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And Friday’s Contestants Are…

This is just a silly little thing I’ve been meaning to write up for a while, an amusing comics-related moment from the single nerdiest DVD box set I own.

Now, that’s saying something. We own a lot of nerdy DVDs. Animated superhero stuff like Birdman and Justice League, geek TV staples like Star Trek and The Prisoner, and a ridiculous number of awesomely trashy B-movies ranging from Trouble Man to The Hidden to *sigh* Road House. (And even Road House 2.) I mentioned last week how stumbling across one of The Asylum’s straight-to-DVD ‘mockbusters’ on cable resulted in our adding Princess of Mars, The Land That Time Forgot, and the dinosaur-enhanced Sherlock Holmes to the collection.

Dig the Blaxploitation JLA! Saw this in the theater when it came out, even. We met Tim Thomerson in San Diego, actually, on our honeymoon. A really nice man.

Yes, we own all of these. And many more. We're all about Trash Movie Night!

So the point is that we have many, many nerd-type DVDs here. When visitors see the rows and rows of them on the shelves in the front room, there’s usually a snort and some derisive comment about how it’s pretty obvious that this is Where Geekiness Dwells. (Of course, this is almost always followed by, “Oh my God! You have this? I loved this movie! Uh…. could I borrow this?”)

But easily the nerdiest of them all, and the one that we may actually enjoy the most, has nothing to do with SF, horror, or B-movie exploitation at all.

We love this set SO MUCH.

We love this set SO MUCH.

The Best of Password. Julie got this for me at Half-Price Books for a whopping four dollars, I think, and we have had a ridiculous amount of enjoyment out of this set.

You have to understand that once upon a time, long ago, television game shows were actually about being, well, smart. I know this is going to be mystifying to those folks whose game show experiences are limited to stuff like Deal or No Deal or The Price Is Right, but really, there was a time when to win on a game show you had to, like, know stuff. College Bowl, Jeopardy, Split Second, High Q… most of them requiring knowledge of actual science and history as opposed to pop culture, though there was a fair amount of that too. Jeopardy is still hanging in there, but people talk about it today as though having smart people on a game show is some sort of bizarre aberration. It really did used to be the norm. Honest.

Long ago, when I was a kid and home sick from school, I’d pass the time watching game shows. (I had to be ill; otherwise, Mom commandeered the TV during the day for soap operas. But if I was sick, she would soften her stance.)

Of them all, Password was my favorite. It’s a simple game, really — two contestants were each paired with a celebrity, and the players were given a word that they then tried to get their partner to say in response to one-word clues. It sounds really simple but it can be damnably difficult, and the reason I loved it then and now is because it’s a writer’s game, it’s all about language and ideas. Here is a typical clip.

It also gave you amusing insights into the personalities of the various movie and television stars that came to play as guest celebrities…. a game of word association often seemed like it ended up being a televised Rorschach test for many of them. And though I never noticed this when I was a kid it was startling to me, watching these old shows on DVD today, how terrified many of the movie stars were. Joan Crawford and Jack Palance, especially, struck me as being really worried about looking stupid on TV. (With good reason, it turned out…. clearly neither was an English major.)

Other things that struck me were…

…Allen Ludden was a god among game show hosts. He managed to be both affable yet unyielding, and it’s totally his show from start to finish, even though he takes pains to make sure it’s always focused on the players. But what tickled me was how he beat up on celebrity guests who screwed up. Using your hands is forbidden when giving clues, and watching Allen Ludden slap a star’s hands down or actually clamp down on someone’s forearm is just friggin’ awesome. And hilarious. Didn’t matter how big a star you were, on Allen Ludden’s Password, damn it, you played by the rules.

…Jane Fonda and Lauren Bacall were willing to cheat in order to win. (“How the hell do you cheat on Password?” I hear someone asking. Jane uses her hands and then lies about it; Lauren mumbles a word that’s close and doesn’t correct anyone when it’s taken for the right answer.)

