The Game Show Network is an amazing thing. I wasn't feeling sleepy tonight & I happened upon this old game show, made in the 50's when corporate sponsors and relatively low production costs made a lot of prime time game show-oriented. Some things about this show were neat - I liked the questions, which I'll talk about below - but the show had some quirky qualities.
The host of the show I saw, Herb Shriner, was a down-home Southern comedian, with a slow drawl and not quite finding punch lines in his long attempts at jokes. His comments to the guests - reminiscent of how Groucho Marx interacted with his own guests on "You Bet Your Life" - seemed scripted, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he was constantly forgetting the contestant's names, referring to the cards he nervously curled in his hands.
It was sponsored by Old Gold cigarettes, & every contestant got a free carton just for being there. Imagine! Imagine how freaky it seems to me, way too young to even remember a time when cigarettes were considered safe for TV! The expert "questions guy" - with some degree from an Ivy League school - smoked all through the show.
But the competition was neat. It's called "Two For The Money" because an unrelated pair, a man & a woman, had to answer a series of questions with multiple answers, each taking a turn. For example, one question was, "Name a president who did not have facial hair." They alternated, over the course of fifteen seconds, giving as many answers as they could, & whatever total they got became the base total for the next question. I personally think that's a groovy idea - with the modern day game show revival, it might be a nice middle ground between the dopiness of a "Wheel Of Fortune" & the braininess of a "Jeopardy."
In all, the cornball humor was a little off-putting but the contestants & the game itself were a lot of fun. I see it was on for five years. I hope the Game Show Network shows it regularly. Maybe I'll even get used to the free cartons of cigarettes for every player.
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