Mac McGarry: The Quintessential Quizmaster

Washington, D.C., has more than its share of inquisitors. But perhaps the most renowned questioner of all was Maurice James “Mac” McGarry, the founding host of It’s Academic who died on Dec. 12 at age 87 in Potomac, Md. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the televised test of wits for teenagers is the longest-running quiz show in the TV history. When It’s Academic premiered in October 1961, McGarry and the show’s creator, Washington lawyer-turned-TV producer Sophie Altman, had a noble …

50 Years Later, JFK Death Again a TV Event

The flood of upcoming TV specials commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination threatens to be a little redundant: Conspiracy theories aside, we probably know about as much as we’ll ever get to know about that awful November day. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter That’s not to say that remembering the tragedy isn’t important. It’s just to point out that the most interesting of the JFK-themed programs scheduled to air in the run-up to the Nov. …

August is the Sunday of the Months

If you are confused by this blog’s title, it is a phrase I heard recently from my niece. We were talking about vacation and she said, “Yep, August is the Sunday of the months as it is the time to relax.” What do I do to relax? I like to go to movies just like 58% of the 50+ (see our fact sheet below) and Woody Allen’s new movie Blue Jasmine is a must see Movie for Grownups. I love Broadway …

Michael Ansara: He Was Cochise and Star Trek Villain ‘Kang’

When Syrian immigrant Michael Ansara enrolled at Los Angeles City College in the early 1940s, his ambition was to become a doctor. But instead he found his true calling as an actor. Ansara, who died on July 31 at age 91 in Calabasas, Calif., may have been best known as Klingon commander Kang, the towering, intimidatingly deep-voiced leader of a band of swarthy, warlike extraterrestrials who confronted Capt. James Kirk (William Shatner) and the Starship Enterprise crew in “Day of …

It’s a Fact: We Watch Too Much TV

Remember how, when we were kids, older people warned us about spending too much time in front of the television? As it turns out, now that we’re the older people, maybe our children ought to be urging us to turn off the TV and go outside to play. A bunch of recent studies show that, at a time when younger Americans increasingly turn away from the boob tube and spend more time online, those of us 50 and older are …

Are You Giving Up on the News?

They were our heroes. Woodward and Bernstein brought down a president. The New York Times published “The Pentagon Papers” in the face of government resistance to revealing damaging truths. “Uncle” Walter Cronkite spoke for many Americans when he concluded that the Vietnam War was not winnable. Many in our generation saw the news media as a positive force in society, driving out secrecy and corruption with the “disinfecting” light of information. Today, as a recent AARP poll shows, journalists have …