'Back that Fact' was a very low-budget show that lasted only six weeks in October and November of 1953. Transmitted live from New York City, the episodes were not recorded and no longer exist. I never saw the show. This review is based on information given to me by the show's producer (Jack Barry), its host (Joey Adams) and later by the host's widow, Cindy Adams, who is now (as I write this) a syndicated columnist for the New York Post.
'Back that Fact' didn't neatly fit into any genre: it resembled a game show and a quiz show, but was neither. It could be called an audience participation show, but only a small portion of the audience got to participate. 'Back that Fact' deserves some credit for a truly original concept, but that concept proved not to have much mileage. In terms of its general tone, 'Back that Fact' resembled Groucho Marx's famous quiz show 'You Bet Your Life', since much of the show's chemistry depended upon the banter between the comedian host and his contestants. Unfortunately, the 'comedian' who hosted 'Back that Fact' wasn't remotely in Groucho Marx's league. Joey Adams was ostensibly a comic, yet for most of his career he functioned more as a hanger-on at the Friars Club. He published several books which were largely quotations and anecdotes he'd gleaned from his much more famous showbiz buddies. Joey Adams's chief claim to fame was that he hung around with people like Milton Berle and Sammy Davis Jnr. The very few jokes originated by Joey Adams were actually supplied to him by gag writers such as Gene Baylos, whose chief claim to fame is that he hung around with people like Joey Adams.
Each episode of 'Back that Fact' began with compere Al Kelly choosing a panel of judges from the studio audience, while Hope Lange stood there looking pretty. Then, Kelly would select some contestants (two or three per show), also from the audience. 'Contestants' is perhaps the wrong word; 'interviewees' might be better.
Joey Adams would interview one of the contestants, asking questions about his or her job, family, hobbies, and so forth. Adams tried for a tone of light-hearted banter, something that Groucho did very successfully, but which Adams just wasn't able to emulate. At some point during the interview, the contestant would make a positive assertion about some aspect of his or her life. This was the cue for offstage announcer Carl Caruso to stentoriously intone 'Back that fact!' (Joey Adams's equivalent of Groucho's duck marionette.) The contestant would then have to prove that what he or she had said was true, to the satisfaction of the panel of 'judges'. If they concurred that the interviewee did indeed 'back that fact', the interviewee won a modest prize. The whole affair was transmitted with a single heavy DuMont camera (known in the industry as a 'DuMonster') that trundled slowly from host Adams to the panel of judges, with showgirl Hope Lange trying to get noticed in there someplace.
Part of the problem with 'Back that Fact' was that none of the participants ever had to prove anything empirically; they merely had to state their assertions confidently and they would tend to be believed.
From what I've been told, this was a dull and unimpressive show; its very brief run would seem to 'back that fact'.
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