Reach for the Top
(CBC Still Photo Collection)
This title card is from Reach for the Top
, which aired from 1966 to 1985.
Dick St. John created Reach For The Top
in 1961 and the show made its debut in Vancouver.
Reach for the Top pitted Canada's brightest high school students against each other in a question and answer game. The teams of four had to answer questions as a team or individually on topics that ranged from the classics to popular culture, from history to mathematics
. Beyond quick thinking, the students also had to have quick relexes to use the game's buzzer system.
In 1966, Sandy Stewart, the show's executive producer, created a national television show, with regional CBC stations producing their own version of the game featuring local schools. Regional winners from Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Regina, Saskatoon and Toronto met in round-robin games in Montreal to determine a national champion. In just a few short years, all 10 provinces were carrying the show and more than 600 high schools across the country were taking part.
In 1968 a short-lived Trans-World Top Team
series was created by the CBC and BBC, in which teams from the United Kingdom played teams from Canada.
The first quizmaster was Terry Garner. Alex Trebek was the weekly quizmaster from 1966 to 1973 in Toronto. Other quizmasters included Bill Guest, Sharon Dunn and Jan Tennant.
Trebek went on to host a game show called High Rollers
, which aired on NBC from 1975 to 1979. He often returned to Canada to act as quizmaster on the Reach for the Top national finals. In 1984 Trebek became host of Jeopardy, one of the most successful game shows in the history of television.
Though, CBC stopped airing Reach for the Top
in 1984, it continues to be shown on several private networks. Several high schools also still have their own Reach teams, which compete against each other at a local level and also participate in provincial and national tournaments.
Also, from 1973 to 1997 the French language version of the program aired, called Génies en herbe
Posted on Oct 4, 2011 6:00:00 AM