Archive for the ‘"Password"’ Category

Game Show Creator Bob Stewart Dies at 91

Friday, May 4th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report the death of game show creator/producer Bob Stewart, who passed away at the age of 91. Stewart began his association with producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman (Goodson-Todman) in 1955 and created fan favorites Pyramid, The Price is Right, To Tell the Truth, and Password.

Here are some selections from Stewart’s three-hour Archive interview from 1998:

On the genesis of The Price is Right:

On Fiftieth Street and Seventh Avenue in New York there used to be a store which auctioned silverware, glassware, watches, jewelry … and everyday during the lunch hour that place was packed. People would just walk in and bid for the goods. I used to stop by there and watch the stuff and I thought to myself, ‘anybody who pays a nickel more than the retail price has been taken, but anybody who gets it for even a nickel less has got a bargain.’ And that became the core of The Price Is Right.

On how celebrity panelists were selected for To Tell The Truth:

In its original form, we had different visions of making this cross examination more than just entertainment. So as a consequence, we had a couple of reporters whose names escape me right now but they were literally reporters that people knew about. One guy was sort of an entertainment writer for one of the big New York newspapers. We also brought in people like Ralph Bellamy because he was doing Man Against Crime, a fictional detective, but at least he was cross-examining … We ended up with people like Orson Bean and Kitty Carlisle and the classic panelists Peggy Cass, who were there to have some fun and make a good time of it.

On how the Quiz Show Scandals changed game shows:

They brought in what they called Standards and Practices. The first guys hired back in 1958 or ’59, whenever it was, they brought in some ex-FBI men … an FBI guy came in and he oversaw the shows to make sure that nothing crooked was going on. The new thing that was innovated was that all contestants and all producers had to sign certain waivers of sorts saying you wouldn’t cheat and so on. There was that. The physical setup between contestants and production help had to be completely separate. We now had to have contestants briefed in another building at one time, couldn’t be in the same building. And in the studio, the quarters were set up so that there could be no contact except for the person who was the contestant getter, nobody else could be near a contestant.

On creating Password:

On creating Pyramid:

That had a strange development. Originally, we had a pilot that we made for CBS and it was called On The Line. There was a pyramid shape with a series of lines across the pyramid. I think there were ten lines. The bottom row had ten squares, then nine, eight, seven, six, on up to one. It was a different kind of game but we played a game with it. We made the pilot and it was just a so-so pilot. Fred Silverman, who has been said ’shoots from the hip,’ looked at it, didn’t care for it, and said, ‘we’ll do something else.’ I was trying to take advantage of the fact that they needed a show and I brought in some run-through of another show which he liked, and we were working on that in different run-throughs and then one day I got an idea of how to convert that pyramid of ten into another kind of show of quick communication. Although we were scheduled to run-through this new idea I showed Silverman this new version of the old pilot. ‘I kind of like it,’ he said, ‘but I don’t like the front game, the end game is okay.’ So I change that — the network guys do this, they don’t know what they’re looking for and they don’t recognize it so they’re not sure, so they keep sending you back to do it again, again, and again. Finally, one day I show him these two pieces together. Matter of fact, Bill Cullen was helping me demonstrate it, he was one of the players. The next thing I knew I walked into Bud Grant’s office. Bud was the head of daytime television, Silverman was the head of nighttime. I was hanging around CBS to find out whether we’re going to make the schedule and then I noticed in Bud Grant’s office where they have this board of shows, it said ‘Ten Thousand Dollar Pyramid.’ I said, ‘what the hell is that?’ He says, ‘you’re on the air.’

On how game show production changed since he began his career:

Since I haven’t been in it for a few years, I don’t know exactly, but I’ll tell you how part of it changed. The part that’s changed is … I’ll use the word respect. There was a certain respect that the network people or syndicators had for the producers of game shows. In other words, they dealt with them on a rather, even equal keel and said, ‘you have something that has some value, let’s talk about it.’ What I hear today is that when you go to a network or to a cable operation or to a syndicator, they couldn’t care less about the idea of the show. ‘You do business our way or we don’t do business.’ There are stories of syndicators and especially cable operators who say, ‘okay, we’ll take this show we own, we’ll give you some money.’ It’s all gone. Where’s the entrepreneur? What‘s the point in trying to be creative if it doesn’t belong to you? So the business part has changed a lot.

Watch Bob Stewart’s Full Archive Interview.

Golden Girl Betty White Turns 90!

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Betty White celebrates her 90th birthday today! The Hot in Cleveland star is hot all over the globe these days, hosting Saturday Night Live, making memorable appearances on Community, and stealing scenes from Sandra Bullock in The Proposal. She’s a consummate comedienne with a quick wit that keeps audiences wanting more.

Born January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, White got her start in television when the medium first emerged onto the American landscape back in 1939, appearing in a closed circuit presentation of “The Merry Widow” in the Los Angeles Packard Building. A natural from the start, she loved the rush of live television, and when regular programming began she was quickly tapped to be Al Jarvis’ right-hand woman on 1949’s Hollywood on Television, a 5.5 hour/day broadcast for KCLA TV that was largely a televised version of Jarvis’ radio program. White and Jarvis ad-libbed for over 30 hours of airtime/week:

In 1951 she starred in the first of what would be three Betty White Shows – this one a short-lived, half hour daytime program. She soon moved on to producing and starring in the 1952 sitcom Life with Elizabeth, and to hosting the second Betty White Show in 1954, a national network show for NBC that aired at noon.

