The first rule of phoning-a-friend—in the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire context—is you really need to give your brain trust a heads up about when the show is taping. When your alleged friend is the leader of a country, you might want to submit that heads up a bit earlier than usual.
German politician Wolfgang Bosbach learned this the hard way. Bosbach, a member of parliament, was a contestant on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and had managed to win 125,000 euros using his own brainpower, but when facing the 500,000 euro stumper, he decided he need to phone in some intellectual support. Bosbach chose to dial up German Chancellor Angela Merkel to see if she could help.
The question: why was the East German WM66 washing machine legendary? The answer, by the way, is because people also used the washing machine to stew fruit in, according to the BBC. Bosbach hoped Merkel, who is a member of the same political party and grew up in that part of the country, might lend a helping hand, but all he got on air was the leader of Germany’s voicemail. Twice.
At the end of the show, Bosbach got a text message from Merkel, who was clearly screening her calls, saying: "Ok whatever it was, warm greetings from am."
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