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I remember watching Celebrity Bowling when it aired on the weekends and
sometimes late at night on Channel 9 in New York before moving to
Minnesota in 1972. To me, for someone who grew up watching the Pro
Bowlers Tour on Saturday afternoons, it was enlightening and
entertaining to see the stars bowl in order to win prizes for studio
audience members. Jed Allan was outstanding as host. He interacted well
with the celebrities and he even bowled in one episode when he traded
places with guest Robert Lansing.
Celebrity Boweling beat the odds of a syndicated game show without a network track record lasting longer than a season. It was also known for its rigorous taping schedule where the entire season of 26 shows were taped over a three to five day period in order to cut costs. The show was also the first success for Seven-Ten Productions, who later went on to produce Celebrity Tennis, which lasted shorter than its bowling counterpart.
My only beef with Celebrity Bowling was that a lot of the games skipped one or two of the late frames because of the time to describe the prizes for audience players. Otherwise, Celebrity Bowling rolled a strike for bowling fans who enjoyed watching top stars in a popular participation sport. It's worth rerunning on a cable channel someday.
I have played with computer games where you create computer players,
such as "Tony Larussa Baseball II" and "Nascar Racing 1999". I set
these games to watch the players going at it, not to play myself.
Sometimes I put celebrity names to the players I created. So, for
example, I'd have a baseball team with Roy Clark, Abdullah the Butcher,
Jennifer Gatti, etc. Or I'd have Holly Hallstrom, Ric Flair, Todd
Bridges, etc. racing for the cup.
Imagine the shock when I watched my "Celebrity Bowling" DVD set and saw an episode with Roy Rogers & Don Adams Vs. Bob Newhart & George Foreman!!! I thought, this is my computer games brought to life! "Celebrity Bowling" is a very interesting, enjoyable show!
Now, for the likes and dislikes:
I think I'm in love with this Cheryl Kominsky! Dangit, I don't like how, when she did the "Today our stars will be bowling the best-ball system..." part, the camera was "here" and the cue card was "there", so she had to look away from the camera. But when an AMF representative was co-hosting, where was the cue card? Of course, near the camera!
I like the episodes where they didn't add applause effects, and the crowd sounded like the crowd at a bowling match. It was more natural that way.
I thought it was funny when the announcer said "If the winning team scores 120 or LESS", suchandsuch, "but if the score is 120 or MORE...". There's one episode on the DVD set where he actually said "but if the team scores ABOVE 120...", which made more sense.
When people you could REALLY call "comedians" were involved (such as Jimmie Walker, Morey Amsterdam, Nipsey Russell, etc.), they did and said funny things during gameplay (often followed, if she was co-hosting, by Cheryl's heart-melting laughter).
There are things that endear me, and things that MINORLY annoy me about this show, but they are the idiosyncrasies without which this show couldn't have existed.
I hope that season sets of DVD's (instead of just some selected episodes) will come out soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to play "Bowling USA" - another computer game where I created, well, celebrity bowlers.
(NOTE: I just found out that Cheryl, now Cheryl Robinson, was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame this July! Congratulations, Cheryl!)
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