Monday, March 19, 2018

Eating humble pie, or When what one is sure is absolutely right turns out to be absolutely wrong

Mrs. RWP and I spend a great deal of time doing two things.

It's probably not what you're thinking.

The two things we spend a lot of time doing, besides eating and sleeping, is playing Words With Friends (a Scrabble-like game) on our smart phones and watching the BUZZR channel on television.

We used to get television via cable, but when the cable company raised its rate by five dollars a month every January for several years in a row, we finally said "Enough!" and switched to satellite. In the U.S., two of the major satellite providers are DirectTV and Dish Network. We have Dish Network. It has a channel called BUZZR that is rather like GSN (the Game Show Network) in that most of the programs shown are game shows from decades ago.

It may be yesterday's junk food, but it is better than today's junk food. We have never watched, and refuse to watch, many of the programs being offered nowadays, programs other people seem to enjoy, like The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, and House Of Cards. Thanks, but no thanks. And many so-called comedies today are just plain offensive. As Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, once said, "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit."

So we watch BUZZR.

Sometimes we watch shows from the 1970s and 1980s such as Match Game (with host Gene Rayburn and celebrity panelists Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Richard Dawson, Fannie Flagg, Betty White, and others), Tattletales (with host Bert Convy), Trivia Trap (with host Bob Eubanks, before he hosted The Newlywed Game), Beat the Clock (the later iteration with host Monty Hall), Now You See It (with host Jack Narz), and Family Feud (with several different hosts, most prominently Richard Dawson who kissed all the women).

I have never cared for Family Feud because it does not deal with right answers and wrong answers but with the most popular answers. For example, when contestants were asked to name something one might see at the North Pole, the most popular answer was "penguin" and we all know, or should, that penguins are not found in the Arctic.

But I digress.

We also watch even older, black-and-white shows from the 1960s and even the 1950s such as What's My Line? (with host John Daly and celebrity panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, and Arlene Francis), I've Got A Secret (with host Garry Moore and celebrity panelists Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan, and Bess Myerson), To Tell The Truth (with host Bud Collier and celebrity panelists Tom Poston, Faye Emerson, Peggy Cass, Kitty Carlisle, a very young Merv Griffin, and a very young Johnny Carson), the original version of Beat the Clock (with host Bud Collier), and even obscure ones like The Name's The Same (with host Robert Q. Lewis and celebrity panelists like Abe Burrows and Meredith Wilson).

I can hear some of you saying, "Who?"

Be that as it may, I forge ahead with my fascinating post.

I'll be getting to the reason for this post shortly. Any time now. Hang in there.

It occurred to me this week while I was watching an episode of Beat the Clock from 1953 that that program was 65 years old. I probably watched it live on a 12-inch screen in my parents' house when I was 12 years old. It further occurred to me that if modern technology had been around in 1953, I could have watched people and game shows from 65 years earlier, from 1888. That thought blew me away, as the young folks say, even though I'm pretty sure there were no game shows in 1888.

Anyway, on What’s My Line? recently one of the contestants was a young man with dark hair who signed in as Tom Eagleton and the occupation or “line” the panel was supposed to determine was district attorney of St. Louis, Missouri. I said, "Oh, look! There's a very young Tom Eagleton!" and explained to Mrs. RWP that Tom Eagleton later became Senator from Missouri and a few years after that he was selected by Hubert Humphrey to be his Vice-Presidential running mate on the Democratic Party's ticket in 1968 but was removed from the ticket a short time later and replaced by Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine when it became known that Senator Eagleton had suffered from bouts of depression throughout his life, resulting in several hospitalizations that had been kept secret from the public. The Humphrey-Muskie ticket went on to lose to Richard Nixon in November.

Go to the top of this post right now and read the title of this post again. Don't forget to come back and continue reading.

People sometimes tell me what a phenomenal memory I have and how many facts I have at my disposal, but this time my memory failed me and the facts were a bit skewed. One day later, when I went to my trusty computer to learn more about Senator Eagleton, I discovered that in this particular instance I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Senator Tom Eagleton of Missouri was indeed picked to be the Vice-Presidential candidate on the Democratic Party ticket but it wasn't by Hubert Humphrey, he wasn't replaced by Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine, and it didn't happen in 1968.

