Barbara Feldon, One Of Us!

Today I learned, via @Reddit, that Barbara Feldon won the $64,000 Question in the Shakespeare category.

Ok, that is a very dated sentence, so let me break it down for everybody who is closer to my kids’ age than my own:

  1. Barbara Feldon played Agent 99 on a television show called Get Smart in the 1960s, which my generation would have been watching in re-runs.
  2. The $64,000 Question was a game-show that’s probably best compared to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  The big difference, however, is that you had to answer questions all from a specific category. To give an idea of just how notoriously difficult the game was? Bobby Fischer, generally considered one of the greatest chess players of all time, did not get past the audition round in the chess category.

This clip of Barbara Feldon explaining how she got on the show is wonderful on a number of levels:

“I’m not an expert on anything.”

“You know, on my dressing table was a copy of King Lear, because I’d been re-reading the plays…”

Not just reading, re-reading.

Not just any play, King Lear.

Not just that play, “the plays”.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks!

The actual $64,000 question she “won” on is forgotten – but she tells the story of the $128,000 question that eventually sent her home. Do you think you could answer it, if you hadn’t known it was coming?


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