News of the Week: Jeopardy Screws Up! Mr. Peanut Dies! A Bold Super Bowl Prediction!

In the news for the week ending January 31, 2020, are a game show mistake, an odd logo, a dead peanut, top-of-the-line football snacks, and more.

(Ryan J. Thompson / Shutterstock)

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Fax Me

I know there are a lot of serious issues in the world right now. That coronavirus. The impeachment trial. Harry and Meghan moving to Canada. But I’d like to start off this week’s column with a controversy that should be getting more attention: Jeopardy’s Faxgate.

On Tuesday’s episode of the quiz show, there was a question about phrases on heart candies. One of the answers (well, questions) was “What is Fax Me?” The first contestant buzzed in and answered “What is Beep Me?” Host Alex Trebek said that was wrong. The next contestant buzzed in and said “What is Page Me?” That was deemed correct.

I’m sure millions of heads were being scratched at that moment because a “page” is not the same thing as a “fax” at all. Not only that, even if you think it is, then why wasn’t the first contestant’s answer of “beep” accepted? If I remember my 1990s tech correctly, a “beep” is the same thing as a “page.”

I don’t know if this error changed the ultimate outcome of the game (the defending champion who was credited with the correct answer won the game, though it wasn’t a runaway), but I think it’s serious enough for the show to think about asking the other two contestants back at a later date.

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Space Force: The Final Frontier

They had several logos to choose from for the new Space Force, but they decided to go with one that looks very similar to the one used on a certain TV show.

I Hope Tony the Tiger Gives the Eulogy

Mr. Peanut’s funeral will air during the Super Bowl. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Did you hear the 104-year-old Planters mascot died? The selfless legume saved the lives of actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh, who were driving with him for some reason, when an accident sent them over a cliff. He let go of a breaking branch and plummeted to his death in a big explosion (as if the fall alone wasn’t enough to kill him).

MoonPie believes Peanut (if I can call him that) survived the fall, and I agree. At some point we’ll find out that he’s still alive, a little toastier-looking than before because of the fire. Maybe Planters is coming out with a new “Extra Crispy Peanuts” product line and needs a darker, crunchier Peanut.

In related news, they killed off Nancy Drew too. The Hardy Boys are on the case.

Speaking of Peanuts …

I quit Twitter six years ago. One of these days I’m going to stop lurking.

I saw this on Chappell Ellison’s page. She had a tweet about one of the minor characters in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. His name — and I’m not kidding — is 555 95472, or 5 for short. He has twin sisters named 3 and 4, and his parents are 1 and 2 (naturally). He made his first appearance in the comic strip in 1963 and his last in 1983. You might not know him by his number … er, name … but you’ve certainly seen him. He’s been in some of the movies and TV specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas. He’s the kid doing the weird head bobbing dance. His sisters, dressed in purple, are dancing next to him.

Schulz drew some cartoons for the Post before Peanuts made their debut in 1950. The cartoons don’t have any official titles, but they are very similar to the Li’l Folks strips he was doing at the time.

RIP Kobe Bryant, John Karlen, Sonny Grosso, Marj Dusay, Bob Shane, Jack Burns, and Harriet Frank, Jr.

Kobe Bryant helped the Los Angeles Lakers win five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star, and the 2008 MVP. He also won an Oscar for writing and narrating the 2017 Best Animated Short Film Dear Basketball. The 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with seven other passengers.

John Karlen played Tyne Daly’s husband on Cagney & Lacey and Willie Loomis on the original Dark Shadows, among other roles since the late ’50s. He died last week at the age of 86.

Sonny Grosso was the New York City cop whose career inspired the Gene Hackman movie The French Connection. He also produced and wrote many TV shows and movies. He died last month at the age of 89.

Marj Dusay appeared on many soap operas, including The Guiding Light and All My Children. She also appeared on Star Trek, The Odd Couple, The Facts of Life, Barnaby Jones, and Murder, She Wrote, as well as movies like MacArthur and Sweet November. She died Tuesday at the age of 83.

Bob Shane was the last surviving member of the Kingston Trio, famous for such songs as “Scotch and Soda,” “Tom Dooley,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” He died Sunday at the age of 85.

Jack Burns was one half of comedy duos with George Carlin and later Avery Schreiber, and the man who (temporarily) took over for Don Knotts when Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show. He appeared in and wrote for many other shows and specials and co-wrote The Muppet Show (which he created with Jim Henson) and The Muppet Movie. He died Monday at the age of 86.

