AVON PARK - In the mid 1960s, all the popular Los Angeles area radio disc jockeys auditioned for a new television game show.
A 28-year-old rock n' roll radio personality named Bob Eubanks won the round of tryouts to host the Newlywed Game, which became a long-time fun and laughed filled TV favorite.
He has won five Emmys, including a lifetime achievement award, and was the last person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the 20th century.
Eubanks will be coming to South Florida State College on March 13 with his "Not So Newlywed Game," where he will do a live show with married couples from the audience.
Speaking by phone from Southern California where he lives, Eubanks said in the 1950s and 1960s all the game show hosts looked up to Bill Cullen, who hosted more than 20 game shows including "The Price is Right."
"He was the epitome of what went on; he stayed out of the way of the format; he made it happen; he made the contestants shine, which is what a good game show host does," Eubanks said.
In today's world when selecting a host, an actor is accustomed to using other people's words, a comedian is thinking of the next funny line, but what a host should do is listen and then try to make something out of what just happened, he said.
"To me Johnny Carson was the epitome of that," Eubanks said. "I learned so much by watching Carson.
"I learned how to get out of touchy situations with a glare or a stare at the camera and the people at home say, 'Oh, I know what he is thinking,' but I didn't have to say anything."
The Newlywed Game was a learning experience for him, Eubanks said, because the show's format was different.
For example, Monty Hall with "Let's Make a Deal," had a "prize show," he said.
The Newlywed game was a comedy show that happened to have a game show and that's why the prizes weren't very big, Eubanks said. "We wanted them to play and not worrying about the prizes."
Eubanks related how he became the host the "Newlywed Game."
He was a disc jockey at the No. 1 rated rock 'n roll radio station in Los Angeles when television creator/producer Chuck Barris, who had the "Dating Game" on the air, sold the "Newlywed Game" concept to the ABC network.
"They auditioned every disc jockey in town," Eubanks said. "Today they would go after the weathermen. Pat Sajak was a weatherman, David Letterman was a weatherman."
Eubanks said he had never been on television before, but he was lucky enough to win the audition.
"Then it took me several months to learn how to do the show," he said. "Fortunately back in those days you had time to learn.
"In today's marketplace, I would have been fired the first week."
If God gave him a talent if was how to "extract humor" from people, Eubanks declared.
"For instance, if a husband gives an answer and the audience laughs, I immediately look at the other three husbands, he said, because everybody wants to be funny and I can tell by the body language who my next funny answer is going to come from."
When you started the show did you have any idea it would continue for decades?
"I did one after 2000 and that means I am the only host ever to do original programing of the same format for five decades," Eubanks noted. "So I have been very luck to do that."
When he comes to Avon Park, Eubanks said, "We are going to play the 'Not So Newlywed Game,'" which means you don't have to be a newlywed.
Every married couple in the audience will have a chance to be a contestant, he said. Using eight couples he will host two Newlywed Games.
At the end of the show someone will have the chance to win $100,000, Eubanks said. "It's another game that we play that is really a lot of fun, too.
"It's going to be an evening of absolute hilarity and fun and I am so fortunate because I get a chance to travel around the country and do it."
Bob Eubanks and the "Not So Newlywed Game," will be at the South Florida State College Theatre for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m., March 13.
For ticket information go online to www.performances.southflorida.edu.