Executive Produder David Melnick*
Hosted by Dennis Wholey, Jack Barry
In 1969, there was much talk about the generation gap, so I suppose it isn’t surprising that it was the bases for a game show.
The concept was simple. You had two teams of three adults and three under-30s. The host would ask one team questions that would be well known to the people of the other team and see if they could answer. The other team would guess if the answering team would guest correctly.
So the younger generation would be asked questions about such things as big band music, while the older generation would be asked about such things as current fashion. It wasn’t just asking questions: most of the them were demonstrated on stage, often, in the case of musical acts and personalities, by the people involved.*
I watched it regularly when it first came out. It turned out I was better at answering the question about the older generation than my own, but I always was a student of history.
One of the more memorable moments was when one of the younger people were given an old-fashioned “knife” can opener and asked to open a can. In the time allowed, she could only figure out which end she was supposed to use.
The show was unusual in that it switched hosts in the middle of the run. Dennis Wholey was replaced with no explanation by Jack Barry. At the time, Barry had been off the air for a decade due to the quiz show scandals; his shows were in the middle of it all. Barry worked hard at cleaning up his reputation, and his stint in Generation Gap was his first work as a host since the scandal. He then moved on to host several other shows.
Generation Gap ran for 16 episodes before being killed by terrible ratings. I wish it could have gone on longer.
*I remember Pinky Lee was on it. He should have been way before my time, a big children’s entertainer whose career ended 1955 after he collapsed on stage. But a local TV station syndicated a new show of his in the 60s, so I was familiar with him.