Archive for August 29th, 2017

by Sam Juliano

Host:  “Odds & Ends” for $2,00. Debuting in 1972, it is the longest running game show in history.”

Contestant #1:  (Buzzer sounds).  “What is Jeopardy?”

Host:  “I’m sorry, that is an incorrect answer.”

Contestant #3:  (Buzzer sounds).  “What is The Price is Right?”

Host:  “Right you are!  The Price is Right has been running unabreviated for 45 years now.

Contestant Number 1 may have flubbed the most expensive question in the “Odds & Ends” category, but it is the answer most television fans would have given, all facts and perceptions considered.  Entertainment business magnate Merv Griffin conceived Jeopardy!, which first aired on March 30, 1964.  The show ran on NBC for eleven years before a cancellation in 1975 that had nothing at all to do with floudering ratings, but just a network desire to shuffle and bring some new shows aboard.  That now legendary first incarnation of America’s favorite game show was hosted by the silver-voiced natural Art Fleming, who was introduced by the booming backstage announcer and erstwhile Saturday Night Live luminary Don Pardo – And here he is – the star of Jeopardy – Aaaart Fleming!! – who also handled any technical considerations that may have arision during the show’s half hour running time.  The show attracted viewers of all ages and professions, was equally popular with both sexes and with those on either end of the sociological tracks, running the gamut from those with grade school educations to those with advanced college degrees.  What it usually required was a competitive spirit and a hankering for boasting rites.  Those wanting to engage could either request an audition to be on the show (most of us know at least one person who succeeded on that front) or buy there own Jeopardy! board game to be used with friends or family members.  Or just tune in to the show.  In the long if truncated run of this irresistible game show, several time slots were employed.  In the late 60’s and early 70’s NBC ran it at noontime, but once it permanently went into sydication in 1984, it was seen in most markets at 7:00 P.M.  In 1978 when it came back in primetime for a single year it was seen later in the afternoon.

The thing with Jeopardy! is that it was probably the only show in every conceivable genre one could watch just as attentively as a tardy observer as one who is tuned in from the opening seconds.  That’s because the show by its very construction is challenging the viewer by the minute.  Such is the nature of a question and answer program, where everyone can play along without any necessary cumulative rewards.  The show’s famous deceit is of course that contestants are given the “answers” and are asked to provide the “questions.”  While this method is basically a matter of semantics, contestants who don’t use the proper interogative statement are declared incorrect, even if they give the right answer.  However, because the moderator gives the players a second chance to state their answer by the rules, the only time this bizarre occurance has actually cost players dearly is during Final Jeopardy, when they write their answer with a black marker on a slate.  At that point there would be no possible way to grant a reprieve, what with answers being exposed to the audience. (more…)

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