News / USA

American Quiz Show On Air for 50 Years

The longest-running TV quiz show in the world is beginning its second half-century on the air. It's Academic is a Washington program that lets high school students showcase their brainpower.

It's a Saturday morning, and the high school TV quiz show It's Academic is on the air, as it has been for the past 50 years. Students from schools across the Washington D.C. area are answering questions on history, literature, math, science, religion, politics and sports.

Producer Susan Altman says the show is a lot of fun. "It's a great age group to work with," said Altman.  "They're fun, they're enthusiastic, they say funny things without even meaning to half the time."

Altman's mother, Sophie, a TV producer in the 1950s, started It's Academic at the request of local school officials to showcase outstanding students.

"At that time, 1961, the United States was going through a lot of upheaval with school integration, and they wanted things to help out to make the schools look good and to show that integration could work and work well. So this is what she came up with," recalled Sophie Altman.

Mac McGarry has hosted It's Academic since it debuted. He's now 84.

"Every time I look up, I see people who are just 17 years old, and somehow I think, 'Well I must not be getting older at all.' Their enthusiasm is contagious, no question about it. You really have to rev yourself up to keep up with them," he said.

McGarry has challenged more than 20,000 contestants, asked more than 200,000 questions and gotten more than a few funny answers.

"We had a question one time: 'Who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo?' and the young fellow answered, 'Duke Ellington.' Another time, we had a question of 'Who along with Frederick Engel wrote the Communist Manifesto?' 'Groucho Marx,'" recalled McGarry.

The correct answers, of course, are the Duke of Wellington and Karl Marx.

Kelly Reeder knows that.  She captained the Rockville High School It's Academic team last year.  The suburban Washington-area school has won the show's championship several times.

"Me and all the other people on the team. We've put in a lot of effort over the years and a lot of time to be where we are. It's a really huge honor to end up on the A team," said Reeder.  She admits, it's a little nerdy.  "My friends who are on It's Academic think it's cool that I'm the captain of the A Team, but my friends who are not on It's Academic think it's kind of funny."

Reeder and her teammates reflected the diversity now common on It's Academic. That wasn't the case in show's early years.

"It's a reflection of the great diversity of our country. When we first started, the young people from various countries were not evident so much. Now, each program presents young people from all over the world, at least descendents from people all over the world. So this is a microcosm of the way America is today," added McGarry.

Several well-known Americans, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former astronaut Timothy Creamer, appeared on the show when they were teenagers. Perhaps one of these students from It's Academic will also rise to prominence.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope Condemns IS 'Persecution' of Minorities

Pope delivers annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing, appeals for end to conflicts in Africa, dialogue in Middle East, condemns Taliban attack in Pakistan More

China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death

Earlier this year China announced plans to remove nine crimes from the list of capital offenses, including counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising and forcing others into prostitution More

Analysis: For N. Koreans, Parody Has Grave Tone

Most North Koreans who might see 'The Interview' would be horribly offended, outraged, and confused More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid