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Trivia / The Challengers

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  • Just for Pun: Question topics would often set up a Rule of Three joke, generally with a pun as the punchline.
    • "They Have Pockets" had questions on Pool Tables, Baseball Gloves, and Captain Kangaroo (all three contestants picked the Captain, but couldn't quite pronounce his real last name close enough to suit the Judge).
    • "Wise Guys" had questions on Socrates, Plato, and Don Rickles.
    • "Wonders of Nature" had questions on March Storms, April Showers, and Mae West.
    • "Chilli Dogs" had questions on St. Bernards, Alaskan Huskies, and Mexican Hairless.
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    • "It Ain't Over Till..." had questions on Nell Carter, Cass Elliot, and Roseanne Barr.
    • "Things That Fall" had questions on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Stock Market, and Gerald Ford.
    • "Jack Nicklaus's Favorite Movies" had questions on Driving Miss Daisy, Bye Bye Birdie, and Ironweed.
    • "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" had questions on The Good Mother, The Bad News Bears, and The Ugly American.
    • "Take a Stab at It" had questions on olives, pickles, and Julius Caesar.
      Dick Clark: It was a sick, sick man that came up with that one.
      The Judge: Thank you.
    • "It Makes Scents" had questions on perfumes, flowers, and skunks.
    • "Ready... Aim..." had questions on firearms, fireworks, and fire science.
    • "They Hold Their Liquor" had questions about bottles, barrels, and Bob & Doug McKenzie.
    • "They're All Ears" gave questions on Dumbo, Mr. Spock, and Clark Gable.
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    • The category "Ventriloquist Dummies" gave questions on Charlie McCarthy, Lambchop, and Milli Vanilli.
    • "Dining with Shakespeare" gave us Julius Caesar Salad, The Merchant of Venison, and Omelette.
      The Judge (after both Clark and the Studio Audience start to loudly groan at the puns): I proudly stand behind my writers...very far behind them.
    • "Food at the Firehouse" has smoked salmon, barbecued steak, and chard.
    • For "Great Greeks": You get Socrates, Sophocles, and Savalas.
    • "Call Me Al": Al Bundy, (sports announcer) Al Michaels, and Albatross.
    • "The Sounds of Silence": "Silence Is Golden", The Silence of the Lambs, and Harpo Marx.
    • "Strange Mammals": We have the platypus, the sloth, and Pee-Wee Herman. The last one prompts Dick to give an Aside Glance to the camera as the audience breaks out into laughter. All three contestants go for the Pee-Wee Herman question!
      Dick: Pee-Wee wins the race!
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    • For "Ladykillers", there's Bruce Willis, George Michael, and (as Dick stifles his laughter) Henry VIII.
      Dick: There's a lady killer if ever there was one!
    • "Have a Ball" with baseball, football, or Lucille Ball.
    • "Our Favorite Carols"? There's Carol Burnett, Carol Channing, and "Good King Winceslas".
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The Challengers hasn't been seen since its original run, but prominently displaying the airdate in most episodes makes collecting pretty easy.
    • The only episodes that didn't have an airdate shown were the Sneak Preview shownote , the weeklong Teachers Tournamentnote , and both weeklong Invitational Tournamentsnote .
    • And as for the show's predecessor, The Who, What or Where Game, only one episode is known to survive on video; it was one of the many victims of NBC's wiping practices of the era (other victims included the Peter Marshall version of The Hollywood Squares, the Alex Trebek versions of High Rollers, the original Art Fleming version of Jeopardy!, the original Hugh Downs–Bob Clayton version of Concentration, and the original Jack Kelly–Joe Garagiola version of Sale of the Century).
  • Screwed by the Network: The show's early demise was threefold: The 1990/91 season saw a glut of syndicated games (revivals of The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough, Trump Card, Quiz Kids Challenge), resulting in overcrowding. Not only that, but the show often got demoted to bad timeslots like overnights in major markets, and some never even saw the show. And even if the show did get a good timeslot, the Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune combo often shot it down decisively in the ratings, or, barring that, it would have to compete with syndicated newsmagazines, such as Entertainment Tonight; syndicated judge shows, such as The People's Court, or syndicated talk shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show (which is why many stations demoted The Challengers after a few months).
  • Talking to Himself: A very odd example. The Home Participation Sweepstakes featured questions that a recorded Dick Clark asks when the viewer calls the 900-number given on the show. During one promo for the contest, Clark admitted to calling the number himself to see what it was like, concluding with, "It was a very odd experience to talk to myself."
  • Throw It In!: Given the format of the game, unless all three contestants pick one question apiece or all three pick the same question and go on to sweep the board, one question per category will go unasked. Generally, Dick will save the question so it can be reused (at least one episode had a category called "Challenger Leftovers"), but every once in a while he'd ask the Judge for permission to ask the leftover question just for fun if he thought it was particularly clever.


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