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Arts & Culture

The Strong Museum starts an archive of TV game show history

The Strong Museum

The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester is a regional favorite that highlights the many ways people have fun, including toys and electronic and video games. Now you can add TV game shows to that mix.

The co-founders of the new National Archives of Game Show History are two people who have been in the industry for a long time: Howard Blumenthal and Bob Boden.

Among the shows that Blumenthal helped create is the PBS kids game show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" Boden is executive producer of "Funny You Should Ask," and was involved in overseeing a number of other game shows.

Blumenthal said that when he started talking to officials at The Strong, he saw a natural fit between his interests and the museum’s goals.

“I think game shows are an important part of pop culture, you guys focus on play in many, many different ways. We should probably talk about doing something together, that something became the National Archives of Game Show History at the Strong National Museum of Play,” Blumenthal said.

That new archive at The Strong will focus on acquiring materials from many producers, performers, and other staff members who have been involved in game show development. The Strong will also produce video interviews with some of the key creators, producers, hosts and iconic contestants.

Ken Jennings, the winner of the "Jeopardy!" Greatest of All Time tournament and a recent guest host, said that he is “delighted by this new effort to take game shows seriously and to archive and preserve their history.”

Howard Blumenthal, co-founder of the National Archives of Game Show History at The Strong Museum.
Credit The Strong Museum

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Wink Martindale, host of "Gambit," "High Rollers" and "Tic Tac Dough," said, “It is wonderful to hear about the National Archives of Game Show History stepping up to capture and preserve the legacy of game shows. Without this initiative, many primary resources relating to these shows, as well as oral histories of their creators and talent, risked being lost forever.”

Blumenthal said that he and Boden will have an ongoing involvement in The Strong’s new National Archives of Game Show History “where we’re the principal contact with the industry, and the principal contact with the museum. And we hope to building something that people will make use of from a scholarly and curiosity perspective, but also something that will be fun.”

Blumenthal said that his roots in game show history go back a long time. His father, Norm Blumenthal, was an early producer of the long running TV game show "Concentration."

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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