It turns out that Senator Tom Eagleton of Missouri was selected by George McGovern to be his Vice-Presidential running mate in 1972, and he was replaced by Sargent Shriver, John F. Kennedy's brother-in-law. Interestingly, the McGovern-Shriver ticket also went on to lose to Richard Nixon in November.

Lo, how the mighty are fallen. Not Eagleton or Humphrey or Muskie or McGovern or Shriver. Not any of them.


Oh, the shame! Oh, the humiliation!

And although some of you may even be thinking "It's about time he had his comeuppance," humble pie can be quite tasty, actually, when it is swallowed whole and accompanied by a nice cup of hot coffee.

Here are some American politicians of yesteryear. I'll let you decide who is most depressed. My answer appears after the photos.

My vote for most depressed goes to the American public.

On a happier note, yesterday was my 77th birthday!


  1. Many happy returns of yesterday. Some of the titles of the shows were familiar from my younger days in the UK. However I can truthfully say that I have never watched any of them. Game shows leave me completely cold. On the other hand I do play WWF.

  2. A very happy belated birthday to you.
    As one who consumes a lot of it, the problem with humble pie is that it is calorie laden.

  3. A very happy birthday to you! I guess you had (humble) pie instead of cake.
    I don't much like game shows and for the life of me I can't imagine watching ones that are 60+ years old. We have seen some wonderful stuff on Netflix, no walking dead necessary.

    I am also enjoying quite a lot of words with friends, send a request if you wanted, I mostly lose so it's a good bet! (That also applies to Graham)

    Kylie Tai

  4. A late Happy Birthday. I remember way back when with the game shoes. In fact I remember seeing Leslie Uggams (another Who?) on Name that tune.

  5. "I discovered that in this particular instance I was wrong, wrong, wrong."

    Thanks for cutting another notch in my repertoire of disillusionment!

    "We also watch even older, black-and-white shows from the 1960s and even the 1950s"

    "Even the 1950s"! You say this as if it's exceptional, almost unheard of, even unimagined and unimaginable.

    "We used to get television via cable, but when the cable company raised its rate by five dollars a month"

    "when contestants were asked to name something one might see at the North Pole, the most popular answer was "penguin"

    I'm so embarrassed to belong to the human species.

    As you will soon be told at some length, I don't have cable, but I do have Internet. Every year Comcast kicks up the cost, and every year I call them and ask for a better price, which I always get. The question isn't one of whether I can get a better price, but of how many levels of employees I have to make my way through until I'm getting the highest reduction that they'll offer.

    "'Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.'"

    And seeing bullets come out of the back of a person who has been shot is no substitute for drama.

    77 is eight years older than 69, so if you "get there first" (as the saying goes), please write so I can completely revise my belief system (I can't wait to see the postmark so I'll know where you ended up). Peggy and I have no TV service other than a $30 antenna. It's supposed to be an indoor antenna, but I mounted it just outside the wall where it's protected from the rain by a generous soffit, and where it faces a long row of mountain top antennas that are no more than a mile or so from our house. On our TV, we watch network news, Inside Edition (I'm ashamed to say), and Peggy watches Jeopardy (she's a true fan who knows two people who were on the show). We also watch some of the oldies shows on MeTV (we have breakfast at 1:00 everyday when Gunsmoke is on), and lots and lots of PBS (nature shows, history shows, and, of late, the soap opera/drama Victoria). Aside from all of this, we own at least seven feet (meaning shelf space) of DVDs, and nearly all of them are programs from the 50s and 60s. It's a rare day when we watch anything that is new or even remotely recent. When I watch an old movie, I often watch the narrated version, and I recall one director saying that the film code of 1930 had the effect of forcing movie makers to come up with creative ways to suggest sex and violence without actually showing sex and violence, and that this actually improved movie making. I could see what he meant. It seems to me that raw depictions of sex and violence only detract from good writing and good acting. They also tend toward absurdity (I'll never forgive Clint Eastwood for a scene from Unforgiven in which a shotgun blast lifted a man off his feet and slammed him into a wall that was several feet behind where he had been standing). Shock value hardens viewers so that they're not entertained by anything but shock value, and they're not much entertained by it. By the way, are you familiar with Busby Berkeley? Do you have a favorite TV show, a favorite movie, a favorite actor and actress?

  6. "I remember seeing Leslie Uggams (another Who?) on Name that tune."

    I guess you've never heard Rhymes rave over Jenny Lind.