July 2nd, 2005

krazy koati

Casey would waltz with a strawberry blonde

I don't have any idea why, but outside the Borders book store was a children's orchestra, which between the rows of performers and reasonably appreciative audience took up most of the room outside the book store almost to the corner. I can't tell you who they were or why they were playing, since every time the conductor got to announcing who they were, he turned around, so that he was solemnly informing the orchestra who they were.

Hey, 21 years ago today, it was the debut of the crossword game you've played all your life, but never quite like this ... Chuck Woolery in Scrabble. I was really into it, during the summers anyway. The fact they kept track of the fastest contestants in the bonus round gave me the first chance to see a form of evolution in action. The earliest contestants I remembered taking on the order of 45 seconds for the win; that got squeezed down to an average of 20 seconds as people learned how to play efficiently. I think someone once managed to get it in 13 seconds.

Strategy on Card Sharks never took anyone time to figure out. The Price is Right depends, outside the Clock Game, mostly on having a good sense of how much cans of tuna fish and new cars cost. The regular games in The $25/50/100,000 Pyramid had gotten to where almost every match ended up with a score of 21-20 before I started following the show. So this was the first time I saw that progression of skill.

Trivia: In May 1941 NBC set the advertising rate at WNBT, its New York City station, at US$120 for an hour of prime-time programming. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television, Michael Ritchie.

Currently Reading: The Investigation, Stanislaw Lem.