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Spin-Off


Producer: Thomas F. Walsh
Host: Alan Kalter
Announcer: Alan Kalter
Taping Info: Probably early 80s, probably New York
Made it to Air: The Geneva Convention is your friend.

So you want to make a kid's show? Make sure you write questions that kids can answer. If that doesn't work, add stunts. But the stunts have to be fair, or measurable. Or, don't, and you'll have Spin-Off, a show featuring several Alan Kalters, three kids, a dark set and a Henry Mancini record. Playing today according to their hand written index cards are Eric, Marguerite and Bruce.

After Alan Kalter introduces himself, we are introduced to three precocious 11-year-olds, because there aren't any other kind. He explains there are three rounds: A quiz round, another quiz round, and an action round. Alan spins a wheel for a category, and asks a question to the kids. He explains that a "correct question is worth five points, and an incorrect question is worth two". We find out through empirical evidence that an incorrect question is actually a deduction of two points. We also suffer through barely visible indiciators for the player who buzzed in, a time's up sound effect that sounds the same as the buzzer, and no visible score. A question is considered dead if one player answers incorrectly.

After the first round, Bruce is winning 18-0-0, and would be ahead even more if the other players would be allowed to go into the negative. The only difference between the first quiz round and the second round is a switch in the six categories. Also, in the second round, they got smart and changed the times up signal to a bell. The other players wake up a little bit, but Bruce wins 48-10-3 and has in his possession a Panasonic Tape Recorder and a magic kit.

The scores are wiped clean, and the action section begins. The first game, which was worth 15 points, involved the kids trying to eat a donut suspended from a string without using their hands. The kids were instructed that if their donut falls of their hook, there was an emergency donut that could be used. During the competition, two of the strings got tangled together. When the "Baby Elephant Walk" ended (since there was no visible clock), Alan just looked at the donuts and declared Eric the winner.

The second game is worth 14 points, and is a race to smash tomatoes into a jar. This round can be empirically scored, but Alan just picked Marguerite based on vague visible evidence. I didn't recognize the tune, but it was Mancini-like

The third game is worth 30 points, and is a race to put on as many clothes as possible. So, the kids are given an unequal pile of clothes and have an undefined time limit to get dressed while "Peter Gunn" plays. Despite Bruce's protestations that he had all the clothes he could possibly put on, Eric is declared the winner. Both Eric and Marguerite won prizes "backstage".

Finally, there was a home element, where Alan picked a card out of a drum, read the kid's address and telephone number, and awarded him a Panasonic Tape Recorder.

I cannot figure out if this was for network, syndication, public access, student project or gag reel. The producer, Thomas F. Walsh, doesn't show up anywhere. Only two credits even register, consultant Lloyd Gross and cameraman Mark Molesworth, the latter being a somewhat acclaimed documentary cinematographer. It's also never a good sign when you see people doing multiple jobs or the same last name in the lesser roles. Next time, try minor touches like visible scores and clocks to look at least somewhat professional.

This pilot has been viewed 6237 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 15, 2009 21:37 ET
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