Sunday, March 9, 2014

Riddle me this: Jackpot! (1974)

It used to be that riddles were meant for giggles. In 1974, producer Bob Stewart decided to try to make them more about winning money.

Jackpot! lasted nearly 2 full years in its initial run on NBC, but was sabotaged by network executive Lin Bolen's demand that the riddles be sacrificed in favor of a traditional Q & A game. Apparently, someone in market research didn't have a clue.

Geoff Edwards hosted not only Jackpot!, but would fly across country to LA to do The New Treasure Hunt, a syndicated Chuck Barris entry, which was airing weekly around the same time. Back then, it was unprecedented. Edwards would do another NBC show for Stewart, Shoot For The Stars, then came back to Jackpot! for its final go-round, also in syndication, in 1989, a year after a Canadian produced remake, which aired in the US on USA Network (now a sister network to NBC), had folded. Unfortunately, this Jackpot! failed to finish the season.

In memory of Edwards, who passed away a few days ago at 83, here's a sample clip of the original Jackpot!, with announcer Don Pardo (currently on Saturday Night Live), and the theme song, "Jet Set", composed by Mike Vickers, formerly of Manfred Mann's Earth Band, and better known as having also been used on This Week in Baseball:

I apologize for the poor quality, but full episodes are very rare, given the practices of the day. 
Rating: A-.

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