O.K., this one happened the same way my Silver-Age quizzes for my Deck Log column do.  I was driving along one morning and happened to think of an unusual detail about a television programme.  That led to recalling another, and then, another.  Pretty soon, I wondered if I could get a decent-sized trivia quiz out of it.


As this posting shows, I did.


The topic is something near and dear to our experience---television.  We all have one of those magic boxes in our homes, and we all have spent many faithful hours in front of it.  The question is:  how closely were you paying attention?  Because this quiz is slightly different.  I’ll get to that in a minute.


Here are the guidelines:

1. The questions come from television programmes which appeared on the “Big Three” networks, NBC and CBS and ABC, and the only acceptable answers come from the same pool. That was the only way to make it manageable.  It’s impossible to take the thousands of fourth-network, cable, and direct-TV series over the past thirty years into account.


2.  With the exception of the question involving The Tonight Show (number twelve), all of the questions and answers are limited to shows which appeared in prime time, i.e., 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

3.  This is not a Silver-Age quiz. Any network prime-time programme which has aired since the inception of television to the present is eligible for consideration.

4.  Here is what makes this quiz slightly different: you are not required to know, or find out, any behind-the-scenes information about any given show.  The answers to all of the questions can be found simply by having watched television.


You will find questions like:

When William Frawley left the situation-comedy series My Three Sons, what was the reason given for his character, Bub, leaving the Douglas family?


What you won’t find is:

Why did William Frawley leave My Three Sons?


The latter question would require you to obtain behind-the-scenes knowledge of the reason for Frawley’s departure from the show.  The former question, however, only requires that you have viewed the pertinent episode.


In other words, it’s a genuine couch-potato quiz!


Finally, my usual caveat:  I am not all-knowing, not even on the subject of classic television.  It’s eminently possible that I’ve missed something.  Perhaps, even likely.  If anyone comes up with an answer that falls within the guidelines I’ve presented above and meets all the criteria posed by the question, then I’ll gladly award credit for it.  Besides, I always learn new stuff myself when that happens.


As with my comic-book quizzes, I’ve no objection to anyone referencing the Internet or even---gasp!---hard-copy material.  It’s my obligation to provide questions that are as Google-proof as possible.  I believe I have done so, but you fellows can get pretty creative in your thinking.


I think that’s everything . . . so let’s go!  

1.  This one has been plumbed so many times that the correct answer is definitely out there on the Internet, but it’s such a popular one that I had to lead off with it:

What was the first situation comedy to show a married couple sharing the same bed?


2.  Name three television series with the word “petticoat” in their titles.

3.  The detective series Mannix changed formats after the first season. Who was the only character, outside of Joe Mannix himself, to appear in episodes of both formats?

4.  What distinctive feature was shared by the theme songs of Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, and Mary Tyler Moore over the course of their network runs?

5.  Name two dramatic series that were spun off from situation comedies.

6.  Name the series in which the title character did not appear on camera until the second season.

7.  Who was the first captain of SSRN Seaview on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea?

8.  What were the first and maiden names of Steve Douglas’ first wife on My Three Sons? O.K., how about the first and maiden names of his second wife, too?

9.  What sitcom featured sisters named Wilhelmina, Roberta, and Elizabeth?

10.  What was the radio call-sign for Sergeant Saunders’ squad on Combat!?

11.  Name a series in which the lead character was killed off in the final episode. (Note:  the lead character, the star, not just a regular character.)

 12.  On The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, when sidekick Ed McMahon was absent, bandleader Doc Severinsen replaced Ed as the announcer and second-banana, while Tommy Newsome took over leading the band. But, on that rare occasion when both McMahon and Severinsen were off on the same night, Newsome took over as announcer and second-banana to Johnny---but who stepped in to lead the band?

13.  Name three sitcoms where the four lead characters played themselves, in a fictional setting.

14.  I’m not making this one up, folks: what situation comedy changed to a spy series halfway through its run?

15.  The Fugitive is often credited as being the first series to resolve its premise in the last episode of its run. However, there were two series that did the same thing before Doctor Kimble caught the one-armed man.  Name them. 

And there's an American-produced series that was network-run in Canada and syndicated here in the U.S. that also beat out The Fugitive by ending its premise first.   Extra credit if you can name it, too.

Good luck!

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I'll take a stab at #5.

“5. Name two dramatic series that were spun off from situation comedies.”

Lou Grant spun off Mary Tyler Moore

Trapper John, MD spun off M*A*S*H

#13's four leads real names in a fictional setting:

1) The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet with Ozzie, Harriet, Don and Ricky Nelson.

2) The Monkees with Michael Nesmith, Davey Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork.

