27 February 2005 | Moax429
This show was excellent. Wish it would have received more widespread distribution!
"The $128,000 Question" was a great show. I remember watching it on Tuesday nights at 7:30 P.M. (a station in Kalamazoo, Michigan ran it since the show was syndicated; my family and I lived in Lansing at that time, and I was then 16); many considered the title amount a big money payoff back then (of course, by today's standards it'd be, as Jackie Gleason would say, "peanuts").
But what I especially remember about this show is that I REALLY wanted to become a contestant; my area of expertise was the "Our Gang" ("Little Rascals") comedies. I had sent in numerous letters and photos of myself to the address mentioned near the end of each show, without any success. Then I called the station in Kalamazoo and, after telling me the address of the production company in Canada (!), said, "Keep trying." So I did just that, but in April 1978 my father (may he rest in peace) had the brilliant whim to move us from our home in Lansing, Michigan to Glenwood, Illinois (a Chicago suburb), probably meaning no TV stations there would show "$128,000." And sadly, my suspicions were confirmed: after settling into our new Illinois home 2 1/2 months later, I called (!) syndicator Viacom's office in New York City (obviously, in 1978 there wasn't any such thing as the Internet). And they bore even more bad news: "$128,000" was officially CANCELED and would not be returning that fall - not even as reruns (which was sad, since 95% of all entertainment in 1978 was God-awful - "$128,000" would have been one of the few bright spots). Worse yet, Viacom said NO stations in Chicago ever secured the rights to the program, period!
But, "$128,000" still has a place on my list of all-time favorite TV shows, especially when I think about how I tried to apply to become a contestant - it still makes me chuckle inside! It WOULD, however, be nice to see said reruns again for old times' sake. So, Paramount, since you and Viacom have merged, is there any chance you'll put those reruns of "$128,000" on DVD? I sure hope so!
And for any of you reading this who are also record buffs (as I am), I recently discovered instrumental group The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde (their only big hit was "Quentin's Theme," from "Dark Shadows," in August 1969) recorded the theme song to "The $128,000 Question"(!), with a piece called "Sentimentale" on the B-side; the single was on the Ranwood label (45 RPM; release #R-1064). Sadly, The Welk Record Group (that's right, Welk - as in Lawrence - who was President of the company), which owns Ranwood, is no longer printing this single (in either cassette or CD single format); WRG also hasn't licensed the track to any other labels as of this writing. So for those of you who still own turntables, look for the 45 of the "$128,000" theme at your local vintage record shop or at an oldies record meet. But be forewarned: you might have to pay a king's ransom because this single - which DIDN'T make Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles chart - is rather rare!