Remembering the ‘Challenge’ posed by Dick Enberg


TV Pipeline

Dick Enberg
Dick Enberg

Q: I was sad to learn of the passing of sportscaster Dick Enberg. I remember his “Sports Challenge” game show. When was that on the air? – Jim Storey, via e-mail

A: The syndicated show was televised for most of the 1970s, from 1971 to 1979, with two teams of three former or then-current athletes being posed questions related to film clips that were shown. The series had a brief revival in the early 1980s on ESPN as “The Best of Sports Challenge,” and it also has been shown on other ESPN networks over the years.

Some fans also may remember a product that was related to the series: the Sports Challenge Instant Replay toy manufactured by Mattel, which involved discs being inserted into a handheld device — essentially a small record player — that would give statistics about sports players and milestones.


Andy Walken
Andy Walken

Q: What’s the background of the youngster who played Ralphie in Fox’s live version of “A Christmas Story”? – Mary McQueen, Aiken, S.C.

A: Seattle, Wash., resident Andy Walken was found in a nationwide digital casting call. He ultimately was chosen for the production from more than 350 contenders for the role, and he joined a cast that also included such pros as Matthew Broderick, Maya Rudolph and David Alan Grier as he played the youngster constantly warned that “You’ll shoot your eye out” in hoping for his most desired Christmas gift.


Q: I was interested to discover that “The Long Road Home” is based on a book by Martha Raddatz of ABC News. Has she written any others? – Joseph Lang, Reading, Pa.

A: That’s the one for her, at least up to now. The source of the National Geographic miniseries was indeed “The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Families,” her book about an assault on American troops during the Iraq War. It became a New York Times best seller and inspired the recent miniseries that starred Michael Kelly, Jason Ritter and Kate Bosworth.


Q: It was nice to see the “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” again this year. Do they always show one of the same episodes every time? – Chris Hunt, via e-mail

A: They do. Each year when CBS presents the program, it includes “The Christmas Episode,” which is built largely out of flashbacks to earlier stories as Lucy and Ricky (Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz) think about the differences in their lives since the birth of Little Ricky. First aired on Christmas Eve in 1956, the story wasn’t part of the “I Love Lucy” repeat package shown for many years, then was found by CBS in 1989 and later colorized for its current use during the holiday season.


Q: I enjoyed the Sundance series “Rectify,” starring Aden Young, and am wondering if he has any projects currently in the works. – Mary Lou Kolody, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

A: A limited drama series that the actor made, “The Disappearance,” recently aired in Canada. (At this writing, no plans for a U.S. telecast of it had been confirmed, though NBC Universal is the studio involved.) Toronto. Ont., native Young also has completed two movies slated for release this year: “Elsewhere,” also starring Parker Posey and Beau Bridges, and “Angelique’s Tale.”


Q: Katy Mixon is great fun to watch on “American Housewife.” I know she was on “Mike & Molly” before, but what else has she done? – Linda Corey, Wheeling, W. Va.

A: Now in the second season of her current ABC sitcom, the actress also was a regular on HBO’s “Eastbound & Down,” which she made concurrently with her work as Melissa McCarthy’s sister Victoria on CBS’ “Mike & Molly.” She also made guest appearances on such shows as “Two and a Half Men” and “Psych.”

Additionally, Mixon has enjoyed a reasonably active movie career, encompassing the critically acclaimed 2016 drama “Hell and High Water.” Her other films include “Minions” (as the voice of the character Tina), “Drive Angry,” “Take Shelter,” “All About Steve,” “State of Play,” “Four Christmases” and “The Informers.”


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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 1316 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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