Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Forgotten TV: The Generation Gap (1969)

Game shows were still fairly common in primetime in the 60's, but this trend was gradually fading away from the networks, as established series such as Hollywood Squares and Let's Make a Deal would soon find the syndicated market as fertile ground to revive their evening incarnations.

In 1969, Daniel Melnick, one of the heads of Talent Associates, the folks behind such shows as diverse as N.Y.P.D., Get Smart, & He & She, decided that TA and its parent, Norton-Simon, Inc., would get into the game show business. The Generation Gap, which pitted two teams representing the older and younger generations, against each other, launched in February as a Friday night entry on ABC. Melnick opted to avoid the "old boy network", if you will, and hired a relatively new face in Dennis Wholey to serve as host. Wholey, however, lasted 2 1/2 months before, ironically enough, Jack Barry, sprung from TV's blacklist because of the quiz show scandals of the 50's, was hired to replace him. Barry lasted just the final 5 weeks, as Gap was cancelled in June.

Barry's career was successfully revived, as he'd develop The Joker's Wild for CBS, and eventually bring back his business partner, Dan Enright, after a couple of years. Wholey, as memory serves, ended up doing something for PBS, I think it was, in the 70's.

Now, I never saw the show, so there won't be a rating, but we'll leave you with the series opener, hosted by Wholey.

Producer Chester Feldman worked for Goodson-Todman for most of his career. Director Mike Gargiulo was at the helm for virtually all of Bob Stewart's game shows for NBC, CBS, & ABC in the 70's & 80's. Announcer Fred Foy (ex-The Lone Ranger) would also handle those chores for Dick Cavett's talk show, also on ABC. And doesn't Foy sound like he went to the same voice coach as Don Pardo? The video ends with a short clip of Honeymoon Race, for whatever reason, as that series had come and gone two years prior.

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