Sunday, February 06, 2022

Clocks, Truths, Matches, and Lines

Got a quick start on a sunny morning with breakfast and Super Star Collection Vol. 1. Only had time for the first side. I love K-Tel's random collections. It's a great way to get both hard-to-find tunes like "Let's All Chant" by The Michael Zager Band and better-known songs like Dave Mason's "We Just Disagree," "On and On" by Steven Bishop, and "Moonlight Feels Right" by Starbuck. You can also run across the occasional oddity, here represented by the hit Meco disco renditions of the themes from Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Rushed out to work even before the record ended. Work wasn't fun at all. The lovely, bitter cold day didn't deter people from getting their beginning-of-the-month shopping out of the way. One customer threw an absolute fit when I told her she had the wrong items for her WIC (food for low-income families and infants) checks and had to get the right ones. But she always used those items, she complained. But that doesn't make them the right ones, I tried to explain. She made such a fuss, I had to call a manager...and then she got angry at her when she said I was right. Thank goodness I had to go on break anyway and was able to get away.

Went straight home after work and into bed for a nap. I know I'm supposed to be looking for apartments...but it's Sunday. Most apartment building offices are closed. Besides, I was dead tired, and I work the entire week after tomorrow. I won't have too many more opportunities to rest. 

Jodie's noisy yammering on her side of the house woke me up around 5:30. Thankfully, she was mostly gossiping and discussing her new boyfriend Bob, nothing about the family. I read The Fast and the Furriest in bed for a half-hour so. Listened to the rest of Super Star Collection Vol. 1 while eating scrambled eggs with cheese and celery with peanut butter for dinner. 

(Jodie was nice enough to text me a few apartment listings this afternoon. I didn't have the heart to tell her two already turned me down and a third had no openings, but considering she hasn't really wanted to help, it was a nice gesture.) 

Finished the night after a shower on YouTube exploring the early history of game show producers Mark Goodman and Bill Todman. They started out in radio, but their main success was in television. Their earliest hits were panel shows like What's My Line? and I've Got a Secret. Four celebrities would sit at a table and try to guess something about a contestant. In Line, it's their occupation; in Secret, it's some strange talent they have or unusual thing they've built. The episode of Line is the very first from 1950, and I will admit, it's a little dull. Columnist Dorothy Kilgallon is the only familiar face, and no one gets anything right. The later version of Secret, with Bob Barker explaining Price Is Right pricing games to the panel and host Steve Allen, is a lot more fun. 

They were also pioneers of the stunt show. Beat the Clock was a massive hit during most of the 1950's. Bud Collyer leads couples through a series of messy stunts for money that pre-date the Nickelodeon Double Dare by thirty years. The show was so popular, its model Roxanne even had a doll made after her; it's given to the little girl of one of the couples here. (I wouldn't mind having that doll myself!) 

To Tell the Truth was Mark Goodson's personal favorite of the game shows he produced. It's another panel game, but this one is a bit less light-hearted. Four celebrities try to decide which one of three contestants is what the host claims they are, and which ones are the impostors. Betty White, Tom Poston, Pat Carroll, and an impossibly young Johnny Carson try to figure out which of three teen Eagle Scouts spent five months at a US military base under the ice, which of three exotic dancers also raised cows, and which man was the then-Chief Postal Inspector. 

Another Goodson-Todman first was saving game show broadcasts. Until the 1970's, game shows were considered even more disposable than most daytime programming. The networks didn't see how anyone could want to see someone play again after they'd already won. When Password proved to be a massive success in re-runs, Goodson-Todman started saving as many episodes of their shows as possible. Between CBS ending the erasure of their shows in 1972 and their saving the tapes, they managed to preserve at least 90 percent of the 1973-1982 Match Game run...and that one continues to be a re-run juggernaut to this day. It's still shown on Game Show Network and at least three times a day on Buzzr. 

(Alas, they weren't as lucky with the original 60's Match Game. NBC wiped the tapes before they were able to save them. Only two episodes and the pilot of the 1962-1969 Match Game survive today.)

Maybe it's just as well that NBC also got to most of Mindreaders. This peculiar Match Game clone is one of Goodson-Todman's few missteps. Dick Martin leads two celebrities to guess how one group of men or women will react to a question. Later, the winners have to guess how selected members of the audience will answer a series of questions. It's...really strange, and other than a nifty rainbow set and Martin having a good time, doesn't have a lot going for it. I chose one of the few remaining episodes, with Joyce Bulifant and Jack Jones. 

Celebrate some of the biggest hits from one of the most famous of all game show companies! (And look for the original commercials on most of these shows.) 

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