Allen Ludden, with Lauren Bacall, cheater, and Jack Palance, dimbulb.

Allen Ludden, with Lauren Bacall, cheater, and Jack Palance, dimbulb.

…Betty White is widely regarded as the best Password player ever, which is natural since she was married to the host, Allen Ludden, and she played it a lot. And she is indeed a shark, but in her younger days, she was a pretty hilarious flirt, too.

…if you were on Password and you didn’t get to play with Betty White, the celebrities that you really wanted to be partnered with to cinch a win were Elizabeth Montgomery, who was an amazing player, or possibly Brian Keith or James Mason. The ones you prayed you wouldn’t get were Bob Denver or Bea Benederet. Both very nice people by all appearances, but somewhat, well…. dense. Here’s a funny clip with Bob Denver and actress Carole Welles trying to get the word “Skipper.” (Amazingly, Denver actually comes off as the smart one here.)

…the meanest celebrity player ever on Password was Jerry Lewis. The guy may have helped millions of kids with disabilities but he was just a bastard to everyone on that show. He was a very bad loser, argued about the rules, and blamed his civilian partners for everything that went wrong. (At one point you can tell Allen Ludden actually cautioned Lewis about his temper during the commercial break, because Lewis snarks off at him about it later.) Clearly Jerry Lewis is one of those guys that can’t stand to be wrong about anything ever, and is perfectly willing to take it out on everyone around him.

…the nicest celebrity player, by contrast, was the young Martin Landau. He seemed to genuinely like everyone he was partnered with and — I found this ridiculously endearing — after every time they got one right he’d actually shake the contestant’s hand in a sort of Well done chum! moment. If the other team got it, he’d clap the contestant on the shoulder in a Buck up! Next time! gesture.

I could go on and on, but I imagine that by this time you all are wondering, Jesus, Hatcher reaches pretty far sometimes but this is the least comics-related thing he’s done yet. What the hell has a forty-year-old game show got to do with comics?

Well, I’ll tell you.

In May of 1965, the World House Gallery in New York’s Hotel Carlyle hosted a “Pop Art” exhibition of paintings by famous comic strip artists of the time. I suspect the thinking was, Gee, if Roy Lichtenstein can sell all those thousand-dollar paintings ripping us off, we should get us some of that fine-art gallery cash too. Many of the famous cartoonists of the day were represented. The whole thing was hosted by Joan Crawford and proceeds from the sale of the paintings went to benefit the USO.

As it happens, a bunch of the cartoonists appeared as guest contestants on Password, with whatever cash they won to again benefit the USO. And that episode, from May 20th, 1965, is included on this set. Betty White is partnered consecutively with Al Capp (Li’l Abner), Allen Saunders (Mary Worth) and Mort Walker (from Beetle Bailey), while Arlene Francis plays with Alfred Andriola (Kerry Drake) Leonard Starr (Mary Perkins On Stage) and Lee Falk (The Phantom.)

It’s fun to see all these guys on television at the height of their fame (which then, as now, means very little outside of comics. Betty White is clearly baffled as to who most of them are — Ludden laughs, “Don’t mind her, she doesn’t even know Bennett Cerf!”) You can see that Al Capp is as grouchy and unpleasant as he would become known for in his later life, but he hides it pretty well.

Al Capp and Betty White. Capp is almost as grumpy here as he was later to John and Yoko.

Al Capp and Betty White. Capp is almost as big a grouch here as he was later to John and Yoko.

Capp lost (somewhat ungraciously) to Alfred Andriola, from Kerry Drake.

Alfred Andriola, surrounded by examples of the comic it turns out he DIDN'T write.

Alfred Andriola, surrounded by examples of the comic it turns out he DIDN'T write.

Researching this, I stumbled across an interesting tidbit. Alfred Andriola dined out on Kerry Drake for many years, and even won a Reuben Award for his work on the strip in 1970, but he didn’t write it and he even had a lot of assistants ghosting the drawing by then too. So who was writing it?

