Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thanks, Sophie!

The creator of "It's Academic", Sophie Altman, has died at the tender age of 95. If you can even manage to live to 95, God bless you, but Sophie continued to produce the high school quiz show at Channel 4 until just three weeks before her death! Thousands of America's brightest scholars got their starts on It's Academic, and the roster has also included an astronaut, two U.S. Senators (find Hillary Clinton in this picture!), scores of doctors and lawyers, and hopefully, next school year, my son, Brad!

"It's Academic" levels the high school playing field for those kids who don't find their niche in sports, but in academics. My son doesn't watch MTV... he watches the History Channel, and "It's Academic" provides him with an outlet to hone his craft - to make him want to excel in education. What a blessing it's been!

In its heyday, "It's Academic" was syndicated to 24 other cities, and it is still aired in eight markets, from Washington to San Diego. The DC version is the original, of course, and it's still hosted by the ageless Mac McGarry, himself a D.C. institution as a broadcaster and the longtime announcer voice of both Channel 4 and many NBC programs. I had a chance to meet Mac at a taping of "It's Academic" earlier this year, and it was a thrill. He is not that far behind Sophie Altman in age, but I think Mac has many more miles in his tank!

You can and should read about Sophie Altman's fascinating life and career in this obit in the Washington Post. She even had Hollywood connections - her daughter-in-law is Wonder Woman Lynda Carter!

Thank you, Sophie, for giving geek squads a fighting chance in this world!

1 comment:

Julie Matthews Burnette said...

Or as the intellectually challenged yearbook editors at Sherwood High School call it, "Mock Trial." Sheesh...