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Author Topic: Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors  (Read 7187 times)

clanky06

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« on: May 15, 2008, 08:43:46 PM »
There's another thread about reference books for game show writers. It goes without saying that they should be referred to and cross-checked. Apparently, this principle has not always been followed, since there have been a number of cases of wrong answers from the writers. Here are a couple, both from Ralph Andrews Productions:

The final question on one of the episodes of Celebrity Sweepstakes (during their final run on NBC) was "Which president first installed a bathtub in the White House?" Only Alan Sues knew the "correct" answer was Millard Fillmore. However this was a fiction penned by H. L. Mencken. Read one account here.

On 50 Grand Slam the category was musical theater and one question was (in effect) "Who wrote Silk Stockings? The contestant answered "Cole Porter," and Tom Kennedy said, "I'm sorry, that's wrong. The correct answer is "George Gershwin." You should have seen the look on the contestant's face! After the next break, Tom announced that he was indeed correct, and because of his "loss of concentration," restored all his lost points. I later asked one of the Andrews staff how something like this could have happened; he  shrugged and said that "it just happened."

Incidentally, here's a behind-the-scenes tidbit for those who might be interested. I got to talking with an NBC S&P person named Janet during one of the lengthly contestant pool "waiting periods," and she said that the most difficult contestants she had to deal with were on 50 Grand Slam, while the nicest, most pleasurable ones were on Name That Tune.

Any other notable writers' answer errors come to mind?

tpirfan28

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2008, 08:48:49 PM »
If I understand the question right...the "Sylvester" incident on Press Your Luck.
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Fedya

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 10:49:02 PM »
I distinctly recall a J! TOC claiming that Richard Nixon was the youngest Vice-President ever.

(If memory serves, everybody went for the even more wrong Theodore Roosevelt.)
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Allstar87

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 01:07:15 AM »
I have an episode of The Joker's Wild '90 where a contestant was asked to define "The B-52s". The contestant answered "a rock group from the '70s", and was ruled incorrect. Pat mentioned that the "'70s" part was what cost him.

The B-52s may be more famous for their late '80s output, but they formed in the mid-70s. They released their first album in 1979.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 01:08:38 AM by Allstar87 »

clemon79

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 01:12:23 AM »
[quote name=\'Allstar87\' post=\'186117\' date=\'May 15 2008, 10:07 PM\']
I have an episode of The Joker's Wild '90 where a contestant was asked to define "The B-52s". The contestant answered "a rock group from the '70s", and was ruled incorrect.
[/quote]
Incorrect or not, I'd be interested to head what the actual wording of that question was, because I can't think of a phrasing that would elict the answer "a rock group from the '70s" that wouldn't be Widow-on-Dog-Eat-Dog-offensive.
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Allstar87

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 01:28:09 AM »
[quote name=\'clemon79\' post=\'186119\' date=\'May 16 2008, 01:12 AM\']
Incorrect or not, I'd be interested to head what the actual wording of that question was, because I can't think of a phrasing that would elict the answer "a rock group from the '70s" that wouldn't be Widow-on-Dog-Eat-Dog-offensive.
[/quote]

It was the early days of the definition format, and all Pat said was "The B-52s." No more, no less.

clemon79

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 01:37:27 AM »
[quote name=\'Allstar87\' post=\'186120\' date=\'May 15 2008, 10:28 PM\']
It was the early days of the definition format, and all Pat said was "The B-52s." No more, no less.
[/quote]
Oh, THAT Joker's Wild. For some reason I had it in my head this was the Jack Barry one. (Clearly I are a poor reader.) All of this makes MUCH more sense now.

/oh, rain-BOWS....
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 02:07:31 AM by clemon79 »
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Matt Ottinger

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 08:00:38 AM »
The most jaw-dropping one I ever saw (and I even have it on tape) was a children's show, possibly Pick Your Brain, where Marc Summers ruled the contestant wrong for saying Madrid was the capital of Spain.  The show's answer was Barcelona, possibly confused because of the Olympics taking place around that time.  They corrected themselves after a commercial break.
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colonial

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 09:13:28 AM »
On the only episode of "Trivia Trap" I've ever watched, a question was asked where the answer was Karen Lynn Gorney (the "Saturday Night Fever" actress).

Player buzzes in, and gives a completely different middle name for the actress.

Bob Eubanks checks with the judges, who rule the contestant CORRECT.

I quickly changed the channel.

BrandonFG

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2008, 02:51:03 PM »
[quote name=\'colonial\' post=\'186138\' date=\'May 16 2008, 09:13 AM\']
I quickly changed the channel.
[/quote]
It took an incorrectly-ruled wrong answer to make you change from "Trivia Trap"? ;-)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 02:51:24 PM by fostergray82 »
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colonial

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2008, 03:17:46 PM »
[quote name=\'fostergray82\' post=\'186160\' date=\'May 16 2008, 02:51 PM\']
[quote name=\'colonial\' post=\'186138\' date=\'May 16 2008, 09:13 AM\']
I quickly changed the channel.
[/quote]
It took an incorrectly-ruled wrong answer to make you change from "Trivia Trap"? ;-)
[/quote]

No matter how bad a show is, no matter the genre, I try to watch at least one episode in its entirety.

Yes, the show wasn't very good, but the Gorney incident was enough for me to change the channel without watching it in full.

alfonzos

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2008, 05:57:07 PM »
A friend of mine wrote for the Finn verson of TJW. He told me that a contestant's response for the answer Armaggeddon was "Dolly Parton song." Finn had lots of possible responses on his card but that wasn't one of them. So they had to stop tape while the staff made phone calls to verify the response. BTW, the contestant was correct.

A Shenanigans contestant playing Touch and Go was trying to idenify a turtle by touch and no sight eventually pulled off the little creatures legs. This episode is available on home video.

A WWTBAM question concerned the number of actors who have portrayed Batman in the movies. The writing staff forgot about Adam West and the Columbia serials of the Forties so the correct answer wasn't part of the multiple choice. The tape was edited and the question never aired. I read about this in the L.A. Times.
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Steve Gavazzi

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2008, 08:47:20 PM »
This isn't quite the same thing, but I remember a Millionaire question that had two right answers -- they asked which show was a spin-off of a spin-off of All in the Family, and both Checking In (spun off from The Jeffersons) and Good Times (spun off from Maude) were among the choices.  I forget exactly how it played out, but I'm pretty sure the contestant ended up picking whatever the staff had decided was the right answer.

/Coulda been more interesting...I don't think the contestant realized what had happened.
//Then again, if he had and he'd said something, the question probably would have been edited out.

clanky06

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2008, 09:17:38 PM »
On Name That Tune a contestant answered A Paper of Pins for the final melody and was judged incorrect. However, he found a record titled just that in San Francisco and sent it in, and the producers resurrected the set and added a clip of him now being correct to the end of the show. A similar thing happened to Ed Toutant with that glowing tomato/potato question on WWTBAM. This show has had its share of "controversial" questions such as Al Gore being the model for Love Story and life first appearing on the earth 4 billion years ago, which many say is the age of the earth itself.

Kevin Prather

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Game Shows' Most Embarrassing Answer Errors
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2008, 12:38:51 AM »
[quote name=\'clanky06\' post=\'186188\' date=\'May 16 2008, 06:17 PM\']
...and life first appearing on the earth 4 billion years ago, which many say is the age of the earth itself.
[/quote]
The key to that question was the word "approximately." Saying "approximately 4 billion years ago" gives you a swing either way of several million years. The earth could have been created about 4.3 billion years ago, and life could have appeared about 3.7 billion years ago. Both can be argued as being "approximately 4 billion years ago".