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THE OTHER GUY (WGN, c1967)

What I assume to be a rarity, The Other Guy is one of those games I didn't know about until coming across it at the Museum of Broadcast Communications' online collection of game show videos. The show was weekly, had a quiz bowl-like format, and was basically meant to give lessons on automobile safety.

Episode Used For Review: December 13, 1967 (formerly viewable at the MBC website).

Host: WGN staffer Bob Bell (Chicago's "Bozo the Clown" from 1960-84), who asked the questions while "expert on traffic safety" Officer Irv Hayden had the answers. A mix of viewer familiarity and public officialism here; not bad.

Announcer: Dick Somethingorother (it's only said once, and I couldn't hear the last name too well).

Opening: Stock footage of cars driving as the announcer talks about accidents. Quick shots of four contestants, then an "accident" (which looks more like a car just casually hitting another's bumper), followed by...

Logo: A hand, index finger extended, pointing to a white egg with "The Other Guy" in red.

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Rules:
Two teams of three college-aged contestants compete in two rounds, with six questions per round. The contestant holding the "#1" card in front selects a question from a board of eight (situated between Bob and Irv) for him/herself and their opponent (immediately to their left or right) to answer.

Correct answers score 20 points, while an incorrect answer deducts 10, and players must buzz-in to answer. Round 1 ends once six questions are played.

Driving Simulator:
The third question of each round has the two playing contestants going to a car-esque desk to be judged on their accuracy and reaction time -- the player who makes less mistakes (out of a possible 20*) wins the points. The overseer for this portion is Ralph Jackson, high-ranking employee of Allstate.

The simulator duplicates the driver's side of a car, and all parts are genuine. Each simulator has an info panel that gives the students information while they are taking the test -- info which is then sent to a computer which has individual score displays for each player.

(*I should note that during the second half of the episode used for this review, it was explained that certain things -- such as braking too late, over-braking, and then letting go too soon -- could cause a player to make more than 20 mistakes.)

ROUND 2:
Same as Round 1, although in a nice touch the driving simulator starts where the first simulation ended. The team that is ahead following the round's six questions is declared the winner.

The winning team's members receive individual prizes, while the "other guys" (we call 'em "losers") receive the Kawanis "Golden Rule" as a souvenir. The winning team also receives a gold trophy, while all players receive a copy of the book Let's Drive Right.

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But what do I think?
* Logo: Gets the job done, I suppose -- not too simple or too fancy, but then again not many games had fancy logos at this point. B-, partly because I liked the while "pointing your finger at the other guy" idea behind it.
* Host: Both do decently given the format, with Bob being the main host (asking the questions and even providing commentary during the driving simulators) and Irv giving off a few snarky comments during the game. WGN could have just had one guy running the show, but I can see why they went this route (TV personality asks the questions, safety expert judges the answers) -- and besides that, very few two-host game shows in America have had the emcees pull about-equal weight, and especially so at this point. B+ for both.
* Rules: Quiz bowl-esque, but not explained verbally (instead shown on a card for all of SIX SECONDS). Besides that, I don't quite understand how contestants are chosen to select questions. B- for the rules themselves, D- for their explanation (since they at least bothered to show one).
* Questions: Some short, some long. Given the subject matter, they might have wanted to simplify the longer ones a bit. The driving simulators, meanwhile, are very well-done given the timeframe. B- for the normal questions, B+ for the driving simulators.
* Set: Simplistic, in the 1960s standard -- contestants are seated at large, brown podiums with blue or red numbered plates on top. In the back is a blue scoreboard (left) and a video screen (center). Bob & Irv's desk has a light-up board between them, whose lights are toggled by switches used primarily by Irv.

The driving simulator has, for each contestant: two rear-view mirrors, a steering wheel, several gauges, a brake pedal, a gas pedal, turn signals, and a safety belt; these props are also behind what appears to be a car hood. A-, altogether.
* Presentation: Hosts are good, questions are good, and there were a few fun moments (see "Quotes", below). The driving simulator is very well-executed given the era, but only showing the main-game rules for six seconds instead of actually explaining things irked me to no end, and really shows that this game is not friendly to sight-impaired viewers. B-

Overall: A solid B+ -- could be better, could be worse. Considering that this was more or less a weekly "Driving Safety Class" with a game show added in, it all works very well.

FINAL RULING:
The point seems to be to educate on automobile safety, as some questions are uncomfortably long-winded and some answers tend to be the same. Regardless, it's decent for late-'67 and I learned quite a bit...even though I know little about automobiles and don't drive. That said, though, The Other Guy's lessons have become somewhat obsolete due to many advances in the automobile industry since then -- including, but definitely not limited to, better safety regulations.

BUT COULD IT BE REVIVED?
Maybe. Considering how many people currently driving never actually deserved a driver's license, The Other Guy would be good today.

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QUOTES:
(after nobody buzzes in during the first two questions)
Irv: (turns to Bob) I'm the only one that's scoring so far!

(a sample question from Round 2)
Bob: A truck driver is about to drive out of a warehouse or garage onto an adjoining street. What is his first duty upon approaching the sidewalk?
Contestant: He should sound his horn, and give right-of-way to any pedestri-(coughs)-pedestrians on the sidewalk, 'cause they still have the right-of-way.
(silence, cut to Irv looking at his card)
Irv: You forgot the most important point of-I'm going to have to penalize you for this-he's got to stop. This is number one. That horn won't stop the car from hitting somebody, he's got to stop.

(at the end of the show)
Bob: We hope you'll join us again next week. We'll have another contest of driving skill and car knowledge.
Irv: So until then, watch out for (smirks) that other guy?

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