Front Page Challenge

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Front Page Challenge was a long-running Canadian current events-cum-history program disguised as a game show. Created by comedy writer/performer John Aylesworth (of the comedy team of Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth) and produced and aired by CBC Television, the series ran from 1957 to 1995.



The series featured notable journalists attempting to guess the recent or old news story with which a hidden guest challenger was linked by asking him or her questions, in much the same manner as the American game shows, What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth. Each round of the game started with news footage that introduced the news story in question to the studio audience and home viewers out of earshot of the panelists. After the guest was identified and/or the news story determined, the journalists then interviewed the guest about the story or about achievements or experiences for which he or she was known. Unlike American quiz shows that steered clear of controversy in the 1950s and 1960s, Front Page Challenge seems to have been affected by just one censorship practice, that of avoiding four-letter words.[citation needed]

Guests came from all walks of life, including politicians like Pierre Trudeau and Indira Gandhi, crusaders like Malcolm X, sports figures like Gordie Howe, entertainers like Boris Karloff and Ed Sullivan, and writers like Upton Sinclair. From 1957 to 1979, the show featured many non-Canadians whose trips to Toronto, where the show usually originated then, were paid by the CBC. (Gandhi was even flown from India to Toronto in the 1960s at the CBC's expense.)[citation needed] Occasionally, guests were featured for their involvement in stories that had nothing to do with their celebrity status. For example, Karloff was featured because he served as a rescue worker following a devastating 1912 tornado in Regina, Saskatchewan, where he was appearing in a play many years before horror films made him famous.[citation needed] Jayne Mansfield appeared in late 1961 to represent the recent victory of British prime minister Harold Macmillan's Conservative Party in parliamentary elections.[citation needed] The American actress, whose high IQ was well-publicized,[citation needed] was filming a movie in the U.K. at the time of the decisive votes. Occasionally, the challenger was one of the panelists themselves, unbeknownst to the other three panelists. After the game, the relevant person simply moved to the guest seat for the interview.

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