Television game shows and memories from Emery Collegiate

By Claudio D'Intino

As a teenager in the 1970’s, I loved watching television game shows. My favourites were Reach for the Top, Jeopardy, Definition, Headline Hunters and the Buffalo TV quiz show as well as It’s Academic.

In 1979, while in Grade 12, I took two courses toward a Grade 13 diploma. In one class was Carol McCartney and in another class Maurizio Bevilacqua. Carol became Miss Toronto in 1978 and finished fourth in the Miss Canada pageant that was hosted by American, Jim Perry. Carol went on to record a vinyl album called Stop Foolin’ Around, a country album called “Let the Girl Drive” and jazz albums “Be Cool” and “A Night in Tunisia.” Bevilacqua, in 1984, became the personal assistant to MP Sergio Marchi, then becoming an MP for York North in 1988 and then mayor of Vaughan in 2010.

In 1980, I was on Emery’s team for the CBC show Reach For The Top. Our team lost to Northview Collegiate with a score of 280 to 175. CBC journalist Jan Tennant was the host from 1973 to 1983. She replaced Alex Trebek, who was host from 1966 to 1973. A month later, I became a contestant on the CTV weekly game show called Headline Hunters, hosted by Jim Perry. I won the game beating out two other contestants, a painter and a chiropractor. I remember announcer Dave Devall, telling me I won cash, a Brother Sewing Machine and an Orient Watch. The show first aired in 1981 and on reruns during the mid 1980’s.

Peter Morris, was the alternate on the Emery team for Reach for the Top. His mother, Ruth Morris was a writer and activist for poverty and justice. Peter, after completing his B.A. In English at the University of Toronto, moved to East Lansing, Michigan. In 1991, he became the first winner of the World Scrabble Championship. Peter Morris, is one of leading experts in the history of baseball. In 2006, he wrote the epic 2 volume title A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball. Peter Morris, has written several other books on baseball and has received the Harry Chadwick Award for his research.

Both Jim Perry and Alex Trebek, went on to host several American game shows. Alex Trebek hosted shows such as Wizard of Odds and High Rollers, and in 1984 become host of the Merv Griffin show, Jeopardy. Jim Perry, became host of Card Sharks and Sale of the Century. Dave Devall retired in 2009, after 48 years as the weatherman for CTV News Toronto.

A famous quote says, “The game of life has two participants, spectators and players. Pick one!” Being a player gave me some great memories.