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October 15, 2008

Jack Narz Dies at 85

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Longtime game show host Jack Narz died of complications from a stroke on October 15, 2008, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 85.

Early in his career, Narz was the host of Dotto when it became one of the first television programs implicated in the quiz-show scandals of the 1950s. Later, like his brother, Tom Kennedy, he went on to host Concentration and other game shows.

On Dotto, contestants won the right to connect the dots and try to identify a famous figure by answering questions correctly. When the show was identified in the notorious quiz-show scandals, Narz was called to give a deposition before the grand jury investigating. He passed the polygraph test and was completely exonerated.

The abrupt cancellation of Dotto in August of 1958 sparked an investigation of the game-show industry that exposed rigging among many productions.

Almost all prime-time quiz shows were taken off the air. Congress held full-scale hearings in 1959 and federal regulations of quiz shows were instituted.

In the 1970s Narz hosted an updated version of Concentration, which filmed 195 shows in nine weeks, a schedule that allowed him to play golf several times a week.

He also hosted the programs Video Village, Seven Keys and a syndicated version of Beat the Clock.

Jack Narz was born November 13, 1922, in Louisville, Kentucky. During World War II, he served as a military pilot.

After the war, he found work at a radio station in El Centro, California. He went on to work for several stations before landing a job as an announcer on television’s Queen for a Day, which led to a position on the popular 1950s children’s science-fiction program Space Patrol.

Tom Kennedy, who hosted Name That Tune in the 1970s, changed his name from Jim Narz to avoid confusion with his older brother, whom he followed into the business.

In addition to Kennedy, Narz is survived by his wife of 39 years, Delores Dodo Vaiksnor; his children from his first marriage, John, Michael and David Narz and Karen Ferretti; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Lovett Scully.

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