Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

TV Trivia Thursday #11

Can't miss TTT two weeks in a row, so busy or not, here are a few new TV Trivia questions to brighten your Thursday:

1) What long-running show lost much of its early history when the master tapes for several seasons' worth of episodes were erased by a careless technician?

2) Which two hugely popular prime time shows, airing several decades apart, both had their origins in a series of shorts on a variety show before being spun off as a series?

3) We all know Mel Brooks from the dozens of hilarious movies that he produced, directed, and/or starred in. But he made at least a minor mark in the television world as well. Name two TV series and one classic animated special that Mel created and/or wrote.

4) Besides Seinfeld, what earlier sitcom also started and ended each episode with the title character telling a joke?

5) True or Urban Legend: Musician Frank Zappa's father played Captain Kangaroo supporting character "Mr. Greenjeans"?

6) What show came in dead last in the ratings its first season, but was kept alive by a network executive who perceived its quality and hit potential? The series went on to success that exceeded his wildest expectations.

7) Finally, here's another "24" question from my friend Soccer Dad: Season 6 of 24 features Jack Bauer's father and brother. The actors who play Phillip and Graham Bauer appeared in two other series together. In the first series - a long running one - one actor was a regular the other a guest star who appeared over a number of episodes. The other series was short-lived with one actor playing the title character and the other his chief of staff.

Also, I need to correct one of the solutions for TTT #10. Question #6 was:
Television producers - and their advertisers - usually love it when a show gets lots of fan mail. But name a case in which the network aired a special announcement after an episode of a classic 60s series, begging its fervent fans to stop sending letters in!
To which I accidently cut-and-pasted a response from a previous week's question! The correct answer is: Star Trek. When the network planned to cancel the show after its 2nd season, fans organized a letter-writing campaign which resulted in an estimated one million letters being sent to NBC pleading for the show's renewal - an amazing feat in those pre-internet days! Finally, a special announcement was aired after one episode confirming that the show had been renewed, and asking fans to please stop sending in letters! Of course, Trekkies being the nice bunch of folks that they (we!) are, they turned right around and flooded NBC with thank you notes!


At 2/7/08, 3:54 PM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

1) I believe The Tonight Show.
2) Mama's Place, The Simpsons
3) Get Smart (with Buck Henry), When Things were Rotten. Don't know the special.

6) Seinfeld? I know it didn't do well in season 1.

At 2/7/08, 3:59 PM, Blogger Elie said...

As always, my favorite aspect of doing these is that people come up with correct answers that I didn't think of! So now there are (at least) three shows that fit question #2!

At 2/7/08, 5:05 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

6) I think was Cheers.

At 2/7/08, 11:10 PM, Anonymous Tova said...

3) Get Smart
4) Welcome Back Kotter

At 2/8/08, 2:08 AM, Blogger LEL said...

2.I'm thinking of that southern family skit from the Carol Burnett show.
6.All in the Family

At 2/8/08, 2:13 AM, Blogger trn said...

1) The Honeymooners?

2) The Simpsons, which originated on The Tracy Ullman Show on the then-new FOX network, is one.

4) Welcome Back, Kotter. Usually to his wife. Once or twice to a stuffed animal.

6) M*A*S*H?

At 2/8/08, 2:37 AM, Blogger Jack said...

I miss Welcome Back Kotter.

7)Graham Bauer was Doctor Romano on ER.

At 2/9/08, 1:02 AM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

2) The Simpson's and The Flinstone's
3)Get Smart
5)Urban Legend

At 2/10/08, 2:22 AM, Blogger Baila said...

I'm ashamed. I was such a television addict and the only way I can get any of these is if I cheat. Sigh.

And I just loved WBK...

At 2/10/08, 9:23 AM, Anonymous Big Fan said...

1) Dr Who?

At 2/10/08, 11:02 PM, Blogger Yitzchak Goodman said...

Question 5 seems to be a reference to the track "Son of Mr. Green Genes." I assume that was a typical Zappa joke-title, not a description of his lineage. Zappa liked "Son of" titles and was also amused, I guess, by substituting the spelling "genes" for "jeans."

At 2/17/08, 10:55 AM, Blogger Elie said...

Thanks, EoZ, Soccer Dad, Tova, LEL, TRN, Jack, Cruisin Mom, Baila, Big Fan and Yitzchak! Here is the full set of answers, most of which were at least partially supplied:

1) EoZ got it right; it was about a decade's worth of the earlier Johnny Carson seasons of The Tonite Show that were irrevocably lost to posterity.

2) Several of you thought of the later show - as per the "decades apart" clue - that I had in mind, The Simpsons. EoZ also came up with one I forgot, Mama's Place, from sketches on the Carol Burnett Show. The earlier show I had in mind was The Honeymooners, which began as continuing sketches on Jackie Gleason's variety show.

3) EoZ and others guessed the two series, Get Smart and the short-lived but wonderful When Things Were Rotten. Brooks other television contribution was his and Carl Reiner's classic "The Two Thousand Year Old Man" sketch, which began as a series of audio recordings two decades earlier, and was made into an animated TV special in 1975.

4) Tova guessed it - Welcome Back, Kotter. I also miss that show, Jack. They need to bring it back to TV Land!

5) Yitzchak is correct - this is a persistent UL based on that Zappa song. See
here for more.

6) SD guessed it - it was Cheers, which went on to great success as the centerpiece of NBC's "Must See Thursday Night", eleven seasons, several Emmys, and a couple of spinoffs. Still, I think that little-appreciated (at the time) first season was the best in many ways.

Some of the other guesses were indeed other successful shows that started off slow, but I don’t believe any of them were actually in last place their first seasons.

7) SD, this one's yours.

At 2/18/08, 6:10 PM, Blogger trn said...

Aw, I identified Welcome Back, Kotter too!

Funny that my guessed and incorrect answer for the first one was an answer for the second one.

Wasn't it Mama's Family, not Mama's Place?

At 2/20/08, 7:58 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Sorry, TRN! Yes, you did get WBK too! (I must be careful not to show partiality to anyone, even my baby sis.)

At 2/22/08, 12:12 PM, Blogger trn said...

I am certainly not going to stand in the way of your being a good big brother to your little sister!


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