Sunday, August 08, 2021

The Password Is "Summer"

Started off the morning with blueberry pancakes for breakfast and one of the Verasae Sarabande CDs I finally got around to buying last year. Unsung Musicals III is the last one in the series spotlighting shows that died on the road, had short runs, or were never recorded for one reason or another. My favorite from this one is the charming title song of a musical It's a Wonderful Life and "At the Same Time" from a stage adaptation of Freaky Friday

Rushed out to work before the CD even finished. We were insanely busy all day, probably with the last of the beginning-of-the-month people. Thankfully, other than I barely got in on time and had to deal with a few grouchy customers, there were no major problems. I finished one last big load with two pleasant ladies and was able to shut down right on time.

Went straight home the moment I got out. Had leftovers for dinner while listening to another Verasae Sarabande title. The Lost In Boston series focuses on songs cut from musicals that did make Broadway. The third entry kicks off with one of my favorite cut songs, "Mama's Talkin' Soft" from Gypsy, performed by two girls as in the original show. Other good ones here include the sweet "Pink Taffeta Sample Size 10" from Sweet Charity and "Older and Wiser" from Bye Bye Birdie

Spent the next hour or so relaxing blissfully in the bath. I badly needed it. Work's been such a mess. If people aren't quitting, they're on vacation. That's why I took those three days off in the middle of the week. I'm tired, frustrated, and frazzled, and I need a chance to sleep in, rest, and actually get some errands done and work on projects.

Finished the night with various incarnations of Password in honor of Buzzr's Password Triple Play starting next Saturday. The show made its debut in 1961 and was an instant sensation for its simple and lightning-paced game play. Two celebrities give clues for a contestant to guess a certain word. The first team to 25 points won the contestant $100 and a chance to play the Lightning Round. Here, the contestant had to guess 10 words in under a minute for up to $250. 

Password was the biggest game show on daytime through the mid-60's. It was so big, it became one of the first daytime shows to jump to nighttime. (The Password board game was such a sensation, versions of it are still being made to this day.) Betty White was a frequent player; she met and married her adored husband, host Allen Ludden, while appearing on this show. The show made the jump to color in 1966 and lasted another year before finally falling to more salacious programs like The Dating Game

It was revived by ABC in 1971...but alas, very little of that version survives. That one lasted until 1975; when it returned again in 1979, it was now on NBC as Password Plus. It's still a celebrity and a contestant, but this time, five Passwords add up to a Password Puzzle. If the celebrity or contestant guesses the puzzle, they win the round. The Lightning Round was replaced by Alphabetics. Same deal, only now, the words are in alphabetical order and the round is played for 5,000. 

Ludden still hosted on the 1980 Nipsey Russell-Anne Meara episode seen here, but he was already ill with stomach cancer when this episode filmed. Bill Cullen took over for a few weeks later that year. By the end of the year, Ludden's good friend Tom Kennedy became the show's permanent host and finished out the run.

Bert Convy took over for Super Password. Pretty much the same deal as Plus, only the Lightning Round is now Super Password, and it's played for increasing amounts. There's also the Ca$shword mini-game between rounds. It's supposed to allow contestants to guess a super-hard word for extra money, but the machines frequently didn't work, and most celebrities weren't very fond of it. Chose the episode I have listed in honor of Markie Post from Night Court, who passed away today. She's joined by charming Soul Train comedian Marty Cohen. 

The final version of Password to date was Million Dollar Password in 2008. This one got hit hard by the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire virus, with snazzier, darker sets and graphics and game play that basically crossed the original Password with Millionaire. Regis Philbin hosted this one, too...and to bring everything full circle, Betty White joins radio host and comedian Adam Corolla.

The password! Enjoy these blasts from the past with one of the simplest and most addictive games ever on TV. (Warning - the Password Plus tape isn't the greatest, but Buzzr only tends to show episodes from 1979 and very early in 1980.) 

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