Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lost history

On a slow Saturday I'm interested in ancient history. No, not the Egyptians and those guys. I'm talking about the vaguest, earliest, most dimly glimmering dawn (sounds literary, no?) of our little genre.

In particular, I'm referring to a game show called See What You Know, hosted by none other than Bennett Cerf. You might remember him from a certain old panel show. See What You Know started in 1946, when Google says that only 0.5% of American households had one of those newfangled TV sets. IMDb tells me that it's a "lost TV series," which actually sounds rather evocative. A trek through Google books finds this description of the gameplay, which seems appropriately primitive. Wikipedia (usual caveats) says the show lasted until 1949, when it vanished with hardly a trace.

But nothing disappears completely. In this 1968 interview, Bennett Cerf recalls "some kind of a crazy game" he did in the earliest days of TV with Gypsy Rose Lee and others. (The comments start at about the 2:00 mark in the clip.) He doesn't mention the show's name but it can only be See What You Know. Gypsy Rose is mention in the gameplay description linked above.

Sadly, I couldn't find any images from the show, so I can't show you what it looked like on those ancient television screens. What can I say? It's a lost TV series.

1 comment: