A Middle-Aged Game Show for Teens
From voaspecialenglish.com | facebook.com/voalearningenglish Question: Which program is in Guinness World Records as the world's longest running TV quiz show? MAC McGARRY: "It's Academic!" "It's Academic" is a Saturday morning television program for high school students. The show has been broadcast in the Washington area for 50 years. Teams from local schools face subjects like history, literature, mathematics, science, and sports. Susan Altman is the producer of the show. SUSAN ALTMAN: "It's a great age group to work with. They're fun, they're enthusiastic, they say funny things without even meaning to half the time." Ms. Altman's mother, Sophie, was a TV producer in the 1950's. She started "It's Academic" after local officials asked her to create a program that showed extraordinary students. SUSAN ALTMAN: "And at that time - this was in 1961- the United States, of course, 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." The show's host, Mac McGarry, says the teams became more diverse over the years. MAC McGARRY: "When we first started, the young people from various countries were not in evidence so much. But now, each program presents young people from all over the world, at least descendants of people from people all over the world. So this is a microcosm of the way America is, today. " Mac McGarry is 85 years old. He has hosted "It's Academic" since the beginning. [Update: In November 2011 his retirement was announced.] He has asked more than 200,000 questions. He has gotten more than a few funny answers. MAC McGARRY: "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 Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto?' Groucho Marx!" The correct answers are the Duke of Wellington and Karl Marx. Kelly Reeder knows that. She led the team from Rockville High School in Maryland last year. KELLY REEDER: "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. So, and I mean it's a really huge honor to end up on the A Team." Her school has won the championship on "It's Academic" several times. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton competed on the show when she was a teenager. So did astronaut Timothy Creamer. Maybe one of these students will also rise to fame. I'm Barbara Klein.