Monday, May 24, 2004

Alo-huh to Gene Wood...

I'll explain the headline later, but Professor Steve Beverly reports that longtime game show announcer Gene Wood has died of cancer at the age of 78.

He is perhaps best remembered for his years announcing "Family Feud" (1976-1994) as hosted by both Richard Dawson and the late Ray Combs. He has a raft of other credits in the game show field, everything from "The Price Is Right" (where he filled in for Johnny Olson after his death) to a succession of shows with Bert Convy, including "Super Password" and "Win, Lose Or Draw", where Gene once introduced a week's worth of shows from Hawaii with the slightly mispronounced "Alo-HUH!" Bert and Gene had a great working relationship that spilled over onto the screen.

Gene was also a clever, creative man. He wrote the script for the compilation feature "The World Of Abbott And Costello" and worked with Captain Kangaroo on scripts for that show's animated "Lariat Sam" segment, produced by Terrytoons. At breaks in taping of game shows, he'd pick kids out of the audience and rehearse them in re-enactments of old movies or corny melodramas, just for fun.

Gene's mischeviousness could also spill out on camera: when celebrating a milestone performance for host Jim Perry on the old NBC "Card Sharks", Gene came out on stage before Jim and produced a case of fine wine for him. The gag was for Gene to give away the bottles to those who he thought deserved to share in the success of the show, everyone from producers to hangers-on, until Wood was left with just an empty crate to give to Perry as he entered.

Gene Wood even graced this blog once:

That's Gene with Richard Dawson, holding up the official flag of Monmouth County, New Jersey, which served as the home base for all of the Mackey Brothers at various times (in fact, Robair still lives there).

Gene's last work as announcer was as a fill-in post VO on "The Price is Right" in 1998, during a Rod Roddy illness.


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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Blackjack Follies...

Mark Evanier waxes on the latest TV version of blackjack, courtesy of GSN. I watched the whole tourney the first time around. So fortified, I faced down a blackjack game for the first time in my life. Okay, so it was just an early-morning $10-minimum table at Bally's in AC, but it's a great way to get your feet wet. I won the first hand. And the second. And many more after that. I really didn't make too many errors to make me appear totally green. The third-base player was wondering whatever could have compelled me to do that. I told him that some days you just get a little crazy. But all in all I did pretty good for my maiden foray into table games; I wound up almost doubling what I threw on the table (the dealer asked me if I wanted to color up at the end and at least I knew what that meant). But I don't know if I want to make a habit of live games. (And you little kiddies who may happen to be reading this... not till you're 21, okay.)

Thursday, May 06, 2004


I don't know if it was my little diatribe that formerly appeared here, or if it was the thousands of other purists who also consider the three baseball bases sacred territory, but Major League Baseball has had a change of heart and has decided not to go ahead with the emblazoning of a "Spider-Man 2" movie logo on the bases during the weekend the film is to open.

Among those who chimed in were former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, who shuddered to think of what his predecessor, the late A. Bartlett Giamatti, would have thought of the whole thing. One New York baseball writer did a broadcast interview in which he surmised, "What's next? Putting the umpires in Spidey suits?"