Why, it was the next contestant on Password that day, Allen Saunders from Mary Worth.

Allen saunders and Betty White. A fine writer, but only a fair Password player.

Allen Saunders and Betty White. A fine writer, but only a fair Password player.

After I found that out I wondered if Saunders was sitting in the greenroom smoldering as Andriola talked about his work on Kerry Drake. He did eventually quit the secret uncredited ghostwriting after Andriola accepted the Reuben with a straight face, but the secret stayed a secret until Andriola’s death in 1983.

Most of the cartoonists were awkward and nervous — even Lee Falk, who actually seemed like he’d be a smooth man-about-town in a more normal social situation. (He looked very Mandrake-esque with his slicked-back hair and pencil mustache, but nevertheless playing Password threw him off a bit.)

I thought for sure that Allen Ludden would have been all about Li’l Abner and perhaps The Phantom, but it turned out he was a big fan of Leonard Starr’s On Stage. “All those pretty girls,” Ludden gushes. “And you do such a great job drawing them!”

All those pretty girls, indeed! The girls ARE pretty hot.

All those pretty girls, indeed!

Really I think the best player of the lot was Mort Walker, who also came across as the most genial of the cartoonists that day.

Mort Walker was the only one who looked like he was actually having fun.

Mort Walker was the only one who looked like he was actually having fun.

Anyway, it’s a fun little snapshot of newspaper cartoonists in 1965. But here’s the kicker.

Looking up information about the Pop Art Exhibit, I stumbled across an interesting little piece of comics trivia. One of the contributors to the exhibit was Charles Schulz. He did a piece rendered in oils on masonite, and even cut real slats of wood and attached them with nails to the masonite board to create Snoopy’s doghouse. Furthermore, Snoopy’s ear is a real piece of felt.

Finally found a decent shot of this....

The original painting.

At the auction, a young writer that was just starting to become well-known in comics himself was quite taken with the Schulz entry and bought it. His name?

Stan Lee.

What’s more, decades later, this very painting would cause a controversy. Here’s the relevant bit from the Heritage Auctions description of the item:

Controversy: Some bidders may remember, as reported on November 21, 2002 in The New York Times, that this piece was originally offered in Heritage’s October 2002 auction at the Dallas Comicon. At that time, questions raised by the Schulz estate regarding the painting’s authenticity caused it to be withdrawn prior to the auction.

The day before the painting was to be sold, Heritage Auctions received an e-mail from Edna Poehner, Administrative Assistant to Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates in Santa Rosa, California, insisting that the artwork was not created by Schulz. Heritage announced the withdrawal and shared the following email, written by Ms. Poehner, with all interested bidders: “According to Mr. Schulz’s secretary at that time, Mr. Schulz’s wife, Jean, and various people who worked with Mr. Schulz and know his art, this was definitely not done by him. He would have had to have painted it out behind the garage, packed and mailed it off himself, as she never saw or heard of any signs of such a project. He has never spoken of any kind of oil painting, in fact he often said that he wished he knew how to use oils.”

For the next year, while Heritage researched the matter, the painting has adorned the office wall of Heritage President Greg Rohan. According to Greg, “Despite the allegation by the Schulz estate, we never doubted the authenticity because of its provenance. We politely pointed out that his widow may have no memory of it because the painting was created a full ten years before she married Schulz. Ms. Poehner remained polite but firm in her stance.”

Consignor Stan Lee was equally adamant regarding the painting’s authenticity: “I KNOW the painting is authentic as I personally attended the USO auction, and personally bid on it,” Lee said. “Every piece was offered as an original work by a known comic strip artist. I can’t believe that the USO or Charles Schulz would have been party to a hoax. I also have a Polaroid photo of the painting I showed to Sparky [Schulz's nickname] at a cartoonist’s function in 1988. He said to me something like, “Gee, I barely remember this,’ then autographed the back of the photo to me, writing, ‘To Stan with friendship. Charles Schulz.’ Seems to me if the painting wasn’t authentic he’d have said something entirely different, or, at least, not autographed the back of its photo!”

