The General Electric College Bowl (TV Series 1959–1970) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
3 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
To Game Shows, it's Superbowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, The Triple Crown,Wimbeldon, Mr. Olympia, The Masters, The Grand Prix, Mt. Everest etc.,.............................
redryan6410 December 2009
AS WE WENT surfing the Net tonight, finding our course to the site; astonishingly, we looked up the G.E. COLLEGE BOWL and found it still in a virginal state with regard to reviews. Certainly someone must have thought about such a popular series and rather "high Brow" game show.

BUT ALAS, IT was so! No one had bothered to stop by and say a few kind words about the show. So we're gonna rectify this sichee-ashun right here and now!

GAME SHOWS COME and go in the highly competitive world of "Big Time" Television. They come in all categories, varying levels of competition and with greatly divergent themes; ranging from the ridiculous (LET'S MAKE A DEAL, YOU'RE IN THE PICTURE*) to the sublime(CONCENTRATION, JEOPARDY).

THERE HAVE BEEN just about every type and level in between; featuring a whole sh*t house full of Masters of Ceremony, whose careers are sustained by their ability to generate their longevity by going to the M.C. positions in one game show after another. We are all familiar with their names. We all are familiar with the likes of Bill Cullen, Art James, Gene Rayburn, Chuck Wollery, etc.

PERSONALLY, WE HAVE always been partial to JEOPARDY, having been addicted to it in both incarnations; those being, the first series of 1964-75 (Art Fleming) and the second run of 1984-Present (Alex Trebek). Much in the same manner as so many loyal followers, we consider JEOPARDY to be the Cadillac of the Game Show Genre.

ALL THAT BEING said, we must announce that our "Rolls Royce" candidate is the now nearly all but forgotten, GENERAL ELECTRIC COLLEGE BOWL (1959-1970**).

THE HIGH LEVEL OF proficiency in every subject, coupled with the ability to have a lightning-fast brain trigger was the hallmark of the game. In it the two (or was it three?) competing Colleges would send their team of three best student-players to the competition to match their academic skills against the competition; with points being awarded as they answer questions correctly. The old 'first one to buzz-in would get a shot at the question.

IN ITS ORIGINAL run, the G.E.COLLEGE BOWL had at least a portion of its time slot on early Sunday evening; where it seemed to have its greatest exposure. We recall that it was a regular on our Televiewing, right around supper-time. This was a habit that was widespread in our barrio; as our comparing of notes with the other kids Monday morning substantiated.

CHOOSING THE PROPER Emcee for a "high brow" program as this is a most important factor; for a format and appropriate set could be wasted without the right guy in the Moderator's slot. Just imagine COLLEGE BOWL with all other things being equal; except having 'Gunther Toody', himself, Joe E. Ross asking the Qusetions! "Ooh, Ohh!"

WE DO REMEMBER that COLLEGE BOWL was being broadcast as a Network Radio Show in the late 1970's; which begs the question: "Why the hell ain't it on TV in some revival form today?

NOTE: * That was the short (only one show) Comedy-Game Show hosted by "the Great One", Jackie Gleason. In his own words, "....It was the BIGGEST BOMB!!!!" After apologizing for it on week two, Mr. Gleason shifted gears and continued the run as a one on one (mainly) talk show, and he did it quite handily, we might add.

NOTE ** The year 1981 saw a brief, syndicated revival of COLLEGE BOWL, with our favourite "Egg Head", Dick Cavett, as the Moderator.

There was also a brief series, THE COLLEGE BOWL on ABC in 1950; which was a combination Sitcom & Variety. It starred Chico Marx and featured his Band, the Ravellis. Among others, it also showcased young stars Mel Torme and Andy Wiliams. (Schultz and I both remember seeing an episode.It had a comedy sketch with Chico's TV Wife getting her finger stuck while dialing a telephone!)
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wonderful experience
peter-ruggles22 August 2018
I was a member of the SDSC College Bowl team in 1964 as we flew back to NYC and were treated to dinner at Trader Vic's and a nice Hotel. Sunday was all business as I tried to find an optometrist to fix my broken glasses...nobody open on Sunday. What you saw on the show is just what we experienced; of course we got our tails kicked by Queens College, 300 to 215. Our best genius choked and the rest of us sorta did too. We had one expert on European Lit; another on American Lit, a third on Poly Sci/History and I was the expert on everything else; i.e., the 'Junk Man.'
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This show might encourage learning if it were on today
bpatrick-814 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I, too, used to watch "GE College Bowl" on Sunday afternoons and never failed to be amazed at the ability of the students to come up with the answers to seemingly-impossible questions; for example, What are melagridea (sp?)?" Answer: turkeys. And the pacing, which I still believe was borrowed by "Jeopardy!", was unbelievable.

For the record, two teams of four students (one designated the team captain) competed; a returning champion and a challenger. (The high-school quiz bowl "It's Academic" had three competing schools.) The game began with the host asking a ten-point "tossup" question, which any player could buzz in and try to answer, but if the player was wrong, the question passed to the other team. If a player buzzed in before the host finished asking the question and was wrong, the team was penalized five points. Correctly answering a tossup gave that team a chance at a multi-part "bonus" question worth up to thirty points; the four team members could confer, but only the captain was allowed to give the answer. The game continued in this manner, played in two eight-minute halves; at halftime we might be treated to a short promotional film for the schools, or perhaps the students would talk about their career plans.

There were a couple of other elements that made this show so distinctive and exciting. Original host Allen Ludden was not, at the time, in the mainstream of hosts (Cullen, Rayburn, Bert Parks, etc.), nor was his successor, Robert Earle, who looked amazingly like Ludden's brother. Both projected an intellectual air (Ludden was a Phi Beta Kappa, I believe) but yet connected well with the students. The other was the element of surprise; like a sports event, underdogs could and did defeat the big schools--case in point: in 1966, a small women's school, Agnes Scott College of Decatur, GA, defeated Princeton, 220-215 when, with two seconds left on the clock, Karen Gerreald (sp?) buzzed in with a correct answer. What was noteworthy was that Ms. Gerreald was blind and had no idea that time was about to run out.

But to get back to the title of this review. "College Bowl" comes out of the era when there were concerns that the Russians were surpassing us educationally, and today there is (or should be) the concern that the U.S. is falling behind Asia and much of Europe. "College Bowl" could encourage learning again; it was a matter of pride for schools to win on the show, and viewers could actually pick up some knowledge while enjoying an unfailingly-entertaining show. My one concern is that the questions would have to be made easier; I don't know if today's kids could answer the Shakespeare questions that were common on the original show. I hope they would retain a large measure of difficulty. And "College Bowl" and "Jeopardy!" coexisted for six years (1964-70), so I think they still could. Fortunately, there are kids who could play the game and do well; look at some of the kids who compete in the "Jeopardy!" College Tournament.

I'd gladly give up a half-hour of sports on Sunday afternoons to have this show back.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed