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A “REALITY” CHECK

by Blue Sullivan Through programming successes like “American Idol” (still the most watched series on television in the United States), “reality TV” has grown to be a huge part of the programming broadcast on both cable and network television. The emergence of reality programming as one of the most successful and profitable genres found on television would seem to suggest this is a relatively new invention. Actually, it stretches all the way back to the 1940s. Here we’ll recount a little about the history of this style of show, along with some things you might not know about reality programs in America and worldwide. • In 1948, the first “reality show” aired. It was Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera,” a precursor to MTV’s popular prank show “Punk’d” (currently hosted by pop superstar Justin Bieber and a revolving rotation of young entertainers). Unlike “Punk’d,” which focuses on pranks played on celebrities, “Candid Camera” featured mild pranks played on everyday individuals, and captured their reactions. turn the page for more! WANT TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

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A “REALITY” CHECK (continued):

• “Candid Camera” actually emerged from another “reality show” from another medium, a 1947 radio version with the same concept called “Candid Microphone.” • “Candid Camera” was followed after each broadcast by another pioneer of reality TV, the Ted Mack talent search show, “Original Amateur Hour.” Ted Mack’s show televised amateurs competing before a live audience, who chose the winner. It was the first example of public voting determining the outcome of a TV show, predating “Idol” by decades. • The longest running reality show in the United States is “Cops,” which has been gracing our sets since 1989. • MTV likes to tout its series “The Real World” (a success since the early ‘90s and still going strong) as the father of what most think of as modern reality TV, but that distinction probably goes to PBS’ “An American Family.” The 1973 series followed a family as they went through a divorce. • “An American Life” was so influential that it inspired a well-reviewed cinematic satire by comedian and filmmaker, Albert Brooks. 1979’s “Real Life” follows a filmmaker (played by Brooks) who is so inspired by the success of the PBS series that he tries to replicate it with a different family, with unexpectedly dire results. • The incidence of reality programming on TV today is higher than it has ever been. One in four programs in primetime is reality based. In addition to its popularity with audiences, the genre is popular with TV executives for its cost-saving benefits. The average reality show costs about $500,000 per episode, compared to $2 million for a sitcom.

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• Although reality TV has been a viable genre for over six decades, it’s taken a while for the Emmys to take notice. The first award in the genre, “Outstanding RealityCompetition Series,” was given in 2003 to “The Amazing Race.” • In 2008, an additional category was added honoring “Best Reality TV Show Host.” It went to “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, who has since become a repeat winner in the category. • Reality shows aren’t just influential in the United States. Singer Susan Boyle’s 2009 audition on the UK’s popular show “Britain’s Got Talent” has been viewed 120 million times on YouTube. • Reality television has also reached the Muslim world. In 2010, a show called “Imam Muda” pitted contestants in a variety of challenges. These challenges included tests of Islamic theory, the counseling of teenagers and the recitation of the Quran. The winner received a job as an Imam, along with a free scholarship in Saudi Arabia and a new car. • The most popular reality show in the United States is “American Idol,” but few know its origins. “Idol” was created in the ‘90s by Simon Fuller. Fuller rose to prominence as the manager, and some would say manufacturer, of pop sensation The Spice Girls. He was so important to the group’s success that the British press dubbed him “Svengali Spice.” When the group suddenly fired him, Fuller devised a way to create a group over which he had full control, thus “Idol” was born. • “American Idol” was actually supposed to be an online show when Fuller created it in 1997. However, the lack of high-speed internet in most homes made the idea unfeasible, so Fuller went to television to broadcast his idea instead. • “American Idol” is actually a spin-off of a similar program in Great Britain called “Pop Idol.” After agreeing to be one of the judges on the upstart American version, Simon Cowell nearly quit in the last week before the first episode aired. Cowell worried that his confrontational, distinctly British personality would not work with American audiences.

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A “REALITY” CHECK (continued):

• In the nonfiction book “American Idol: The Untold Story,” author Richard Rushfield interviewed Cowell about his nearly quitting the show before it ever aired. Cowell said, “I remember calling my lawyer, and I said, ‘I don’t want to do it. I haven’t signed the contract. Get me out of it.” • Fortunately, Fox producers managed to talk Cowell out of abandoning the show. They convinced him he’d have “free rein” and wouldn’t need to alter his abrasive persona for American viewers. One other judge did back out at the last moment, however. Originally, the show was to feature four hosts, but a Los Angeles radio DJ named Stryker quit the show at the last minute. • Stryker was worried the “cheesy singing contest” would hurt his image. With no time to recast, the show decided to go with three judges instead. In an ironic coincidence, Stryker later served as the house DJ for the daytime talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres was briefly added as a fourth judge on “American Idol.” • “Idol” fixture Ryan Seacrest nearly wasn’t on the show as well. After being chosen for the show, contract negotiations stalled between the network and Seacrest’s father, who served as his manager. Seacrest signed his contract mere hours before the first episode was shot.

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FAMOUS LANDMARKS OF THE WORLD:

USS Arizona Memorial

A cornerstone of World War II, the USS Arizona Memorial sees more than a million visitors every year come from around the world to pay reverence to the battle of Pearl Harbor. • Located around two miles west of the Honolulu Airport, the USS Arizona Memorial is on the island of Oahu. • Managed by the National Park Service, the USS Arizona Memorial consists of the actual memorial along with a shore-side visitor center. • During the battle of Pearl Harbor, around 1,777 crewman lost their lives on the USS Arizona, and it is the burial ground of almost all of them. • Of all the ships on Battleship Row affected by the attack, the USS Arizona was the most heavily damaged with four direct hits. A total of 12 ships were sunk and nine damaged during the battle. • Construction of the USS Arizona began in 1914 in New York; the ship was originally called battleship number 39. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Arizona’s first hit came at approximately 8:10 a.m. • The Memorial is part of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which also includes the USS Oklahoma Memorial, USS Utah Memorial and other historic quays and bungalows. • The Memorial is accessible only by boat, and The Memorial Tour is about 75 minutes long. Tickets are free. They do, however, go rather quickly and usually run out by 12 p.m. on most days. • With the recent revitalization of the Visitor Center, the total area of the Memorial is about 17 acres. The Memorial site itself is 184 feet long. • The Memorial consists of three sectors: the entryway, general area (designed for observation) and the shrine room, which houses a marble wall engraved with the names of all those who lost their lives. • Construction of the Memorial began in 1949, was completed in 1961, and it was dedicated in May 1962. • Alfred Preis was the Memorial’s architect. He says of the Memorial’s design, “The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses... his innermost feelings.” • Visitors frequently drop flowers into the water in honor of those who lost their lives. • A photograph taken of the USS Arizona in the aftermath of the attack was plastered across the front pages of newspapers and soon became the image that most Americans associated with Pearl Harbor. • Although it’s been more than 70 years since the fall of the battleship, oil still leaks from ruptured bunkers. • The Memorial and Pearl Harbor are two of the top tourist destinations in Hawaii. • The Visitor Center is open every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is only closed three days a year — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. • Although security has been heightened since the September 11, 2001, attacks, personal cameras are still allowed, but purses, personal bags, backpacks, etc. are prohibited. Baggage storage is available.

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STRANGE BUT TRUE By Samantha Weaver

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● It was German-American painter and lithographer Herm Albright who made the following sage observation: “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” ● It’s well-known that there were shortages of many items during World War II -- and caffeine was one. It was such a problem, in fact, that the chemists at Coca-Cola tried to find a substitute, even experimenting with a derivative of bat guano. The idea was nixed by an executive who was afraid of the public backlash if the truth ever came out. ● Just as a group of birds is called a flock, a group of frogs is called an army. ● Ever wonder why a barber pole has red and white stripes? It’s a rather grisly tale. At one time barbers did more than cut hair; they sometimes performed marriages and baptisms, served as dentists and even performed surgery. When engaged in the medical work, any excess blood was soaked up by white towels, which were often hung up on a pole outside to dry. As the wind wrapped the towel around the pole, it created a design of red and white stripes. ● The 1982 film “Gandhi,” which was awarded eight Oscars, including the one for best picture, used a whopping 300,000 extras. ● Toilet paper was first introduced in the United States in 1857, but the idea didn’t take off -- the paper being offered was evidently too much like the paper in the Sears catalog, which is what most people used at the time. ● The most popular perfume in the world is Chanel No. 5. *** Thought for the Day: “Always forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” -- Robert Kennedy (c)2010 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Windmill Manor Proudly Presents Senior News Line by Matilda Charles