Mort Walker, creator of the comic strips Beetle Bailey and Hi & Lois, who also attended and submitted artwork for the 1965 fund-raising auction, agrees with Stan Lee. Walker was contacted by Lee, and responded immediately: “In talking to several other cartoonists, the unanimous feeling is that the Schulz painting owned by Stan Lee is authentic. I knew ‘Sparky’ for 50 years and know he would never allow anyone else to do his artwork or sign it. He was very adamant about that,” Walker stated in a letter.

We also asked Stan to attempt to locate the photograph he described above. This photograph has been located, and now accompanies the painting, along with other documentation about the event, including a photographic slide depicting Joan Crawford standing next to the painting, and a copy of a press release from the May 1965 event at which the painting was sold (the same picture of Ms. Crawford standing next to this painting is quite prominent in the press release).

Joan Crawford looks like she's having way too much fun there. The damnedest people turn out to be comics fans...

Joan Crawford looks like she's having way too much fun there. The damnedest people turn out to be comics fans...

I looked all over the place for a scan of Stan’s photo as described, but it’s nowhere to be found on the internet. Except in the auction catalog itself, which I actually ordered from Amazon in a fit of raging curiosity. (I had hoped it would arrive in time for today’s column, but sadly it didn’t.)

However, even with the provenance of the painting cleared up, I haven’t been able to find anything else out about the incident, not even if Stan ever actually sold the painting or not. (Chances are that if he had, it would have gone for some hundreds of thousands of dollars; it was the only time Charles Schulz ever attempted an oil painting at all, let alone a mixed-media piece like this one.)

It’d be nice to know what happened to the painting, if it sold or Stan kept it or if the Heritage Auctions guy still has it or what. It might make an interesting Legends Revealed for for our Dread Lord and Master some day… I’ve chased it about as far as I can, but Brian’s rolodex has better comics-biz contacts than mine.

At any rate, I recommend the Password DVD set unreservedly, especially since you can probably find it for under five dollars and that’s a hell of a deal for thirty episodes; honestly, I’d have paid $5 just for the cartoonists episode. It’s a wonderful sort of pop-culture time machine and you know, the game itself actually holds up. There have been several versions of Password since then: Password Plus, Super Password, Password All-Stars, and I watched them all — Julie and I even watched that hideous new Million Dollar Password! abortion with Regis Philbin, last year, the one that looks like it’s happening inside a neon pinball machine. That one mostly just made us sad at how stupid today’s contestants have gotten… though it was nice to see that Betty White’s still a shark, after all these years.

But the first one’s the best. Language and ideas. That’s all you need.

See you next week.

31 Comments

mr. hatcher,
while i enjoy this sight, i’ve never felt a need or compulsion to comment, but ‘thank you’. old proper game shows, where they bring something of you, old celebs, old comic legends, and betty white, all bring the best out in me. in 5th grade i had a collection of al capp ‘lil abner’ stories i really wish i still had. as an artist today, it really influenced me. growing up with my grandparents, watching older movies, hence celebs….. and of course the many-decades-long-allure of ms. betty white, i found myself commenting approvingly and smiling at the good memories this article reharkened in me. good job, thank you! SH

excellent article.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 3, 2010 at 5:06 am

I could go on and on, but I imagine that by this time you all are wondering, Jesus, Hatcher reaches pretty far sometimes but this is the least comics-related thing he’s done yet. What the hell has a forty-year-old game show got to do with comics?

Ha!
If you hadn’t of pointed it out, I wouldn’t have even noticed!
I found it fascinating, and Ive never seen an episode!

Al Capp and Betty White. Capp is almost as big a grouch here as he was later to John and Yoko.

