“Nothing in this world can take the place of…

… Persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated failures.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

– Calvin Coolidge 

What could this wonderful quote from the 30th American President have to do with the fast-paced, impulsive, all-or-nothing, get-rich-quick world of game shows?

Read on to find out…

In 1974, I was five years old. A popular show on Australian television was The $25000 Great Temptation – a quiz show where 3 contestants competed to be quickest to answer general knowledge questions. It was based on the American game show Sale Of The Century, which first aired in 1969.

Hey, I’ve just realised that Sale Of The Century was born in the same year that I was.

25000 Great Temptation screenshot - smaller

Anyway, in 1974, my father – a computer systems analyst – was a contestant on the show. I remember our family huddling around our black and white TV and watching his episode when it was broadcast a few weeks after he’d been in to record it. We watched, spellbound, right up until the game ended with my father being narrowly beaten. He told me afterwards that he knew the answers, but he just wasn’t quick enough. Clearly, his nerves had got the better of him, and he couldn’t access his vast general knowledge quickly enough – and hit that buzzer quickly enough – due to the anxiety of being on TV in front of so many people. Here’s a clip of The $25000 Great Temptation (not my father’s episode, unfortunately).

It seems so quaint and leisurely now! 

Fast forward twenty years, to 1994. I’m 25 years old, and after watching the Australian version of Sale Of The Century (1980 – 2001) throughout my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, I decide to audition to be a contestant. I wait until they advertise for contestants, and apply.

I go along to the test/audition, and fail.

After waiting a month or two for the next test/audition session, I go along… and I answer enough questions correctly to go through*.

So now I’m in the mix and may be receiving a call from the production soon. Or I may not.

Although this next clip isn’t from my particular episode, it is from the show in 1994 and will give you an idea of how it looked back then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8wvdAuloHs

A bit of trivia for you: this clip is from one of the “Celebrity Challenge” specials that they’d do from time to time. That night’s episode was won by Australian broadcaster Derryn Hinch, who was there with his then-wife… Jacki Weaver.

Yes, that Jacki Weaver. The one who was nominated for an Oscar last year, for her role in The Silver Linings Playbook. Jacki Weaver knows about persistence. She made her film debut in 1971, with a small role in the Australian film Stork. Thirteen films, and 39 years later, she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Animal Kingdom. Since then, she’s been hot property in Hollywood and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

There truly is no such thing as an overnight success. Persistence is the key.

And if you’ll persist with me, next week I’ll have Part 2 of my post on this subject, which will discuss my appearance – and subsequent loss – on Sale Of The Century in 1994, my second appearance on the show, 5 years later (spoiler alert: I lost again) and how both setbacks prepared me for The Big One; the 7-night winning stretch on Temptation (which was the revamped Sale Of The Century) in 2005.

I hope you’ll come back again for that, but in the meantime, do you have any persistence stories?

Has there been something in your life that’s taken ages and ages to achieve?

Something that you never would have achieved without persistence?

The game show audition/test process is complex and fascinating, and I’ll be going into it in much more detail in upcoming posts.

Please note: I claim no copyright in, or ownership of, the clips referenced in this post, and no copyright infringement is intended by linking to them. If you have reason to believe any material has been used in an unauthorized manner, please let me know.





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