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Author Doesn’t Play Around When It Comes to the History of Game Shows

Adam Nedeff proudly displays his game show memorabilia collection, including a fistful of Whammys from “Press Your Luck” plus a microphone befitting a game show lover

Smiling, tuxedoed host Chuck Barris appears on the cover of "Gong This Book," author Adam Nedeff's newest release.

“Gong This Book,” now on sale from BearManor Media, is the latest title in Adam Nedeff’s series of books about game show history.

Adam Nedeff at his laptop, with his collection of published titles in front of him; in the background, his friend Olive admires Adam’s collection

Adam Nedeff has authored 11 books about game shows and is now involved with a museum wing dedicated to the subject.

GLENDALE, CA, UNITED STATES, December 10, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — When Adam Nedeff watched game shows as a child, he wanted to know all the answers—not to the trivia questions. He wanted to know where the questions came from; who got the prizes; who came up with the ideas for the games; who picked the contestants; how the celebrities came up with those funny answers; how much that wheel weighed; how the host became the host. He now spends his adulthood collecting the answers to those questions, and turning them into 11 books about the history, and making, of TV game shows.

Already an unlikely choice of career, it began in equally unlikely circumstances: Nedeff served as Conan O’Brien’s tour guide on a visit to Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood for a segment of the comic’s TBS show.

“I already had a secret desire to write a book,” explains Nedeff, “just to prove to myself that I could. Two things happened during that segment—I got to strike up a conversation with Conan O’Brien about my obsession with game shows, and I actually said, out loud, ‘I’d like to write a book someday.’ And that’s something everybody says. ‘I’d like to write a book someday’ is the mating call of the guy with no sense of direction to his life. And I realized, now, since I had said it out loud, that meant I’d better do it, or else I’m just another guy.

“I also got 15 minutes of fame from being on the show. Fans would take photos with me at Madame Tussaud’s. And I decided I’d better jump on that. I used the 15 minutes of fame to make contact with the folks at BearManor Media and promote myself, and that got the ball rolling.”

Nedeff has since authored 11 books, including:

– “This Day in Game Show History”

-“Quizmaster: The Life and Times and Fun and Games of Bill Cullen”

-“The Matchless Gene Rayburn”

-“Game Shows FAQ”

-“Okay? Okay! Dennis James’ Lifetime of Firsts”

-“It’s More Than Password! The Life (and Wife) of Allen Ludden”

-“Monty Hall: TV’s Big Dealer”

“It’s More Than Password!,” his biography of Betty White’s husband who hosted the long-running “Password,” received what Nedeff calls “the ultimate endorsement.” In the last photo of Betty White posted on social media, a copy of the book is visible in front of the actress, on her coffee table.

His newest release is “Gong This Book,” a history of “The Gong Show” and a look at the life and career of its eccentric creator/host, Chuck Barris. Nedeff spoke to a number of Barris’ employees, all of whom shared warm memories of a boss that they remembered as generous and kind. Even though he had a job to do, Nedeff made it a point to thank his interviewees for their role in the shows he watched so devoutly as a child.

“I love game shows,” says Nedeff, “and the best part is, I guess, they love me back.”

Nedeff has since left the wax museum life and works behind-the-scenes on game shows. He’s served as a question researcher for over a dozen game shows, including “Double Dare,” “Master Minds,” “Split Second,” and “College Bowl.” He is also a researcher and archivist for the National Archives of Game Show History, a wing of the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. In this role, Nedeff helps catalog and gather props, set pieces, photographs, and other memorabilia from game shows past, and produces the museum’s series of oral histories with noteworthy figures from TV game shows.

Nedeff says, “There’s some truth to the memes on social media. When you see a picture of Bob Barker next to a picture of chicken noodle soup and somebody is posting about their sick days out of school, there’s really something to be said there about the fact that people depend on game shows for just a small bit of comfort during a rough time. It’s a chance for people to escape from whatever else is going on in the world, forget their troubles, and watch somebody win the car, the cash, and the washer/dryer. And if they happen to get a self-confidence boost for a few minutes because they solved the puzzle or blurted out the correct answer before the contestants on the screen, that’s a bonus.”

The prize money on game shows has opened new doors for the winners. William Peter Blatty lived off the $10,000 in cash he won on “You Bet Your Life” while he wrote a novel—”The Exorcist.” Kirstie Alley was a big winner on “Match Game” shortly before her acting career took off. Paul Reubens, a/k/a Pee-Wee Herman, credited his payday from “The Gong Show” with keeping him afloat financially as he developed his act in theatre productions.

Game shows also provide, as Nedeff likes to say, “recreational education.” People remember the tidbits that they hear on game shows. Nedeff says, “There’s a story that a family survived a tornado by gathering together in their bathtub, and the reason they got in the bathtub during a tornado is because one of them remembered hearing a question about that in ‘Hollywood Squares.’”

Nedeff says, “I was once a passenger in an Uber and the driver saw me wearing a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ pin. He told me the story of moving to the U.S. in the 1980s and watching ‘Wheel’ twice a day, because it helped him learn what the letters of the alphabet were called and hearing the solution to the puzzle helped him learn how those letters sounded when they were turned into words. There’s a wonderful extra benefit to that kind of light entertainment.”

Ben Ohmart
BearManor Media
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Originally published at https://www.einpresswire.com/article/674125815/author-doesn-t-play-around-when-it-comes-to-the-history-of-game-shows