Jim Perry, the host of many long-running game shows including two of the all-time greats — “$ale of the Century” and “Card Sharks” — has passed away at the age of 82.
Perry was known to many viewers for his years of emceeing the Miss Canada pageant in the '70s and '80s, but let's be sure to remember him as one of the most primed, capable game show hosts of all time. Nowadays we take preexisting celebrities like Wayne Brady and Drew Carey and turn them into game show hosts; Perry was a consummate quizmaster whose explosive energy and auctioneer-like cadence made his various series thrilling.
In this clip from “$ale of the Century,” watch as Perry is literally brought to his knees in order to make a contestant consider taking a risky deal.
Did I mention he's one of the speediest, yet most articulate game show hosts of all time? Watch as he barrels through 60 seconds of speed-round questions and never misses a beat.
“Card Sharks” was a surprising smash. It's a game about guessing whether the next card is higher or lower than the last. Sounds pedestrian on paper, but Jim Perry's enthusiasm and drama elevated it to orgiastic levels of excitement.
He also emceed a couple of classic games in his native Canada. In “Definition,” which predated “Wheel of Fortune,” contestants figured out riddle solutions by guessing letters. It's a clever game, and I particularly love how contestants are forced to guess incorrect letters as well.
“Headline Hunters,” another Canadian game, was also addictive. Check out the buzzer drama in guessing what term applies to multiple descriptions.
RIP, a true master and essential presence in game show history.