Well, he’s basically only known these days, if at all, as that guy acting like a douche to John and Yoko during the footage of the bed-in, and you’ve probably only seen that if you like John and Yoko, so history hasn’t judged him kindly.
Man that’s a funny clip – it probably came across like he ‘won’ back then, but watching it now, he really comes across as a stuck prick… even the parts where he’s making a valid point, he looks bad.
(Pretty much like every TV host who took issue with the Sex Pistols – by today’s standards they look quite normal. It’s the guy with the toff accent, bright blue suit, thick rimmed glasses and horrible comb over accusing them of causing the decay of decency that looks like the freak).

honestly, I’d have paid $5 just for the cartoonists episode.

Have you been reading Glamourpuss Greg?
I only started a few issues ago, but it’s a great look at the photo realistic cartoonists back in the day, their styles, lives and rivalries – all filtered through Dave Sims mind, which adds to the brilliance (the last page of #11 was one of the most stunning pages I’ve ever read in a comic. I rang a friend and told them about it, I was so impressed.)

The Crazed Spruce

April 3, 2010 at 6:53 am

I keep seeing the Password box set in the $5 DVD bin at our local discount store, but I keep passing it up. I might just have to pick it up this payday….

I’m a little younger, so I remember Betty White’s skills more from The Match Game, which was also smart but far more shocking. Instead of “guess the word” it was “guess the dirty punchline”. Even today, watching clips on YouTube, that show can make you blush.

Thanks for another really enjoyable column, Greg. I’d actually never watched Password (only heard of it), but now I know there’s going to be an afternoon sometime in the near future spent watching all those clips on Youtube.
As for Betty White – wow, I always liked her as an actress, but it seems like she’s a class act all the way around.

Hehe, like someone mentions above, I found it so interesting that I was completely oblivious to the non-comic-related stuff early on in the article. Your articles are so well-constructed and well-written that I guess it gives you a free pass in my book.

Thank you an excellent article on American culture that I, as a Brit, never knew about.

Reminds me of the film Magnolia – the quiz show and the inter-connected storylines.

I was always more of a Match Game man myself, which is probably the opposite of Password in that it was based in innuendo and a panel of stars that got progressively drunker over the course of the episodes shot, hosted by someone who barely stayed above the frey. But I loved it and it was hilarious and it’s the one game show I bought on DVD.

I have enjoyed watching Password when I’ve been able to on GSN (when I’m somewhere that gets it) so I suspect I would have more fondness for it now. I loved one episode I saw with Woody Allen and Frank Gorshin, if only to see Woody attempt to use Yiddish slang as a clue.

My high school art teacher was a contestant on Password my sophomore year (’72/’73). He lost, mostly because he was paired with Adam West, who Mr. P described as “dumber than a mud fence.” I’d write that off to sour grapes if my Uncle Arlen, who went to Walla Walla High School with West, hadn’t told me my teacher was actually being kind!

I enjoy Password, but my favorites are What’s My Line? and Pyramid.

In both cases, just like Password, they really did reward intelligence – and it was great to see which celebrities were actually smart and which ones were, well, not.

And as with Password, WML? and Pyramid also had hosts who totally gave a shit about the show, not like most shows nowadays where you have a host who is barely connected to the show, let alone invested in the show being good (Trebek, of course, being a notable exception, and he’s been doing the show for over two decades)!

Dick Clark, John Daly, Allen Ludden – they all took their jobs very seriously and the resulting programs were often quite intellectually stimulating. Match Game I liked, but that show seemed to try to go out of its way to KILL the competitive drive of the program (like when they stopped letting contestants choose who they wanted to match with, because only two or three of the celebrities were actually worth asking – like Richard Dawson).

And that Stan Lee story is a great one, Greg! I can certainly see what I can find out about it!

If they ever attempt to bring Password back again, they should make Betty White a producer and let her choose the host and approve all the details of the format. I figure she knows what makes the show work better than anyone else.
My favourite game show still has to be Jeopardy, though. It’s the most fun to play along with. (And I always beat every contestant they have, though I don’t know if I would in real life, because of nervousness and buzzer-skills.)

