It wasn’t so long ago that the community was transfixed by something on television, something so interesting that once a week for several weeks a good portion of us put down what we were doing to watch.

Sometime in the 1960s, a smart and dedicated group of Halifax County High School scholars went on a run in the old television show “Klassroom Kwiz,” a run not too much different than this year’s Boston Red Sox, who won in excess of 100 games and wrapped up a World Series championship Sunday night.

Those scholars, one with a name so appropriate for that type of program, Bruce Booker, came close to retiring as undefeated champions.

As a child, I parked myself in front of the television set to watch — and sometimes learn — from smart students such as the ones we sent to the television studio in Roanoke wanting to chime in with answers they may not have been aware of.

There weren’t many of them.

I also became a fan of a quiz program with contestants closer to my age group when I was in elementary school, “Kiddy College,” one that was broadcast on a rival television station.

I easily answered questions on the latter show posed by the late Jim Stapleton and could answer some of the questions posed by the late Ted Powers on Klassroom Kwiz.

Another quiz show, this one for college-level braniacs, ran on television for about 12 years.

Allen Ludden of “Password” fame, and later Robert Earle hosted “G.E. College Bowl,” and believe me, I knew fewer of those answers.

Two four-man teams representing different colleges and universities participated in a rapid-fire with the host peppering them with toss-up questions then bonus questions.

Only team captains were allowed to give answers, after buzzing in, and  teams could lose points if they buzzed in first with a wrong answer.

I recall Fordham University sending a brilliant team of eggheads to the competition — most with wire rim glasses and beards, a novelty to me as a child growing up in the early 1960s — who literally answered each question correctly while their opponents could only buzz in a couple of times, each time with a wrong answer.

Several game shows now have formats where contestants can win cash by answering questions in a variety of categories, but I still prefer shows like “Jeopardy,” one of the original shows of its kind.

I know about similar programs in recent years, such as “Are You Smarter than a 5th-Grader”, but I can’t help but recall at how that group of high school scholars held the county in the palms of their hands for that magical time.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at