Tuesday, November 17, 2009

R.I.P., Gen X Quizmaster Ken Ober

"The quizmaster of 72 Whooping Cough lane, Ken Ober!"

Ober was the unofficial game show host of Generation X, and his "Remote Control" helped usher in an age of programming on what previously had been a diet of music videos on MTV.

It's strange to think that the folks our generaton grew up with are already dying, but Ober, 52, passed away this weekend in Santa Monica. From the L.A. Times:

Lee Kernis of Brillstein Entertainment Partners, who represented Ober, confirmed the death but said the cause was unknown. According to Kernis, friends said Ober had been feeling ill with a headache and flu-like symptoms Saturday and did not meet them later as planned. An autopsy is planned.

Ober was a stand-up comic when he landed the job as host of “Remote Control” in 1987. On a basement set featuring college-age contestants and audience members, Ober introduced categories spanning the universe of TV reruns -- beginning with the old black-and-white days of "Car 54, Where Are You?" and "Mr. Ed" but returning again and again to "The Brady Bunch." If the players, who were strapped into garish reclining lounge chairs, answered correctly, they got to choose the next category. Those eliminated were ridiculed, then pitched backward in their chairs through the wall of the set.

You may also remember that Ober was paired with former "Brady Bunch" star Susan Olsen for a radio program on 97.1 KLSX, back when the station marketed itself as "Real Radio." More recently, Ober had been a TV writer for shows such as "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

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