Influenced heavily by the Italian television series,
Campanile Sera which had started in 1959 and was at the time seeing out
its final run, Guy Lux and Pierre Brive introduced
Intervilles to French television on Thursday 17th July 1962. Pitching town
against town, city against city in friendly but hard fought competition, the
Intervilles format would prove a moneyspinner and cultural landmark
over the coming decades. The success of Intervilles led to domestic
competitions in other countries (most notably in West Germany and Great
Britain) and the international Jeux Sans Frontières.
The 1962 series was a popular success and could count such
luminaries as the French President, Général Charles de Gaulle among its
followers. Two years later in 1964, he would famously interrupt a formal
discussion with the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, at the Château de
Rambouillet as he did not want to miss Intervilles.
The central presentation role on the series was taken by Guy
Lux himself, who was by this time already a famous broadcaster in France,
through his work on programmes such as Palmarès des chansons. Also on board
were Simone Garnier, a 30 year old broadcaster from Lyon, who would become a
familiar face around Europe whenever Jeux Sans Frontières visited
France, and Léon Zitrone, a Russian from Petrograd whose perfect French had
led him to a career in broadcasting, including a year's engagement as a
newsreader on Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF, later ORTF).
Competitions were held outdoors in two locations (one in each
competing city), with a jury in a Paris studio. The games and races tested
physical skills and agility, while mental prowess was challenged by the Game
of Questions. Each city would designate three representatives to participate
in the quiz, a local family to play the Game of Families and a sporting team
for the physical events. Games would occasionally involve town mayors and
other local dignitaries - for instance the Mayors of Armentières and
Saint-Amand-les-Eaux took penalties against goalkeepers from the opposing
towns in Heat 1.
Meanwhile, Campanile Sera was brought to a close this
year with a shorter-than-usual run of thirteen weeks. As with the last run,
one member of the presentation staff changed, with Walter Marcheselli
(pictured, right) taking over as one of the in-town hosts from Enzo Sampo.
Main presenter Mike Bongiorno and the other in-town presenter, Enzo Tortora,
remained with the series to the end.
Todi, the team that had
won the last two events of the 1960-1961 series, returned at the start of this
third run and claimed the first victory of 1962. A week later, they were
history, as Chivasso commenced a four week winning streak, which would later
in the series be equalled by Marostica. By virtue of their winning four
competitions including the very last programme, Marostica are the only team in
the history of Campanile Sera never to have been beaten.