would be more than $50,000 today.
Each week for the 25 weeks, two illustrations related to the Faith ran in the newspaper. The object was for readers to pick the best title for each illustration, choosing from a list. The person with the most correct titles to the 50 illustrations was the winner. Each weekly entry had to be accompanied by 10 cents, which would be used to send subscriptions of Our Sunday Visitor to non-Catholics.
According to an article in the Aug. 18, 1935, issue of Our Sunday Visitor, “This contest has set a ‘new high’ in the annals of American class journalism. It has grown steadily until at the present time there is a horde of rabidly enthusiastic contestants in all the states.”
What type of contest would draw "a horde of rabidly enthusiastic contestants" today?
See the contest entry form from the Sept. 29, 1935, issue below.