Monday, September 9, 2013

Game Time: Answers Please (1966)

The success of the GE College Bowl led, inevitably, to some copycats, but geared to high schoolers.

Perhaps the most famous was It's Academic, which boasted game show icon Art James as host for much of its run. Closer to home, WRGB, now the CBS affiliate, had two such quiz games.

Little Red Schoolhouse began on radio on WRGB's then-sister station, WGY-AM (the two are now owned by separate entities), and transitioned to television in 1963, ending in 1970. I admit I've never seen Schoolhouse, or at least I have no memory of doing so. Hey, I was born the same year that Schoolhouse made its TV debut!

Answers Please began as a summer replacement series for Schoolhouse in 1966, as an outlet for staffers at WRGB & WGY to test their mettle against other adult teams. After Schoolhouse ended in 1970, Answers Please became the premier high school quiz show in the region, but went through a succession of hosts during its 23 year run, ending in 1989, including news anchors Ed Dague & Jim Brennan, weatherman Tim Welch, and, in this 1985 episode, John Wagner, who was on the faculty at Guilderland High School. When Guilderland qualified for an appearance on the show, Wagner recused himself, understandably, and Welch returned to the podium as a fill-in. Brennan took over the following season, and remained at the helm for the series' final years.

Answers Please aired on various days of the week, but spent the bulk of its run on Sunday mornings until the mid-80's, when it shifted to Saturdays, blacking out CBS programming.

Now, let's get to the action with this 1985 match between Cooperstown & Coxsackie-Athens. Uploaded by Andrew Gatt:

These days, local stations can't be bothered to produce programming in-house like this anymore. It would save them some money if they did.

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

If anything, the reason local stations don't do much in house programming is because of money. It would cost too much to do certain projects like this that can bring in the revenue from advertisers. My station does have in house programming (aside from the standard news programs) but it's for an entertainment news program, which specializes not only in national entertainment headlines, but local entertainment scene as well - and hostes by the same anchors who work our local newscasts.

Syndicated programming is easier and cheaper in the long run. Not to mention infomercials!

hobbyfan said...

There have been attempts at local programming in recent years up my way. Local DJs have tried hosting video countdown shows off and on, but the ratings just aren't there, and the stations, both radio & TV, don't do enough promoting.

Now, back to the topic at hand. Did you ever see a high school quiz show, similar to It's Academic or Answers Please, in your youth?

magicdog said...

I may have, but I can't think of any specific ones until the 80s. I think of the current incarnation of Jeopardy and perhaps "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"

hobbyfan said...

Nothing local? Hmmmmm.