Five members of a family with connections to Jacksonville showed up to a May audition for the game show Family Feud dressed in traditional German clothing. Five weeks later, they found out that they blew the competition — about 1,000 other families — away.
The Duncan family, which has ties to both Jacksonville State University and The Anniston Star, will film its episode of the show on July 15th. If they make it through that day’s rounds, the family can return on the 16th.
Jeff Duncan, who submitted the family’s application to audition, says he doesn’t know when the episode will air. He expects to find out when they film it in Atlanta next month.
Jeff and his brother, Harald, wore lederhosen complete with long white stockings to the audition. Their sister, Angie, Harald’s daughter, Amy, and Jeff’s wife, Debra, wore old-fashioned German dresses.
“We had to audition on Mother’s Day,” Jeff said.
It’s been 20 years since their mother, Helene, passed away, so Harald suggested they wear the garb to honor her memory. She was German, having met Jeff and Harald’s father in Germany during World War II.
The family had to play one round of Family Feud for the audition. “We had to show a lot of enthusiasm, make a lot of noise and be excited,” said Jeff.
Harald says that making a lot of noise isn’t hard when his family gets together: “My family is loud and messy.”
It was his idea to audition for the game show.
“I watch that show religiously, I guess you could say, and about two months ago, something just hit me,” he said. “I called Jeff and I said, ‘We need to try out for that.’”
At first, Jeff, wife Debra, his sister Angie and Harald’s daughter Amy weren’t enthusiastic about going on the show.
“We said, ‘We’ll do it for our brother Harald, for his bucket list,’ but now we’re really into it,” Jeff said.
He and Harald both say the family has a good chance of winning the show.
“We swept the round during the audition, and we’ve been practicing with questions,” Jeff said.
“Luck will play a part in how well we will do, but I think we have a good chance,” said Harald. “If nothing else, we will entertain them, I assure you.”
The Duncans will play five rounds of Feud, which is hosted by comedian Steve Harvey. Each round offers the possibility of winning $20,000.
If the family wins, Jeff says they’re “planning on paying bills, and going on a trip — we’ll go back to Germany as a family.”
Jeff, who now lives in Paulding County, Ga., said his family is well-known in Jacksonville. His oldest brother, Klaus, taught German and history at Jacksonville High School for 30 years. Harald teaches courses in Criminal Justice at Jacksonville State and has for 14 years. All of the Duncan siblings went to college there.
Helene Duncan, the family’s matriarch, was a district manager at The Star for over 20 years. “Everyone in the family delivered newspapers,” Jeff said. “I was delivering when I was 6 years old.”