GAME SHOWS

THE $64,000 QUESTION & THE $64,000 CHALLENGE (approx 60 min)

THE $64,000 QUESTION: The original quiz show model, upon which whole episodes of THE HONEYMOONERS--among other comedies--were built. This first-anniversary installment of QUESTION ("Where knowledge is king, and the rewards king-sized"), features a reunion of past winners, including Dr. Joyce Brothers (boxing expert), Billy Pierson (art expert), and Gloria Lockerman (spelling champion), as well as new rounds of questions featuring a husband-and-wife team of Sherlock Holmes specialists and a professional whaling man from Greenland.

Commercials for Revlon products include Snow Peach lipstick in the Futurama case and "Clean and Clear." Sonny Fox hosts $64,000 CHALLENGE, but he seems somewhat ill at ease and unable to keep the events moving. History champion Floyd Yoemans is challenged by ex-champ Steve Froelich, and spelling whiz Gloria Lockerman faces challenger Andy Douglas. But the real treat is watching art history expert Billy Pierson go up against actor Vincent Price, but be warned that the show ends before they've gotten very far. Commercials include Kent cigarettes, with the Kent jingle.

CELEBRITY GAME (approx 30 min)

The first show features several couples drawn from the ranks of ordinary citizens, but the second includes Betty Grable and her husband Harry James as contestants. Strangely enough, the contestants on Do You Trust Your Wife were more knowledgeable than those on You Bet Your Life, and the questions were tougher. Edgar Bergen was later succeeded by Johnny Carson, and the show was renamed Who Do You Trust in 1958. Sponsors include L&M Cigarettes, with Angie Dickinson featured in one commercial, and Frigidaire with former Miss America Bess Meyerson presenting the company's new models for 1956.

 

THE CELEBRITY GAME (approx 30 min)

with Bert Parks, Michael Landon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gypsy Rose Lee, Paul Lynde, Abby Dalton, Jan Murray Produced by Heater and Quigley Productions, this star-studded game show strongly resembled the production company's long-running hit THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES, with six celebrities (Michael Landon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jan Murray, Abby Dalton, Paul Lynde--who became one of the most popular celebrity guests on THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES--and Gypsy Rose Lee) giving answers to questions posed by the host (Bert Parks), while two contestants try to correctly predict the celebrities' answers for points. This color edition of the show is very fast moving, and the participants all seem to be having fun, although the prizes for the contestants seem a little on the cheap side today, with answers racking up sums of $50 and $25.

CHANCE OF A LIFETIME (30 min)

Chance Of A Lifetime – Dennis James is the host of this program, which is similar to Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, in which several aspiring performers are introduced and allowed to do their stuff, and the applause is measured on a meter. Interrupted by plugs for Bromo-Seltzer and other products, the show is typical of sponsor-driven programming of the period, with Dennis James the slightly befuddled host.

             

DO YOU TRUST YOUR WIFE? (30 min)

Edgar Bergen tries to pull a Groucho Marx. This game show was similar to You Bet Your Life starring Groucho Marx in format, questions, and even the camera shots and use of music--except that the contestants were married couples, and instead of bantering with his announcer (Ed "You're In Good Hand With All-State" Reimers), Bergen clowned around with Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd.

 

ON THE LINE (30 min)

A rare find. Host Alan Saber conducts a strange drawing contest. What is most memorable, however, is a very young Jonathan Winters on the panel in this circa 1954 show. Please take note that when they started the Kinescope, they would run some footage to test the camera. This tape has footage of the cast standing around waiting to get started.

PLAY YOUR HUNCH -- WITH MERV GRIFFIN (30 minutes)

Play Your Hunch was an American game show first hosted by Merv Griffin from 1958 to 1962, and was then hosted by Robert Q. Lewis until 1963. The announcers for the show were, respectively, Johnny Olson, Wayne Howell and Roger Tuttle. In 2001, Play Your Hunch was ranked #43 on TV Guide's "50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time".

Play Your Hunch was a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman production. It has been considered to be something of a "spin-off" of another more successful Goodson-Todman game, To Tell the Truth.

PUT IT IN WRITING (30 min)

"PUT IT IN WRITING" with Sandy Becker is a rare pilot episode for a show devoted to analyzing people's handwriting. This tape is a scream: guest panelist Virginia Graham knows nothing about handwriting analysis, but she is there anyway. What is interesting is that the actors the panelists are talking with are not the actual performers, but are standins merely playing the role for this test episode, which you might notice when they are talking with a fake Eli Wallach. (circa 1957)

QUICK ON THE DRAW (approx. 30 min)

This is a rare and never aired kid's quiz-type show starring Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney, and was directed, Gilbert Cates, one-time President of the Director's Guild.
 

