My appearance on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" was surreal from start to finish. I couldn't believe it was happening! I received the second round call after only my second qualification which is unusual, but the drawings are random. Arrangements were made for travel to New York and I chose my brother, Andrew, to accompany me.
Travel from Ft. Walton Beach, FL to NYC and hotel expenses were paid for by the show. We flew into Newark, had a limo ride to the Empire Hotel in NYC. I met with the other contestants and some of the program's producers. We were given a per diem and our outfits were checked over to make sure that we'd look good on TV. We had to turn in a great deal of signed legal paperwork as did our companions, giving up various rights "in perpetuity". Then we were free for the evening. It was very cold and windy in the city (this was mid-April) but we went walking anyway and ate at a Mexican restaurant. Earlier in the afternoon we'd gone on a hunt for a slice of New York pizza.
The next day we had to catch our ride at 7:00am for the short trip to the ABC studios. We were fed constantly beginning with a continental breakfast. The contestants were further grilled by their individual producer for biographical information that Regis Philbin could discuss with you. This is an exhaustive interview, lasting nearly two hours. Follow-up talks were another hour. I think they're in cahoots with some government agency! When Regis talks to the contestants he's got a huge amount of information from which to choose. Believe me!
From the time we entered the shuttle to ABC, contestants and companions were in 'contestant lockdown' -- meaning absolutely no contact with anybody outside the studio. No newspapers, books, magazines, etc., were allowed and we were accompanied, en masse, to the bathroom. Needless to say, the contestants all got to know each other well. It was a happy group. It's a unique experience and the contestants sincerely wish their competitors well.
The show's executive producer, Michael Davies, gave an in-depth talk about the show. He discussed usage of the lifelines, past contestants, fastest finger questions, strategy, etc. He told us to really focus -- as though in a sporting competition -- especially for the fastest finger part. He told us that the show is extremely lucky to have Regis as a host because he knows absolutely nothing about trivia! He told us to not even consider for one minute that Regis was trying to lead or help the contestant in anyway. "He truly doesn't know the answer to any of the questions," Mr. Davies said.
We practiced a few fastest finger questions. There were two shows being taped that day so we watched the first as it was being taped and were fed snacks. There's a warm-up comedian who does a pretty good job but it was the same routine for both shows. The actual taping time is about ninety minutes per program. After the taping of the first show, we were fed again, led up to makeup, our microphones were put on and then it was show time.
There was a hold-over contestant named Leigh from the first group. She was incredibly nervous but did really well, getting to the $125,000 level. So, when Leigh was finished it was time for the first fastest finger question. I was thrilled to see my name come up as the winner! I went over and shook Regis' hand and my brother was miked.
Unfortunately, there was a power surge during the question and some contestants were unable to enter their answers. The electrical problem occurred after I, and several other contestants, had entered our answers. However, that question was disqualified and another fastest finger question was performed. The other contestants and the staff felt really bad for me but the decision was final.
It's just my bad luck that my concentration was completely blown for the second (and third) question. I couldn't figure out why I was so hopeless at answering the other questions but I realized later that I had just been unable to regain my concentration. Two of the guys with whom we had eaten, Chris and Scott, were the two contestants on that show. Chris got to the $250,000 level and Scott ended up with $64,000 after coming back for the following show.
We were shuttled back to the hotel at the end of a twelve hour day. Andrew and I went out for another walk, some Japanese food, and had our only celebrity siting when we saw the actor Roscoe Lee Browne walking by. The next afternoon we had some sushi for lunch and another limo ride, to JFK Airport this time, for the return trip.
It was a wild ride and I'm happy to have had the experience. I can qualify
again as a contestant and I'll be prepared for my next appearance on the
show. I won't lose my concentration again!
Dakin Burdick (firstname.lastname@example.org) continues to report great progress on digitizing the Burdick book. At last count the entire book (1298 pages) has been photocopied, 1100 pages have been scanned into text format, and, thanks to all our volunteers, 712 pages have been proofread. That means the job is well over halfway done! Thanks everyone, still a lot of work to do, so if you can spare a little time doing some proofreading now that school's back in session and before the holidays begin, please drop either me or Dakin a line!
James Walker (email@example.com) is a descendent of Eveline Burdick, dau. of Alden, son of Gideon, etc. He is looking for a photograph of Alden Burdick and his wife Jerusha Parks. He's been looking everwhere, without success. This would be a great find, since they are the only photos he's missing for five generations. If anyone can help, please do.
Speaking of pictures, Robert Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) received one from Carl C. Burdick Jr. of Arizona. Carl's father, Carl Sr, had left him the pictures containing several Clarks. Carl Sr's Mother, Emma Florence (Clark) Burdick is the daughter of two of Robert's 2nd ggrandfathers, brother Philander Merwin Clark; she was married to Herman Burdick. The picture contains several Clarks and 3 Burdicks: Amos Burdick Jr, Anstis (Clarke) Burdick, wife of Amos Burdick Jr., and Mercy (Clarke) Burdick, widow of Alfred Burdick. The picture is from around the mid 1800's. Robert is trying to identify others in the picture. If anyone thinks they can help, he will e-mail the picture.
A few years ago, Starr Burdick's
daugther, Grace, brought home a children's book from the library.
It had beautiful illustrations and the jacket had a story about a
Burdick who illustrated the book. Apparently many years ago a young
artist brought the drawings to a publisher who liked them and asked
if there were stories to go along with the pictures. Young Harris Burdick
said yes and promised to return with the stories. This was in New
York. He never returned with the stories or to pick up the drawings. The
publisher advertised and never got a response. Eventually his children
wrote stories from the pictures and he published the book. After a lot
of searching, Starr found a reference to the book. She found a web
site for teachers who use the drawings as a basis for creative writing:
PS - Starr's daugther, Grace, a seventh grader, just completed a heritage project in American History on her Burdick roots. Good job, Grace!
Barb and Bill Burdick (email@example.com) report that their youngest daughter, Bobette Burdick, has been competing in the ECO-CHALLENGE in Borneo. She and 3 other teammates have been working hard with little sleep or food. To find out more about this race log on to WWW.ECOCHALLENGE.COM. Bobette's team is #63 named LIVE-ACTION, the team would love to hear from you! A message can be sent via the web site.
Gary L. Portsche (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports that things are moving along smoothly in his efforts to secure new members for the Maxson Family Association (Maxsons and Burdicks have intermarried for a LONG time). Vickie Maxson is working on the newsletter which will be forthcoming in November to members and the web site is adding new features almost daily. Other officers are working toward making this the premier Maxson organization. The web site is at http://www.maxson2000.net, membership forms are there.
Annie Belle Burdick (email@example.com) recently visited a museum in Waxahachie, Texas and discovered a Burdick sewing machine. The gentleman in charge there told her they were listed in the Sears catalogue around 1900. Annie is wondering if anyone knows anything of the history of the Burdick sewing machine.
Paul Burdick (firstname.lastname@example.org) has an interesting question that's always puzzled me, too. Paul's grandfather is a 7th generation descendant of Robert and Ruth Burdick and his grandmother is an 8th generation descendant. Does that put Paul's father in the 8th or the 9th generation? Is Paul in the 9th or 10th generation? Paul also wonders how often this happen in the Burdick family.
Joe Burdick (email@example.com) asks everyone to say a prayer for his Grandfather, Warren Eugene Burdick, who has a severe lung disease and is only given a short time to live.