HOST OF ‘CELEBRITY BOWLING’ PASSES AWAY

There was a time when bowling was on television a lot.

In addition to the “Pro Bowlers Tour” telecasts on ABC-TV, dozens of market areas carried “Bowling for Dollars,” typically hosted by a local sportscaster, and some carried versions of that program for kids.

Some major markets had their own match-play television programs, featuring the area’s top bowlers.

And then there was “Celebrity Bowling,” a syndicated program that ran from 1971 to 1978, and was hosted by Jed Allan.

Robert Culp prepares to bowl while Jed Allan calls the action.

Born Jed Allan Brown but known professionally as Jed Allan, he was best known as a soap opera actor, remembered for his roles as C.C. Capwell on “Santa Barbara,” Don Craig on “Days of Our Lives,” and Rush Sanders on “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

He also played Scott Turner on “Lassie,” and Harold Johnson on “The Bay.”

But bowling fans of the 1970s will remember Allan as the host of “Celebrity Bowling,” a program which for several of those years also featured star bowler Cheryl Robinson.

Most of the celebrities were terrible bowlers, and part of what made the show so entertaining was Robinson offering little tips that most of the celebrities simply ignored. Allan’s main role was to introduce the celebrities at the beginning of the show, interview the winning doubles team at the end, and basically direct traffic during the competition.

“No, you’re on the other lane!” is the phrase Allan probably uttered most often during the show’s run.

Bob Nwhart — perhaps channeling Ernie Schlegel or Guppy Troup? — was one of the best celebrity bowlers.

In the accompanying photos, Allan can be seen seated at the announce table while Robert Culp is on the approach, and it should be noted that among all the celebrities featured on the program through the years, Bob Newhart was one of the best. He actually went bowling with his family fairly often.

But the best celebrity bowler of all was Roy Rogers, and in this video, you can watch Rogers and Don Adams take on Newhart and George Foreman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmt4d2yUa7s

Allan passed away March 9, eight days after marking his 84th birthday. DVDs featuring vintage “Celebrity Bowling” matches are available on Amazon.

During the heyday of league bowling, programs such as “Celebrity Bowling” helped keep bowling top of mind and America’s bowling centers packed.

 

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