YOU ASKED FOR IT (30 min)

Art Baker hosts this installment of the fondly remembered Dumont series, in which audience letters requesting unusual events and stunts were honored each week before the camera. In this program, a movie stuntman attempts something never done before, a leap over a house in a car, which ends in near-disaster as he hits the ramp too fast and overshoots his mark; caricaturist Jack Lane demonstrates how the letters in peoples' names (Harry Truman etc.) can be used in drawings of their faces; the Ravenswood Jumping Jacks, a team of young gymnasts from Ravenswood, California, demonstrates their abilities on the trampoline; a judo expert and a swordsman go hand-to-steel; a team of survival experts recount their 14-day trek into the wilderness on film; and a man wrestles a very large chimpanzee. Skippy was the sponsor for You Asked For It, and is plugged several times during the show.

 

TIC-TAC-DOUGH (30 minutes)

This plays like a prototype for JEOPARDY and THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES, features reasonably tough questions asked of people who don't seem to be all that unusual, although at least one question ("Who played the Cowardly Lion in the movie THE WIZARD OF OZ?) that seems like a giveaway today would have been a lot harder for most people to answer back then--the picture was a lot less well known and omnipresent than it is today and the fact that any ordinary adult answered it correctly is impressive.

TED MACK'S ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR (30 min)

TED MACK'S ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR: A 1968-vintage show from Miami Beach, FL, hosted by Mack and sponsored by Geritol. The contestants include the eight-member Betty Custiss Dancers ("Cabaret"), singing furniture salesman Dick Bell ("Sunrise, Sunset"), an acrobatic quartet called Three Hits and a Miss ("Lara's Theme"), accordionist George Siat, singer Brenda Wesner, tap dancer Sharon Denton ("Sweet Georgia Brown"), musical saw player Lewis Newell ("Londonderry Air"), a Brady Bunch-type quartet called The Mod Bods ("When Love Comes Knocking At Your Door"), and the baton twirling duo the Quincy Twirlers. But the REAL fun comes from the original commercials, which are all here, including Geritol (natch), Nikoban (the anti-cigarette remedy of its day), Sominex (animated, with the genie), Aqua-Velva (with a real hot looking actress saying "There's something about an Aqua-Velva Man...."), Serutan natural laxative (spell it backwards), Williams' Lectric Shave before-shave lotion, Johnson's Foot Soap (soak away foot miseries), and Polident Tablets.

 

TEN LITTLE INDIANS (30 minutes)

Ten Little Indians – Ten Little Indians is a failed pilot for a game show, dating from 1964, that had a pretty novel concept – 10 contestants are assembled together in a row and have to throw out short answers to questions thrown at them by the host, in order, and any flubs get them eliminated. The questions can involve anything from the names of states, pieces of ordinary household furniture, political slogans etc., but the answers are spoken almost like operatic recitative, in cadence, with little bits of musical accompaniment behind each word. The array of contestant is also very entertaining, young “bachelorettes,” as they used to be called; taciturn housewives; quirky guys and slick young executives – one of them even gives a plug for then presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. The questions and comments are very politically correct (like the name of the show), dealing with such sexist subjects as “women drivers.

TO TELL THE TRUTH (30 min)

A mid-1950's show, with Betsy Palmer (FRIDAY THE 13th), Don Ameche, Kitty Carlisle, and Hy Gardner (TV and movie personality, and N.Y. Herald Tribune gossip columnist) as panelists, trying to identify which of three men is the owner of an upstate-N.Y. nightclub that is half over the border with New Jersey and owner of one of the smallest television stations in the world; which of three men is a champion ski-jumper; and which of three women is a teacher-turned-cave explorer. But the commercials here are nearly as entertaining as the show, including early spots for Williams' Lectric-Shave, Sominex, and Geritol, plugged by announcer Bud Colyer (the original SUPERMAN from radio).

TO TELL THE TRUTH & BINGO AT HOME (approx 60 min)

With panelists Hy Gardner and Don Ameche, Bud Collier hosts this classic TO TELL THE TRUTH game show on New Year's Eve 1957.Monty Hall hosts this Dumont show of BINGO AT HOME.

TWO FOR THE MONEY (30 min)

Two For The Money – Old Gold Cigarettes (complete with the dancing cigarette boxes) presented Two For The Money, which was a program along the same lines as You Bet Your Life, though not made by the same producer. Folksy host Herb Shriner interviews pairs of contestants (arts student Susan Reitsel and prehistoric animal expert Harry Rider, who comes with a bono-phone, a xylophone made of bones; Mr. And Mrs. Richard Whitford of Australia; Navy Lt. Tom Hughes and J. Reed Supree, an engineer and owner of three nudist camps). The conversation and jokes are more important than the questions, which are fairly easy, and the money rewards are ridiculously low.  

WHAT'S THE LAW? (30 minutes)

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