Baby, It’s Hot Outside High summer temperatures can take a toll on seniors. Our circulation isn’t what it used to be. Add in some of the drugs we take that might have a diuretic effect, and dehydration can be a potential danger. The trick is to stay hydrated -- and cool. Staying hydrated means to drink enough water. Other drinks don’t count because sugar and caffeine drinks can be dehydrating in themselves. If you leave the house, take a water bottle with you. Ask your doctor how much you should drink per hour during heat waves, and follow his advice to make sure there is no conflict with any medication you’re on. Set a timer if you need to remember when to drink more water. If you have air conditioning, use it. If you have fans, use those. If you don’t have fans, call your local fire department (on the non-emergency number) or your town offices and ask whether anyone is giving away fans. If you don’t have a way to stay cool, spend a few hours at the library, senior center, the mall or movie theater, especially in the afternoon. Even three or four hours per day in a cool environment can go a long way to keeping you healthy. Close the curtains on the sunny side of the house. Open windows for a breeze. Wear loose, light-colored clothing. If you must wear a hat, be sure the top of your head can breathe. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare. During heat waves, it’s a good idea to do a phone check on elderly friends to be sure they’re handling the heat. Ask them to check on you a few times a day as well.

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“NATIONAL” WORDSIA(continued): Cedar Rapids, 52402 • French: Chefs know what it means to 319-892-0284 www.pastoralcarecentercr.com “french” a food item. It’s a verb that means to cut into thin strips, like, well, french fries. (And yes, that’s how the finger-friendly poSaving a Life from a Catastrophe tato every dish tookminutes! its name.) Green beans are 11 another item commonly prepared in this manner.

I live

• Maltese: These tiny spaniels are easy to identify thanks to their long, silky coats. The American Kennel Club groups them with other “Toy Dogs” like Pugs and butYorkshire Terriers. . Feline aficionados . also use the term Maltese to describe cats that have a similarly silky, grayOne touch of a button blue coat.

alone

I’m never alone I have

sends help 24/7. things • Colombian: This term fast, means different to different people, depending on how you get your “jones.” Narcotics dealers may refer to their products as Colombian, although the Foractual a source brochure call: Luckily, the is often unknown. majority of us prefer a bit of legal Colombian, as in the coffee grown in the South American nation. The prevalence of coffee shops throughout America is proof enough that many of us just can’t get along in the morning without a hot cup of Colombian.

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• Chinese: The generic term “chinese” now represents types of food that are very different from the meals that are (or ever were) served in China. That said, the same argument could be made about what we consider “American” food. Hamburgers? Ice cream? Hot dogs? Pizza? Our national favorites seem to have originated everywhere except in the United States! Information in the Tidbits® Paper is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

Can’t Get Enough

TRILOGY III

(Alabama residents LIMITED EDITION BOOK SET please add $1 sales tax.) Reprints of Books I, II & III WHILE THEY LAST!

The Tidbits® Paper is a division of Tidbits Media, Inc. · Montgomery, AL 36106

1Q2009 :: Wk 03 :: Jan 11 - Jan 17 :: Pg. 8 All Rights Reserved · Copyright © 2009 Tidbits Media, Inc.

Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send email to columnreply@gmail.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

Reality TV actually started on the radio with Candid Camera precursor Candid Microphone in 1947.

?

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Look for puzzle answers on page 8.


August 1st 2012

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Hawkeye Publishing LLC considers it’s advertisers reliable and verifies as much data as possible. Consequently, readers using this information do so at their own risk. It is suggested that the investors contact the appropriate consumer agency before sending payment. Although persons and companies mentioned herein are ® believed to be reputable, neither Tidbits of Linn county publication, Hawkeye Publishing L.L.C., The Nations Online Listings nor any of it’s employees accept any responsibility whatsoever for their actions. For more information about credit scams and advanced fee loans write: FTS Washington, DC 20580