Like Brian, I was going to mention What’s My Line First time I saw this show on GSN, I was just amazed that the celebrity panel wore formal evening wear. I was absolutely charmed by their formal good manners. And then Buddy Hackett would show up in the panel. He tried…lord, he tried.

A great post, Greg. A few random observations:

1. FUNKYGREENJERUSALEM: Although Al Capp was was not a very pleasent man on a personal level, he was one of the greatest daily cartoonists of all time. Just read the Shmoo series of stories in L’IL ABNER, one of the greatest pieces of cartoon satire ever published.

2. Elizabeth Montgomery: Reading this prompted me to watch some of her PASSWORD appearances on YOUTUBE. Wow, I had forgotten how lovely and charming she was.

“Split Second”! The best game show nobody remembers!

“Password” and “Split Second” were a great combination. 12-1 pm on ABC, I believe, followed by “All My Children.”

What about “PDQ”? That was a fun one.

Is it just my imagination, or are today’s “Jeopardy” questions much easier? I don’t think anything but the $1,000 questions would’ve made it onto the board in the olden days.

Is it just my imagination, or are today’s “Jeopardy” questions much easier? I don’t think anything but the $1,000 questions would’ve made it onto the board in the olden days.

I think that may be partly true, and it depresses me, especially when you hear people today talk about how HARD Jeopardy questions are.. However, I have to remember to factor in that in the olden days, I wasn’t as well-read as today, either, so they may have just looked harder.

After an extremely superficial review of a couple YouTube videos, I’d classify the “Jeopardy” answers as follows:

Old “Jeopardy”: easy, medium, medium, hard, hard.

New “Jeopardy”: easy, easy, easy, easy, medium.

So only 1-2 questions per category from the old “Jeopardy” could’ve made it into the new “Jeopardy.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AJtYPKNBqg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw73OcTZVAk

“Password” let people use proper nouns as clues, right? I wonder why no one said “Gilligan” to elicit the answer “Skipper.”

I don’t blame Bob Denver for not getting that one right away. The contestants kept repeating “ship’s” and “captain” as if those clues were patently obvious.

I’m not old enough to clearly rmember how hard the original Jeopardy was. But it does feel like the questions have been dumbed down a little since the current version first began. It might just be because they have several more lighthearted categories now.
Do people (other than idiots) really say that Jeopardy questions are hard? They seem very easy to me, aside from occasional categories I have no interest in (such as sports). Of course, even a really easy category will sometimes contain one hard question, but I assume we’re talking about the average difficulty.

Greg: Your article was indeed so good I didn’t even care it wasn’t about comics. And then the rest of it was just as entertaining. Thanks! :)

Most of these shows never aired in Puerto Rico (though there have been Latino versions of them, some official, some rip-offs.) However I did get to see them (including Password) on the Game Show channel in recent years; in fact the GSC was my “default” channel most of the time, the one place I knew I would find something to watch on TV. My favorite was The Match Game precisely because of its eccentricities, but I also enjoyed the more formal ones like Ludden’s Password. Sadly I gave up Cable in order to save money last year, but I’ve come to regret the decision as local TV is even WORSE than I remembered it being, I’m definitely getting Cable back as soon as I can afford it.

Oh and those clips were hilarious! Again, thanks!! :D

funkygreenjerusalem

April 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Although Al Capp was was not a very pleasent man on a personal level, he was one of the greatest daily cartoonists of all time. Just read the Shmoo series of stories in L’IL ABNER, one of the greatest pieces of cartoon satire ever published.

I have no problem separating the work from the man.
I just find it funny he went in to show those crazy hippies a thing or two, not realising that footage would be still around forty years later, watched by their fans, not his.
(It’s in almost every Lennon doco there is, to highlight how much ‘they’ hated him).

I think that may be partly true, and it depresses me, especially when you hear people today talk about how HARD Jeopardy questions are.. However, I have to remember to factor in that in the olden days, I wasn’t as well-read as today, either, so they may have just looked harder.

