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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MisenPopic Tribute: Ken Ober (1957-2009)

I've mentioned numerous times that I spent a lot of time watching MTV back in the 80's. Although they had a few music-related shows like Headbangers Ball and Club MTV, most of what ran on MTV were music videos with the occasional news update from Kurt Loder every half hour. But in an unprecedented move, MTV started running commercials for an original new program of theirs called Remote Control in 1987. Supposedly, it was going to be a game show? At first I questioned why they were giving program time for a game show that probably had very little to do with music. But I figured I would give the show a chance. And I'm glad that I did! I actually watched the first episode, and thought that this show was unlike anything I had ever seen. Even though it was a game show, you didn't really care who won or lost. The categories were so over the top with such themes as Dead Or Canadian?, Inside Tina Youthers, and Brady Physics. But you always hoped the contestants would select a performance skit like Sing Along With Colin in which you had to guess what he was actually singing after his dreadful butchering of a song, or Trivia Delinquent in which a character would come out and indicate he was arrested for doing something that was related to pop culture which the contestants had to guess the answer to. Remote Control introduced us to Colin Quinn, Kari Wuhrer (who I was deeply in love with), Dennis Leary, and of course Adam Sandler who player the Trivia Delinquent, Stud Boy, and other kooky characters. The show ran on MTV and then syndication from 1987 to 1990. Trust me when I say it probably was the best original program MTV ever ran with possibly the exception being The State. My brother and I spent many weeknights watching this crazy show, and we knew even back then that Adam Sandler would one day be a huge comedy star. In my mind, the best game show of all time, and there surprisingly has been nothing like it since. For detailed information about Remote Control, check out the wikipedia page:

Ken Ober was the host of Remote Control for three of the four seasons, and was fantastic in his role as the main voice of reason on the show. Why I'm writing such a quick tribute to Ken Ober and Remote Control is because I found out today that he was discovered dead this past weekend in his home at the age of 52. I'm in shock!!! If you never saw Remote Control, you might still know Ken Ober from his random appearances in Blues Traveler's videos such as The Hook, Runaround, and The Mountains Win Again. He also was in 90's Jenga TV commercials, and had a radio show with Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady from the Brady Bunch). He currently was working as a producer on the hit CBS sit-com, The Old Adventures Of New Christine. Cause of death is unknown, but it sounds like he died from flu-like symptoms. As a tribute to Ken Ober, I hope MTV will finally search through their vaults and release the Remote Control seasons on DVD so we can all rewatch his genius work. I'm sure the sales would be worth their while. Rest in peace, Ken Ober!!

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