Americana (game show)
|Created by||Martin Stone/NBC Television|
|Presented by||John Mason Brown (1947–1948)
Deems Taylor (1948)
Ben Grauer (1948–1949)
with Vivian Ferrer (1949)
|Narrated by||Dick Dudley
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Martin Stone Productions
|Original run||December 8, 1947– July 4, 1949|
Americana is a weekly game show which ran on NBC from December 8, 1947 to July 4, 1949. The series was originally hosted by literary critic John Mason Brown and produced by Martin Stone Productions with NBC Television. Each week's show was sponsored by Encyclopedia Americana. The 30-minute show aired Mondays at 8:10pm ET in the 1947-48 television season, and Mondays at 8:30pm ET in the 1948-49 season.
The quiz, whose slogan was "Your program about your country", involved five contestants (originally adults, changed to high school students by March 1949) answering viewer-submitted questions about American history. A panel of three actors would perform short skits (with either one actor or more in each), after which the contestants would try to answer the questions.
On January 21, 1948, Brown was replaced by composer and musical critic Deems Taylor, who only hosted that show and the January 28 episode. On February 4 he was replaced by Ben Grauer, who was at the time recognized for hosting Information Please on NBC Radio since 1938.
In 1949, Vivian Ferrer joined Grauer as co-host, likely remaining with the series through its end.
Americana was one of the first victims of wiping, a process that was continued by three of the four networks on the air at the time (DuMont rarely disposed of any material) through the late 1970s.
The March 14, 1949 episode is held by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Michael Keane, Dan Roberts, and Oscar Brand were the actors; Elliot Mendelson, Vivian Frost, Elizabeth Mulligan, Joan Moran, and Michael Drake were the contestants. Vivian Ferrer is not mentioned as co-host, implying that she had not been hired at this point.
The surviving episode has been confirmed to be the second-oldest television game show episode known to exist, the oldest being from the mid-1947 game Party Line hosted by Bert Parks (which is held on kinescope at the Library of Congress).
- "UCLA Archive: Americana". cinema.library.ucla.edu.
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