Get The Picture? Since we spent some time on the stars of reality television, it seems appropriate to allot a little space to the medium that provided them stardom. Here are a few interesting pieces of information about the invention that helped shape the modern age. • The first displayed image on a television was only 30 grainy lines. It was displayed in the year 1926 by J.L. Baird. The digital image currently seen on our TV sets is nearly 35 times as dense. In addition to being a much clearer image, the digital signal of modern televisions is 1,080 lines. • Until late last year, the largest plasma TV available for purchase was a 103-inch plasma sold by Panasonic. It comes at the budget-unfriendly (except for the fabulously wealthy) price of $70,000. • However, Panasonic unveiled an even larger one at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show (known as the “Super Bowl of Technology”) in Las Vegas. The 152inch Panasonic 3D Plasma TV can be had by the true television connoisseur for $500,000. • July 1, 1941, marked the broadcast of the very first advertisement in TV history. It occurred prior to a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Brooklyn Dodgers. • The ad for Bulova Watches was 20 seconds long. The price for those 20 seconds of airtime was only $9. • To put it in perspective, in 2008, a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl broadcast went for $2.7 million. It was the most expensive airtime in the world to that point. • The shortest TV commercial ever produced was for a Canadian music and video channel called MuchMusic. It was created by a Canadian named Tharanga Ramanayake. He produced 12 different versions of the commercial. Each of these was a half a frame long. That’s the equivalent of 1/60th of a second! Even those with the shortest attention spans would have a pretty hard time registering that. The first of these micro-commercials was aired on January 2, 2002. • The current struggle over piracy that has been the focus of the music, movie and gaming industries is by no means the first piracy issue addressed in the courts. In 1970, when Sony first began selling video cassette recorders (or VCRs) capable of recording shows off television, they were sued by the film studios for copyright infringement. Years later, Sony would be vindicated by the Supreme Court. • The two longest-running talk shows in the history of television are found in Ireland and the United States. “The Tonight Show” in America is the longest running, still going strong since first airing in 1954. The second longest is the “Late Late Show” of Ireland. It’s been on since 1962. • The youngest-ever TV host of his own show is in Australia. It’s Luis Tanner, the presenter of “Cooking for Kids with Luis” on that country’s Nickelodeon channel. Though he’s 13 years old now, the first episode of Luis’ weekly show aired when he was just six years old!


1st

August 1st 2012

e Av

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-Tidbits® The paper that readers of all ages can enjoy-

Hawkeye Publishing, L.L.C. www.tidbitpapers.com For Advertising E-mail: kevin@tidbitpapers.com or Call (319) 270-2961

Diagon

sion

800,000

ar on

ted

aker to

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A french fry walks into the bar and says to the bartender, “Hey, could I get a beer please?” The bartender looks at him, shaking his head, and says, “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

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29/1966 953 Don’t forget our Clearance corner : Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 319-826-1835 9/1936 34 1. “The Mary Kay and Johnny Show,” 1947 936 Mickey 1958 Q: What do you call2. a boomerang thatMouse 1932 doesn’3. t work? Franklin D. Roosevelt 77 4. “The Simpsons” 1. This show featured the first television A: A5. stickChevrolet A french fry walks into the bar and says couple to share a bed. to the bartender, “Hey, could I get a beer 2. This animated character received 800,000 fan letters in 1933. please?” 3. He was theIN first president to appear on MOMENTS TIME The bartender looks at him, shaking his ● On July 30, 1976, American Bruce television. Channel The History Onsays, July 1715, head,●and “Sorry,31, we don’t serve a hurricane strikes the Jenner wins gold in the decathlon at the 4. This is the longest running animated ● On Aug. 5, 1858,showthe first telegraph linefoodeast in TV history. here.” coast of Florida, sinking 10 Spanish Montreal Olympics and sets a world record treasure ships carrying tons of gold and in the event. After his win, Jenner was 5. This company was theisfirst completed. automaker to across the Atlantic Ocean advertise on TV. silver coins and killing nearly 1,000 people.

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Four British and American vessels met voted the 1976 AP Male Athlete of the 1. Season 8 of “American Idol” introduced and successfully laid 2,000 About 80 percent of the treasures was Year. The 1976 Olympics was his last in mid-ocean en which notnew judge? miles of cable, often at a depth of more recovered within a year, but the rest re- decathlon. ce your © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc. mained lost until the 1960s. than miles. 2. Which popular reality show2followed a 3rd Quarter 2012 ywhere husband and wife with eight children? Playing

al watts. ine (as games t 1,753 that in energy

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The first moon landing was seen on television by over 600 million people. When Elvis Presley performed in Martina McBride 7/29/1966 Geddy Lee 7/29/1953 Hawaii in early 1973, it was watched 1. Kara DioGuardi Elizabeth Dole 7/29/1936 by one billion people worldwide. To Bud Selig 7/30/1934 give you an idea of how well-watched 2. “Jon and Kate Buddy PlusGuy8”7/30/1936 the Elvis special was, it’s estimated Mark Cuban 7/31/1958 that over half the United States was Peter O’ Toole 8/2/1932 watching, 40 percent of the people Tom Brady 8/3/1977 in Japan, and 91 percent of the population of the Philippines!

ANSWERS

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1. “The Mary Kay and Johnny Show,” 1947 2. Mickey Mouse 3. Franklin D. Roosevelt 4. “The Simpsons” 5. Chevrolet

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