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Quick as a Flash

Producer: Bernard Prockter Productions
Host: Bill Cullen
Celebrities: Boris Karloff, Wendy Barrie
Taping Info: 1952, International Theatre, New York City for NBC
Made it to Air: Yes. Originally a radio show from 1944-1951, it joined the ABC prime-time lineup on March 12, 1953 at 10:30 PM on Thursday nights until it was replaced on July 9, 1953 by Personality Puzzle. With a different production company, it rejoined the ABC lineup on September 10, 1953 at 8 PM on Thursdays, replacing Carinval. Its final episode was on February 25, 1954, replaced by the game show It's About Time.
Availability: Shokus Video #314, "Game Show X"

Bill Cullen took over as the weekday host of the radio quiz Quick as a Flash on December 12, 1949, and continued until its demise on June 29, 1951. The radio program involved six civilian contestants trying to answer questions (called "races") that gave obtuse clues, usually to some historical event. Usually, the fifth race of the show was a presented as a dramatic presentation. This became the basis of this pilot.

In the TV version, a team of one celebrity and one civilian were presented a play based on a person, place, object or event (e.g.: The stork delivering the Dionne quintuplets). The play would seem to be a stereotypical dramatic scene, but for those in the know of the answer, some of the dialog could prove to be quite humorous. If a player felt they knew the answer, they buzzed in, and if they were right, they would win $25. If the celebrity was the person answering the question, an additional sum of money was given to a charity. The civilian players only could try a second time if they were wrong, the celebrity players only had one guess per race.

One of the races was a "Pyramid" or "Jackpot" race, which started at $100, and would carry over if nobody answered it during the game. Overall, a very enjoyable little exercise that had a surprisingly short run, probably because of the difficulty of shooting four plays per show as well as being on ABC, which at the time was not a well distributed network.

Opening title card.

You can never go wrong with Bill Cullen, even though he didn't come over when the show made it to air.

You're a good contestant, Mr. Karloff.

And here's Wendy Barrie, who was on the downside of her career.

The opening playlet.

The pyramid city. Hint: Its not in Egypt.

This pilot has been viewed 4304 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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