That @&$# Quiz Show

John and Greg Rice were twin dwarves who were featured on several segments of Real People. Their odd but funny style caught the imagination of Real People host John Barbour, who was then sitting up his own production company and who had some limited experience with bad parody TV games. When The Gong Show started, Barbour was the host for the first week of programs taped for daytime. Producer Chuck Barris hated Barbour’s approach, junked the five shows and took over the position himself.

A few years later, operating on a shoestring budget, Barbour assembled That @&$# Quiz Show with the Rice Twins as hosts who posed very bizarre questions to very baffled contestants. Little is remembered of the show, which lasted in syndication only a few weeks in 1982. Some stations dropped it after one week. My recollection of one viewing is that the program wasn’t quite a quiz show and it wasn’t quite a spoof of a quiz show, falling uncomfortably between the two, and that the Rices tried hard but had no clue as to what they were supposed to do. The most interesting thing about the series was probably that its scenery and key art were designed by Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who had also been featured on Real People. That’s his lettering and drawing on the ticket above.

The show’s title was usually pronounced on-air with the punctuation marks replaced by a cacaphony of sound effects. When people who worked on the show gave its title, they often referred to it as That Awful Quiz Show. Most people took the easy route and never mentioned it at all.