Tuesday, August 19, 2008

From the archives: The Stein way

Again, slow week and I'm pre-occupied with fall preview stuff, so I'm re-posting some of my favorite stories that I wrote in the pre-blog days. Today, it's about the time I spent a day hanging out with the one, the only, Ben Stein.

8 comments:

kwigibo said...

Did he show any hint of being into creation science back then?

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I have two stories that attest to Stein's approachability. I once held a door for him at a bookstore in Georgetown and told him that I enjoyed his game show. He proceeded to chat with me until I had to make an excuse to leave.

A year or two after that, I ran into him at my girlfriend's college graduation ceremony. She liked his show even more than I did, so I asked if he'd come say hello to her. He agreed and spent about five minutes talking with us.

I've been far from pleased with many of Stein's recent antics, but I remember those events fondly.

Tracey said...

I don't agree with Ben's politics, but he's a class act, and there are far too few of them on either side of the political spectrum these days. That class really shined through on Win Ben Stein's Money, where he was always an aggressive competitor, but always respectful and gracious, whether he won or lost.

boffo said...

I won $1000 of his money in 2001, and found him to be quite nice and friendly.

Although I was annoyed that one of the questions in the bonus round was about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, considering that was one of his lines in Ferris Beuller. I got it correct as well, but it didn't seem fair that one of the questions was such a gimmee for him, especially since he only beat me by one.

By a strange coincidence, my roommate at the time had also been on the show before I met him. He came in second, and won Ben Stein's coffeemaker.

Tully Moxness said...

I was also a contestant on Win Ben Stein's Money in 1999, and I was really surprised at how genuine and warm Ben was. I ran into buzzer issues and bombed out of the first round. I feigned a sob as a joke, and Kimmel told Ben to give me a hug, which he did. I have political views that are far afield from his, but he's a good guy in my book, regardless of that annoying Creationist stuff.

Tracey said...

@boffo: The questions on Ben Stein's Money were, in general, skewed towards subject matter that Ben would be familiar with. That's why you saw a lot more political and historical questions on that show than you see on most quiz shows; less pop culture. But as for the line from Ferris Beuller ... I gather that Ben improvised his lines in that movie, so again it's more a matter of targeting the question at subject matter he was already familiar with rather than giving him a question from a script he had memorized.

One of my favorite Ben Stein moments was his appearance on The Daily Show (pre-Jon Stewart), where Ben was asked the "Five Questions," and not only did he answer all of them correctly, but he also explained why each of the questions was given to him. It was the first time I realized that all of the "Five Questions" are specifically targeted at the person, even if the connection is not obvious to the audience. For example, they asked Ben a question about Pat Buchanan, and Ben explained that they asked him this question because Pat and Ben were both Nixon speechwriters.

David said...

I miss that show. Also, I knew he was conservative, but I was surprised with all the 'intelligent design' stuff.

dez said...

Brigitte Bar-Dog

Is she related to Simon BarSinister?

I miss "Win Ben Stein's Money" and "Turn Ben Stein On." I wonder if he'll come up with another show? Hopefully not one related to his creationism beliefs, of course (I wouldn't be able to watch that one).