Man, you spend six weeks writing about radio and look what happens…
I’ll take the deaths in the order they were announced:
- · Ian Turpie died in March at age 68. An icon of game shows in Australia, he is most famous for that country’s 1980s version of The Price Is Right, and also hosted versions of Press Your Luck and Supermarket Sweep. His death came soon after the announcement that a new Australian version of The Price Is Right will premiere on Network Seven at some point in 2012, with 1990s host Larry Emdur returning to his old role. Let’s hope Ian is given a proper tribute.
- · TV news legend Mike Wallace died a few weeks ago at age 93. He did host a few game shows in the early days of television – The Big Surprise is the one that comes to mind, and he also hosted a non-broadcast pilot called Nothing But The Truth that eventually made it to TV as To Tell The Truth (originally hosted by Bud Collyer). Of course, Mike eventually became much more famous as a correspondent and interviewer for 60 Minutes from the show’s premiere in 1968 until his retirement in 2006 (and he still appeared occasionally for two more years).
- · Veteran game show announcer Rich Jeffries died in March at age 73. I can’t say I’m an expert on Rich’s life, but I’ve probably heard his voice countless times without fully realizing it.
- · Finally, the big one: one of the biggest TV icons ever, Dick Clark, died the day before I am typing this at age 82. In terms of game shows, he of course is best known for Pyramid, but that was far from his only game show – I first encountered him on the short-lived Winning Lines in 2000, and The Challengers and The Krypton Factor also come to mind. I still maintain that if you want real game show suspense, forget Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and go watch one of the $100,000 tournaments on 1980s Pyramid. Of course, he will probably always be best remembered for American Bandstand. On American Idol last night, Ryan Seacrest put this better than I ever will – “Without Dick, a show like this would not be broadcast on television.
- Moving to happier (or at least less morbid) news, a late-night revival of Hollywood Squares with the unlikely title of Hip Hop Squares will premiere on May 22 on MTV2. The host is Peter Rosenberg. I can’t say I have high expectations of this one, but I’ll of course have my review on May 24.
RIP to all four.