As for the third, I was going to go with The Jack Benny Show as most of them used their real names but were they all "leads"? Rochchester wasn't his real name nor was Mary (at first anyways!).

"2. Name three television series with the word "petticoat" in their titles."  Operation Petticoat and Petticoat Junction came instantly to mind, but it took a jaunt to IMDb to find the third, Pistols 'n' Petticoats, a CBS sitcom from 1966.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I'll take a stab at #5.

“5. Name two dramatic series that were spun off from situation comedies.”

Lou Grant spun off Mary Tyler Moore

Trapper John, MD spun off M*A*S*H

I remembered Lou Grant but drew a blank on Trapper Johh, M.D.

4.  What distinctive feature was shared by the theme songs of Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, and Mary Tyler Moore over the course of their network runs?

I'm very curious as to the answer to this one. I know Gilligan's Island had a change of lyrics after the first season, to insert the names of the Professor and Mary Ann ... The Brady Bunch theme had studio musicians sing the theme in the first season and the song was re-recorded with the Brady Kids for the second season ... Mary Tyler Moore had the lyrics changed in the second season because Mary Richards was introduced as needing a brand new start and by the second season, the producers felt the song should reflect that she was settled in her new surroundings ...

Is that the answer? That each show re-recorded the theme for the second season? 

7.  Who was the first captain of SSRN Seaview on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea?

John Phillips who is killed in the first episode, “Eleven Days to Zero.”

10.  What was the radio call-sign for Sargeant Saunder’s squad on Combat!?

 I watched this as a kid and had a full set of the trading cards, which I got after getting my tonsils removed.  I puttered around on the internet and came up with “White Rook,” although I certainly don’t remember that from when I watched the show.

1. Mary Kay and Johnny. (Hat-tip: Wikipedia.)


4. The songs were re-recorded every season?


6. Charlie’s Angels.


9. Petticoat Junction (= Billie, Bobbie and Betty).


11. Dynasty? Arguably, cliffhanger deaths are ambiguous and shouldn't count.

Davy Crockett implicitly died in the third of the original three Crockett episodes of Walt Disney's Disneyland, but two more were made later.

David Banner died in The Death of the Incredible Hulk, but that was a revival film rather than an episode of the series.

13. The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet and The Monkees (I tip my hat to Philip), and The Abbott and Costello Show.

14. The John Forsythe Show. (Hat-tip: the IMDB.)

15. Hank and The Man Who Never Was. (Hat-tip: Wikipedia.)

Extra credit: Hudson's Bay?

8.  My Three Sons

I watched this show regularly and remember when Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) married Barbara Harper (Beverly Garland) for its last few seasons.  This brought her daughter “Dodie” (Dorothy) into the series.  

Steve’s first wife was a bit trickier.  William Frawley as Bub O’Casey was Steve’s father-in-law, so her maiden name was O’Casey.  After some internet searching I found a reference to her as Louise, so let’s go with Louise O’Casey.

#3 has me stumped.  I watched Mannix regularly, but the first season wasn’t part of the syndication deal (or so says the internet), so I haven’t seen any of the episodes in the past 50 years (yikes, that makes me feel old).  A number of actors, actually a surprising number, appeared in the first season and subsequent seasons as well, but they played different characters.  

Joseph Campanella co-starred in season 1, but I believe he played a different character in a later season.

I'm looking forward to seeing the correct answer for this one, I’m guessing it’ll be one of those head slap moments ( “oh, of course”) when we see the answer.

Ordinarily, I would have provided the answers along about now.  But the Good Mrs. Benson and I are about to leave on a cruise to Alaska, and we won't be able to rely on regular Internet access.  I really want to see the discussion when I present the answers, so if you fellows can wait until 27 May, that's when I'll cough them up.

In the meantime, I can provide some statistics.

Of the fifteen questions:

Seven of them were nailed solidly.

One question got a response so close to the right answer that it was, in essence, correct, and credit is given.

Two were given different answers than the ones I had been looking for, but after research, I have to allow that they met the guidelines and the criteria of the question---and I consider them correct responses.

Three questions have all been answered incorrectly.

Two of them nobody's tackled at all.

Incidentally, Luke, I agree, cliffhanger deaths are ambiguous and shouldn't count---and they don't.  The correct answer to question number eleven is the definitive death of the lead in the last episode of the series, with no room for doubt that the character is dead.

Keep trying.  I'm impressed as all get out at how well all of you have done so far---including two answers which weren't what I had in mind, but counted.

The questions the Commander has counted as wrongly answered likely include 6 and 11. My answer to 6 was a guess, and even I didn't like my answers to 11.

The ones answered other than as he intended might be 13 and 15.

The unanswered questions are 3 and 12.

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