Also, frame of references change – different periods get taught etc.
Back then, everyone knew more about the decades just before you were born, as well as the current day, so questions from there that would amaze you, were common knowledge to those who lived through it.
We’ve got two different Trivial pursuits at my parents – one my parents, uncles and grandparents are good at, and me and my sister are dumbfounded by – it’s from the 70′s or 80′s – and a more recent one which they can’t get a question right on, and us younger one’s can do well.
(Although thinking on it, the younger one does have more pop-culture than I think it should.

Travis Pelkie

April 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm

This post was excellent, and as some have pointed out, until you mention it, I didn’t care that it wasn’t “comics-related” — it was “geek-related” (not to be disparaging).

Then you brought in the comics related stuff, and it was more awesomer, to coin a phrase.

Would there possibly be any mention of the Charles Schulz painting in the bio of him that came out within the last couple years? I can’t remember the author’s name, but I want to say David Michaelis. If I’m right about that, I give myself a pat on the back.

But yes, this post makes me want to find that DVD.

I do great with the Jeopardy questions unless they use the Opera category. I don’t think they have dumbed-down the Jeopardy questions so much as they have added more stupid pop culture questions.

Password is my second favorite behind Jeopardy, but for pure fun, nothing beats The Match Game. Damn, that show was lewd! I can’t believe they got away with that stuff back then.

I’m also fascinated by the people that were considered celebrities back then. Writers? Cartoonists? Stage actors? Columnists? Who are these people?

Finally found some good shots of the Schulz painting. I swear, the only time I ever use my Heritage Auctions account is to gank their pictures to run with a column.

Louis Bright-Raven

April 4, 2010 at 1:45 am

Match Game = Awesome.
Pyramid = Meh. Depended on who was playing.
Password = Again, depending on who was playing
What’s My Line = hilarious
To Tell The Truth = hilarious (shame Direct TV had to ruin it with their recent lame assed ad)
Tattle Tales = Makes me wonder what today’s celeb couples would be like on it.

But the best game show for a comics artist to be on undoubtedly would be PICTIONARY.

I watched a Password episode on Youtube with Woody Allen and Nancy Sinatra.
Nancy beat Woody, which surprised me, but both seemed very into it.
The best part though was the Chesterfield cigarette ad in the middle, with cowboys having ‘the clean smoke’, ‘the taste you’ve been craving, in the length you’ve come to expect’.
I was always thought send ups of those ads probably went too far, but it seems they didn’t go far enough!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 4, 2010 at 7:07 pm

That was me!

I agree with Louis – Match Game was the most awesome of the old game shows. There was more innuendo flying around the six stars in the panel, than in the 9 stars in a typical Hollywood Squares, which is generally thought of by most before Match Game. The stars were witty, naughty, and sometimes perverse, and it sometimes just totally destroyed the contestants by sheer intimidation.

OF the 80s-origin game shows, the writers for “scrabble” were probably the best, of the ones that had no star presence other than the host. There was one show, where the clue was “People who live in glass houses should not throw these”, and the word was _/_/_/_/E/_ . The poor contestants were so flustered by it not being “stones”, and thinking it CAN’T be the other thing, that they got down to all 3 strikes with 1 letter left, before a contestant on the very last meekly answered correctly, “orgies????” They must have had one of the Match Game writers working that week….

On the subject of Match Game writers, I believe the main writer on Match Game was Dick DeBartolo, long time Mad Magazine writer. I could be wrong about that, but I believe I’m correct. So everything with game shows is comics related. Sort of.

Matthew Johnson

April 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

So long as we’re talking about old gameshows, here’s the one with the best theme song ever: “Definition”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t02YeS4mG5M

I was alive for a decade or two before each version of “Jeopardy.” I took the changing frames of reference into account. 1970′s “Jeopardy” was harder for someone born in 1940 than 2010′s “Jeopardy” is for someone born in 1980.

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