Rich Heldenfels

WKYC (Channel 3) anchor Russ Mitchell has regretted talking over the playing of the national anthem during coverage of the Republican convention.

“Really, Russ, trying to conduct an interview while the national anthem was being sung,” one of the irked viewers, Marylou Chmielecki, chided Mitchell on Facebook. “I didn’t hear a word of the interview because I was trying to be respectful of the anthem. You should have ask[ed] them in Cleveland to delay a few minutes. Until the anthem was done. Just saying.”

“No disrespect was intended,” Mitchell replied. “It was a case of bad timing and bad luck. My apologies.”

My experience, admittedly limited in this respect, is that you stop what you’re doing when the anthem is played; I checked with our sports department, and was told it’s customary to pause when you hear the anthem in the press box. And, in a telecast, you wouldn’t want to be seen ignoring that music. (One solution for many events is to avoid carrying the anthem on the air, so any discussion among the on-air folks does not seem disruptive.)

So bad timing indeed.

How Old? The Price Is Right, the long-running game show hosted by Cleveland’s own Drew Carey, will celebrate its 40th birthday on Tuesday. Some of you are wondering how it manages to look so young, especially when you consider how old the show really is.

First, the celebration. According to CBS, on Tuesday’s telecast, “the show welcomes back contestants from throughout its 40-year run, including fan favorites who provided some of the best laughs, the most animated ‘come on downs,’ and even the contestant who won the show’s first-ever showcase, coincidentally playing the same pricing game he won in 1972. Fans will also be treated to classic clips throughout the hour.”

Now, about that age. It dates Price’s birth to Sept. 4, 1972, when it began a run in CBS’ daytime lineup that continues to this day, first with Bob Barker as host and more recently Carey, and with a now-familiar format.

But Price, called the longest-running game show in TV history, premiered on Nov. 29, 1956, in NBC’s daytime lineup, with Bill Cullen as host. It continued until 1963; there was also a prime-time version from 1957 to 1963, also with Cullen hosting. Following its NBC run, it moved to ABC, in daytime 1963-65 and prime time 1963-64.

As The Encylopedia of TV Game Shows notes, the show was off the air for seven years before its revival on CBS with Barker as host. Those of you playing along at home will note that the last 40 years have also included various forays into syndication and prime time, and other hosts, including Dennis James and Tom Kennedy.

Vereen Visits. Award-?winning actor Ben Vereen will make two appearances at Kent State University in October.

According to KSU, on Oct. 10, Vereen and his band will perform Steppin’ Out With Ben Vereen at 7:30 p.m. in E. Turner Stump Theatre. The show will include performances of songs associated with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and the musicals Cats, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. Vereen was nominated for a 1972 Tony for his work in Jesus Christ Superstar and won a Tony the following year for Pippin.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 10 at the performing arts box office (in the Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance, at the Music and Speech Building, 1325 Theatre Drive), by phone at 330-672-ARTS (2787) and online at www.kent.edu/artscollege. Prices are $50 for gold circle seating, $25 for general reserved seating, $20 for seniors (60 or older) and $10 for students with valid college ID and under 18.

On Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Vereen will give a free public lecture in the Kent State University Ballroom. According to KSU, Vereen’s talk will consist of personal experiences blended with reflections about arts advocacy, overcoming adversity, arts in education and disabilities in the arts. Seating is first-come, first-served. Reservations — recommended but not required — can be made by calling 330-672-ARTS (2787) or reserving online at www.kent.edu/artscollege.

Besides his stage work, Vereen has often been seen in films (including the classic All That Jazz) and television.

Discourse in Our Time. The new issue of People magazine includes a profile of Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. Sadly, the piece is not called America’s Most Distressing TV Star. It does suggest that her life is changing; instead of guzzling Red Bull and Mountain Dew to boost her energy, the 7-year-old beauty-pageant contestant “relies on Pixy Stix candy.”

She also has enormous ambition, if no understanding of what a job is. According to People, she said, “I want to be a doctor, a nurse, a hair saloner, a makeup saloner, work at Wal-Mart, work at Kmart, work at McDonald’s where I can eat all the chicken nuggets and work at a hotel so I can go swimming.”

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including in the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter and Facebook. You can reach him at 330-996-3582 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.