Creator / Jay Wolpert
producer who started off as just the average Jeopardy!
Tournament of Champions winner in 1969, but then entered the game show trade himself. At first he worked with the other major production companies of the era, but his most prominent work came at Goodson-Todman
, where he helped produce The Price Is Right
from 1972-78 and created the short-lived quiz show Double Dare
(the one with Alex Trebek).
Wolpert's time at Price
is most notable for the Showcase skits that debuted in 1974, where his fertile mind went to work on creating fairy tale parodies, film parodies, and stuff like Captain Klutz and the April Fool's Showcases. After leaving Price
, Wolpert started his own production company and became responsible for some of the most unconventional and experimental game shows on television. Thankfully, one of his most downright-ridiculous creations, Duel in the Daytime
(essentially a Minigame Game
with an overly-medieval motif
), didn't make it past the pilot stage.
He also worked on two Goodson revivals for first-run syndication: The New Price Is Right
with Doug Davidson (1994-95), and a revival of Match Game
hosted by Michael Burger (1998-99). His longest-running show ended up being Shopping Spree
, a show he created for The Family Channel
; unlike just about every other show he produced (which ended up being so good, they got canned after the networks found out they were on the air
), this one lasted for two seasons.
ended, Wolpert's company stopped producing new shows, but Wolpert continued working with others and dabbled in screenwriting a bit too. He was credited for the script of The Count of Monte Cristo
, story in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
, and as a consultant for the "Super Mix" changes to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
. He also has a cameo as a doctor in Father of the Bride Part II
Several tropes are recurring in many of Wolpert's game shows:
- An Animated Credits Opening showing the basic premise of the game (Whew!, Trivial Pursuit, Blackout, Shopping Spree);
- Suspenseful Think Music during the bonus round that featured alternating notes on each second, as well as repetitive Truck Drivers Gear Changes (Blackout, Rodeo Drive, Wait Til You Have Kids);
- Bonus losses being punctuated by a unique Signature Sound Effect (Whew!, Hit Man) or particularly bizarre Losing Horns (Double Dare, Blackout, Rodeo Drive, Shopping Spree, Wait Til You Have Kids)
- The Price Is Right may also qualify since Wolpert had his hand in the first few years of the current version (the Trope Codifier for Losing Horns) as well as the 1994 syndicated version (which gave us one of the most extreme examples of the trope in the entire genre).
Shows originally produced by Jay Wolpert Productions include:
- Whew! (1979-80; at least three pilots were taped December 4, 1978)
- Pandemonium (November 2-3, 1979; unsold pilots hosted by Steve Edwards)
- Duel In The Daytime (August 23, 1981; at least three pilots, hosted by Peter Tomarken)
- Hit Man (1983; hosted the first 1982 pilot)
- Fortune Hunters (August 19, 1983; unsold pilot hosted by Bob Hadley)
- Fast Friends (November 28, 1984; at least two pilots, hosted by Bob Goen)
- Trivial Pursuit (1987; at least four pilots, hosted by Steve Morris and Linda Marr; Wink Martindale would later create his own series based off the game in 1993 for The Family Channel, and 2008 saw the Hasbro-backed Trivial Pursuit: America Plays)
- Blackout (1988; pilot taped in 1986 with Robb Weller hosting)
- Skedaddle (1988; part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera)
- Rodeo Drive (1990; began as an October 1980 CBS pilot hosted by Peter Tomarken)
- Wait Til You Have Kids (1996-97)
- Shopping Spree (1996-98)