Harriet Frank, Jr. co-wrote with her husband Irving Ravetch the screenplays for such films as Norma Rae, Hud, Murphy’s Romance, The Sound and the Fury, and The Long, Hot Summer. She also wrote several stories for The Saturday Evening Post, including “Young and Pampered” and “Beauty and the Beatnik.” She died Tuesday at the age of 96.

Quote of the Week

“We thought she was sick. Turns out she’s just a jerk.”

—Mitchell County Animal Rescue on the “world’s worst cat,” now up for adoption

This Week in History

The Guiding Light Premieres on NBC Radio (January 25, 1937)

I watched this soap for 30 years — don’t judge me — from around 1979 until it went off the air in 2009. It’s the longest-running soap opera in TV history and the fifth-longest TV show overall, starting in 1952. Before that, it was a radio show that ran from 1937 to 1956 (it was on both radio and TV for 19 years). It originally focused on the Reverend Dr. John Ruthledge and the Holden family of Five Points, a town near Chicago. The action later moved to Selby Flats, California, and eventually to Springfield, with the Bauer family taking center stage.

Much like the Springfield on The Simpsons, I don’t think they ever officially disclosed which state it was in, though it was somewhere in the Midwest.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Born (January 30, 1882)

It may seem odd to modern voters, but Roosevelt was voted into a fourth term as President in 1944. His final term was cut short when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage just five months later. Vice President Harry S. Truman took over.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Gathering Wood (January 27, 1951)

Gathering Wood

A few seconds later, the jerk cat in this John Clymer illustration tripped the guy carrying all the wood and he sprained his ankle.

Super Bowl LIV

The big game (and the big commercials) air on Fox at 6:30 p.m. The pre-game starts four and a half hours earlier. You’ll need food.

If you’re a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, try these Kansas City Baked Beans, these Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches, or these Cherry Mash Truffles. If you’re rooting for San Francisco, how about a Cable Car Cocktail, some Cioppino, or these Ghirardelli Stuffed Brownie Sundaes?

I don’t know much about football, but here’s my bold prediction for the game: 49ers 28, Chiefs 24. Please don’t make any bets based on this.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Groundhog Day (February 2)

If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, winter sticks around for another six weeks. If he doesn’t, spring comes early. I’m sure it’s all very scientific.

Norman Rockwell Born (February 3)

The Post’s most popular artist did his first cover illustration for the magazine in 1916. His last cover, a reprint of a 1960 cover, appeared in 1963.

Featured image: Ryan J. Thompson / Shutterstock

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  1. Well Bob, the game did not disappoint (me) at all, nor did Halftime. The commercials once again, did. Even the ones I liked last week from the previews weren’t good during the game, because they were shorter and all ran into each other like a crash pile-up!

    Many of the ads were indistinguishable over-stimulation saturation, combined with being one-after-the-other, that very few ‘stuck’ it was so numbing. Air time is SO ridiculously expensive for Super Bowl ads that are one-shot spots to begin with, basically never to be seen again, that the situation is all the MORE sad and ironic. A few (like Google) might be shown again for awhile. It seems like the advertisers are paying a lot more money every year for what arguably has to be diminishing returns overall.

  2. I think you’re right, Bob. In the ’90s if you got a ‘beep’ you were being ‘paged’ so it’s kind of a judgement call. So is killing Mr. Peanut, for that matter. It’s a marketing ploy by Planters to get attention for the peanuts, possibly as a prelude to what you said. To actually kill him off would be comparable to Pillsbury doing the same to the dough boy; a REALLY bad idea.

    I’ve already seen a good many of the upcoming Super Bowl ads. Quibi, no. McDonald’s, clever. Dashlane with its password hell on the river Styx makes me want to check it out. Snickers? So corny it’s wonderful. Weather Tech, Google and Amazon all really good. Listen, they’re a better batch than in the last couple of years, PLUS we have J Lo to enjoy at Halftime whether the game stinks or not. I say let’s watch!!

    Horrible about Kobe’s helicopter crash killing everyone on board. It was doomed at take off. Marj Dusay was an excellent, under-rated actress. John Karlen was a key player in making the original, only-possible-in-the-’60s experimental ‘Dark Shadows’ the hit show it was, and remains. Only the 1991 short-lived revival with Ben Cross and Barbara Steele came close to it. The unwatchable, desecrating 2012 Johnny Depp film sent his career into the toilet, ending his run as Tim Burton and Disney’s male whore of choice for their films which frankly, all he was at that point anyway.

    There’s supposed to be yet another revival attempt of DS for the ’20-’21 season on the CW. It likely will fail too. The success of the original show was THAT cast, writers, producers, directors, etc. at THAT time, the ’60s!!! The End!!! Thanks for running the John Clymer cover; beautiful!


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