Pick a Box

Pick a Box

Infobox Television
show_name = Pick a Box


caption =
show_name_2 =
genre = Game show
creator =
writer =
director =
creative_director =
developer =
presenter = Bob Dyer
starring =
voices =
narrated =
theme_music_composer =
opentheme =
endtheme =
composer =
country = AUS
language = English
num_seasons =
num_episodes = 900 (approx.)cite web|first=Andrew|last=Bayley|title=Aussie TV Game Shows|url=http://www.televisionau.com/gameshows.htm|publisher=televisionau.com|date=2006-07-29|accessdate=2008-02-19]
list_episodes =
executive_producer =
co_exec =
producer =
supervising_producer =
asst_producer =
co-producer =
editor =
story_editor =
location = ATN-7 studios, Sydney
cinematography =
camera =
runtime = 25 minutes
network = Seven Network
picture_format =
audio_format =
first_run =
first_aired = 2 March 1957
last_aired = 28 June 1971
preceded_by =
followed_by = "Ford Superquiz"
(1981 – 1982)
related =
website =
production_website =
imdb_id = 0872060
tv_com_id =

"Pick a Box" was one of first game shows to be broadcast on Australian television. Hosted by the husband and wife team Bob and Dolly Dyer, the program aired from 1957 to 1971.

History

Beginning initially as a radio program in 1948 on Sydney's 2GB, the program successfully made the move to the new mediam. The show debuted at nowrap|8:00 pm on Saturday 2 March 1957, less than one year after television was launched in Australia.

The program was filmed in the studios of Sydney's ATN-7 and as such was broadcast ATN-7 and Melbourne's GTV-9 who were initially affiliated. This changed however when Frank Packer, owner of TCN-9 bought a controlling share of GTV-9 and formed the National Television Network which later became the Nine Network. As a result, ATN-7 and HSV-7 later came together to form the Australian Television Network now known as the Seven Network. [cite web|first=Brooklyn|last=Ross-Hulands|title=Seven Network 1960s|url=http://www.austvhistory.com/seven/60s.htm|publisher=AusTVHistory|accessdate=2008-02-19] The affiliations changes meant that "Pick a Box" became part of the newly formed network.

The program was initially broadcast on Saturday nights and sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive. Three years later on 4 July 1960, the show was moved to Monday nights at nowrap|7:00 pm and was sponsored by BP. [cite news|first=Mark|last=McGinness|title=An elegant and affable TV sidekick|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/Obituaries/An-elegant-and-affable-TV-sidekick/2005/02/14/1108229928709.html|publisher="The Sydney Morning Herald"|date=2005-02-15|accessdate=2008-02-19]

Dyer, who produced and packaged the show for the Seven Network, decided in 1969 that it was time to start thinking about ending the show. After approximately 900 episodes, "Pick a Box" broadcast it's final episodes on 28 June 1971. [cite journal|first=Howard|last=Dudding|title=Bob Dyer, TV legend|year=1978|url=http://www.geocities.com/televisioncity/studio/3361/trial.html|publisher="TV Week"|accessdate=2008-02-19] As they owned the program, the Dyers then reviewed most of the archived episodes - kept a few as souvenirs and discarded most of them. The couple then retired to Queensland where Bob pursued his other great love, fishing.

Format

The format for each episode consisted of two contestants participating in a five-question trivia quiz, with the second contestant wearing sound-proof headphones while the first was being questioned. The contestant who correctly answered the most questions, was invited to choose from one of a number of boxes. Without disclosing the box's contents (which could be either valuable or a booby prize), Dyer would offer the contestant a cash payment in lieu of the prize. Here appears one of the program's catch phrases, "The money or the box?"

To increase the risk/suspense, he would sometimes offer increasing amounts of cash to contestants who chose the box. After receiving the cash or prize, contestants had the option of leaving the show undefeated, or returning to play for more prizes, at the risk of losing those already won. [cite web|first=Edy|last=Syquer|title=Pick a Box|url=http://www.geocities.com/televisioncity/studio/3361/trial.html|publisher=Unofficial Australian Game Shows website|accessdate=2008-02-19]

This format remained largely unchanged throughout its entire run.

Famous contestants

The first contestant to make a name for himself was Ken Eccleston. Eccleston gained instant fame over 10 weeks in 1958 when he achieved what was then the longest win on the program. After claiming the official title of "Mr Pick a Box" during a closely fought contest with Melbourne entrant George Morris, Eccleston retired from the game with a total of AU£3873/5. [cite news|title=One of our first quiz heroes|url=http://www.geocities.com/televisioncity/studio/3361/pickaboxwri2.html|publisher="The Sydney Morning Herald"|date=1993-01-20|accessdate=2008-02-19]

Two other famous contestants were Frank Partridge, the last Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross in World War 2, and George Black, who went on to become a question writer for the show. [Jones, Barry (2005) "A Thinking Reed", Crows Nest, Allen & Unwin]

However, by far the program's most successful contestant was Barry Jones, who won a total 208 episodes spanning eight years between 1960 and 1967 and won over AU$58000. Jones later went on to become a member of the Parliament of Victoria and later of the Federal Parliament, a minister in the Hawke government, and President of the Australian Labor Party.

See also

* List of Australian game shows
* List of Australian television series

References

External links

*
* [http://www.memorabletv.com/australia/tvap.htm#PICK-A-BOX "Pick a Box"] at memorabletv.com


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