Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two more to mourn

When we were kids, I think we all read "Where the Wild Things Are", which became a movie just a year or two ago. The genius behind that story, Maurice Sendak, passed away earlier this week at 83. The film version of "Wild Things" may have brought Sendak back into public consciousness, but it wasn't that big a hit here in the US. Despite the author's overall body of work, "Wild Things" remains the one Sendak's most recognized for.

Meanwhile, game show mavens are mourning the passing of Bob Stewart. You might not know the name, but Stewart became a major player in the daytime game arena after leaving Goodson-Todman in the mid-60's, this after creating a trio of iconic classics: The Price is Right, To Tell The Truth, & Password. In running his own studio, Stewart produced a seemingly endless stream of shows from the mid-60's through the 80's, including The Face is Familiar, hosted by sportscaster Jack Whitaker for CBS, Eye Guess, Three on a Match, Personality, Jackpot!, and, of course, his most famous creation, The $10,000 Pyramid, which underwent a few inflationary title changes under Stewart's watch, and was hosted by the late Dick Clark for much of its run. Subsequent revivals post-Stewart saw John Davidson (ex-Hollywood Squares) and singer Donny Osmond try to fill the host's job that Clark performed so well. Perhaps the only other host who thrived under Stewart was Bill Cullen, who MC'd Eye Guess, Hot Potato, Three on a Match, Blankety Blanks, and the original Chain Reaction, and was the original MC for Price, which might in part explain why comic Drew Carey, who had a Cullenesque buzzcut early in his career, and has since grown it out, was hired to succeed Bob Barker a few years ago. The current Price, marking 40 years this year, isn't quite the same as Stewart's original vision, but it endures just the same.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

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