From there, White hosted her first of 20 Rose Parades in 1955. She also spent 10 years hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Lorne Greene.

In 1955 White began appearing on television game shows, a pastime dear to her heart. A lover of games since childhood, she enjoyed playing What’s My Line?, Make the Connection, and many other Goodson/Todman games. As fate would have it, she made quite the connection when she appeared on Password and met future husband Allen Ludden, who hosted the program:

The third Betty White Show came along in 1957, a short-lived sitcom produced by and starring White, and in the 1960’s White made over 70 appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar – one of her favorite programs. She then got to showcase her love of animals on The Pet Set, a 1971 show in which she interviewed celebrities and their pets. She appeared on The Carol Burnett Show in the mid-1970s (which led to her later role as “Ellen Harper Jackson” on Mama’s Family) and in 1973, got a call from casting director Ethel Winant to play the role of “Sue Ann Nivens,” the “neighborhood nymphomaniac” on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White won two Emmys for the role and reminisced about the show’s famous series finale in her 1997 Archive interview:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was both a critical and popular darling, and yet another hit comedy was in White’s future. She was up for the role of “Blanche Devereaux” on a new series called Golden Girls, which would make its debut in 1985. White explains how director Jay Sandrich (who directed many episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show) was instrumental in her winning the role of “Rose Nylund” instead:

White was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995, and continues to bring laughter to millions as an ensemble player in projects for both the big and small screen. You can currently catch Betty White on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland Wednesday nights at 10pm.

Happy birthday, Betty! Here’s to many, many more!

Watch Betty White’s full Archive interview here.

- by Adrienne Faillace

“The password is…FIFTY!” — It’s “Password’s” Golden Anniversary

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

On October 2, 1961, the popular game show Password, hosted by Allen Ludden,  premiered in daytime (a nighttime version was launched in January of 1962). Two teams (consisting of a celebrity and a contestant) competed. The “password” was given to  one player on each team. The player who was given the password gave a one-word clue and the teammate would try to guess the password. If the partner failed to come up with the password within five-seconds, the turn passed to the opposing team. The game continued until the password was guessed or until 10 clues had been given. The show was an instant hit and showcased almost every major star of the time including Betty White (who met her husband-to-be Password host Allen Ludden on the show). Lucille Ball,  Carol Burnett, Bob Denver, and hundreds of others.

Bob Stewart on creating Password

Bob Stewart on choosing “passwords” — and Jack Benny’s famous appearance on the show

Jack Benny and Joan Benny are the celebrity contestants on Password (1962)

See more about Password on the Archive’s Password Show Page…

New "Password" on CBS– Watch Original Show Creator Bob Stewart’s Archive Interview Online

Friday, June 6th, 2008

CBS has launched a new nighttime version of the classic game show Password, with Regis Philbin. The Mark Goodson-Bill Todman production started in CBS daytime on October 2, 1961, created by game show guru Bob Stewart, who the Archive interviewed in 1998. Allen Ludden was the show’s host and it was on this show that he met his future wife, actress Betty White, who was a frequent guest.

Bob Stewart talks about the creation of Password at 9 minutes into Part 4 of his Archive interview.

Ira Skutch, a longtime associate of Goodson-Todman talks about Bob Stewart at 16 minutes into Part 5 of his Archive interview.

Betty White talks about meeting Allen Ludden through Password at 20 minutes into Part 2 of her Archive interview.

And remember when Felix Unger and Oscar Madison made an ill-fated appearance on Password? Click here for the origin of that famous Odd Couple episode.

"The Price Is Right" Is On DVD; Show Creator Bob Stewart’s Archive Interview Now Online

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008


The Price Is Right has c’mon on out on DVD— 26 classic episodes. The Archive interviewed host and game show legend Bob Barker in 2000.

The Archive additionally interviewed the creator of The Price Is Right and many other classic game shows, Bob Stewart.

Click here to access Bob Stewart’s entire seven-part interview.

Interview Description:
Stewart spoke about his transition from radio to television, and his first television show, Songs for Sale. Stewart looked back on his association with producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman (Goodson-Todman), which began in 1955. He talked about creating the game shows To Tell the Truth, The Price is Right and Password. He discussed the quiz show scandals and its impact on future game shows. Stewart commented on his continued success with his show The $10,000 Pyramid, which was later re-titled The $100,000 Pyramid. He discussed the importance of game show host selection, the qualities of a perfect contestant, and the key to creating a fun and successful game show.

It’s a known fact that Lincoln loved mayonnaise! — "The Odd Couple" Season 3 is on DVD

Friday, January 25th, 2008


Season Three of The Odd Couple is now available on DVD and includes a number of the series’ most well-remembered episodes including “Let’s Make A Deal,” “The Odd Monks” (Felix and Oscar go to a retreat at an upstate Mission), and, possibly the most famous (but you knew that from this post’s title quotation): “Password.” The Archive of American Television interviewed several of the cast and crew behind the series; Tony Randall discusses the genesis of the “Password” episode in part four of his interview.

Click here to access Tony Randall’s entire four-part Archive interview.

Tony Randall Interview Description:
Randall explained that it was his role on television’s Mr. Peepers that launched his career. He recalled his early years in live television and his association with comedian Wally Cox and producer Fred Coe. He talked extensively about working on The Odd Couple and his enduring friendship with Jack Klugman. He also talked about his favorite, but short lived series, Love, Sidney, as well as The Tony Randall Show. The interview was conducted by Matt Roush on April 30, 1998.