Tuesday, November 9, 2004


November 8th, 2004 would have been my father's 75th birthday. I marked it by having breakfast with my cousin Maggie and her husband Ed before they left by train to Florida, and then I went to the ABC studios to watch a taping of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'.

They say that there are two things which you should never see being made - laws and sausages. In my novel-in-progress about Toobworld, I added "TV shows" to that group. But I was lucky in this case, as the whole proceedings went by painlessly enough.

I was invited by a fellow Iddiot, Brian-El, who was going to be auditioning that day for a chance to be a contestant on some future episode. I was seated on the aisle in the last row up, but behind Meredith Viera, so there's a good chance I may be seen when they do audience shots.

During the audience warm-up, comic Paul Michael Mercurio singled me out, claiming that I wasn't giving him anything during the reaction practices. He wanted to hear a "ha-HA!" from me and I obliged him with a "ha-HA!" that would have made Nelson Muntz proud - if he had been a pirate. I may have scared off Mercurio, but the audience gave me a nice round of applause.

Sitting at home, the game doesn't look all that hard, and from the audience it doesn't seem any more difficult. I'm sure though that it's quite a different story once you're seated opposite Meredith.

Still, I couldn't believe the questions for which they needed help from the audience, or phoned a friend, or missed completely, or even just walked away from. But then again, I would have been wrong when it came to identifying the culminating celebration of the High Holiday period in the Jewish faith. (The answer was "Yom Kippur" and even with the "50-50" elimination, I would still have gone with Rosh Hashanah. But what do I know? I'm a lapsed Catholic; I don't even know all of my Holy Days of Obligation. Or, as we say in the O'Brien Clan, "O'Bligation".)

The two episodes I watched were the 499th and the 500th. (Quite frankly, I didn't even realize it was still on the air.)

It seems that whenever I go to shows and sit in the audience, there's something epochal about them. My friend Scully and I were in the audience for the 100th episode of 'The Late Show With David Letterman' and we can be seen getting copies of Dave's vacation picture from the Letterman Himself.

This show, even if I show up on screen or not, has no bearing on my own personal quest to join my own TV Crossover Hall of Fame. First off, I'd be pretty desperate to include it unless I was the actual contestant.

But I am already well qualified to induct myself. (Oh, is THAT what they call it now?)

1] I was made a citizen of Joyville on 'The Hap Richards Show' and I still have the original document to prove it.
2] I appeared on 'The Ranger Station' and proudly proclaimed myself as "Toby Hans-# O'Brien". (My cousin, Laurie Hansen, had just given her name before me and I was suffering stage fright.)
3] At many of the hockey games when Gerry Miller was a player, I was often seen in the stands as a hockey fan. (The TV movie 'The Deadliest Season'.)

These two episodes of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' won't be seen until March 24th and March 25th, 2005, so make your plans accordingly!

One nice bit of Toobworld cross-pollination: one question was about a celebrity who answered the jury questionaire with "I have been a resident of Chicago since 1983, and I have a little talk show."

The contestant, David the Drum Major, pointed out that he watches the show every day when he should be at work instead, and so he knew it was "Oprah". Meredith Viera then demanded to know if he watched 'The View'. Ya gotta be smart to be on this show, so of course David said yes!

By the way, they announced during one of the breaks that my brother Iddiot Brian-El (aka Brian Leonard) passed the auditions and will be a future contestant on the show.

As we say around Toobworld Central, Mazel Tob!


Tele-Toby Hans-#

No comments: