Monday, September 21, 2020

A regional classic (?): Pick-a-Show (1965)

Long before 1st run syndicated programming began to dominate daytime as well as afternoon/early evening programming, network affiliates were filling time any way they could.

Let me use my home district as an example.

WAST (now WNYT, then the ABC affiliate, now the NBC affiliate) was linked up with Bert Claster's network of stations carrying his Romper Room franchise for the kiddo's. WTEN (CBS then, ABC now) had Dialing For Dollars, in which they'd cut in during the morning movie and see if folks were willing to play. Good Ship News anchor Ralph Vartigan swapped out his Navy uni for the standard suit & tie as an MC.

At WRGB, then an NBC affiliate (now CBS), there was Pick-a-Show, a little curiosity that was similar in concept to Dialing, but focusing on television, specifically what was airing on NBC on a given night. Singer-songwriter and regional icon David Allan was the series host for the entirety of the series' run (1965-1974 or thereabouts) before leaving for channel 13 and a similarly formatted game show, Pitfall, not to be confused with the CBS game of the same name that came along a few years later.

Image courtesy of fellow blogger Chuck Miller.

Pick-a-Show, in truth, was half game show, half variety show, as Allan had in-studio guests, including WGY mid-day host Harry Downie and local legend Earle Pudney, who at that time was hosting Pets on Parade, the forerunner to today's Pet Connection segments on WTEN's afternoon news.

Unfortunately, given the practices of the day, there's no video of the show, just the above picture and some audio, which was collected into a record album in 1972, including Allan's novelty hit, "Little Red Scooter", which, at the end of the 20th century, was still getting some airplay, often as a joke, on WPYX-FM.

I barely remember seeing the show, not enough to merit a rating.

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