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ABC Carnival '74
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ABC Carinval '74


Producer: Hatos-Hall
Host: Tom Kelly
Announcer: Johnny Gilbert
Assistant: The Beautiful Barbara
Taping Info: 1974
Made it to Air: No
Other Pilots: One either before or after this one was shot with Wonderama host Bob McAllister, which apparently also included Ruth Buzzi in some undetermined role.

Let's Make a Deal was still going strong in 1974. However, at times it looked a little too over the top with the costumes and the naked greed. So, if you were trying to improve it, would you try to make it more cerebral, or would you just amp the volume, make a really busy set and pay Johnny Gilbert by the decibel level? Well, if the latter is your choice, then ABC Carnival '74 is your show. Complete with a carnival set and a live band, local L.A. sportscaster Tom Kelly will give you a chance to win some prizes.

Kelly introduces the potential players in the game, 10 on the "midway" and 10 on the "carousel", which were pretty much just an area with bleachers. For the first game, Johnny way, way, way too enthusiastically in carnival barker style introduces to a tattooed woman (but really body paint). Two couples were brought in from the carousel, and had to guess how many tattoos she had. The winning couple got a lovely urine-colored dishwasher, while the losing couple got a kewpie doll.

However, "that's not all." The winning couple has the chance to trade in the dishwasher for a chance to win a pool table. A member of the audience was picked by Johnny to hit one of those strength machines (you know, where you use a mallet to hit a bell, whatever they're called), and managed to get only a third of the way up. All the guy had to do was beat that score, which he easily did by going all the way to the top.

Coming back from the commercial, Tom picks someone with a "good eye" from the midway. She's going to have a chance to win the a color TV. Well, a chance, because Tom has picked someone else from the audience. And they're essentially going to be playing The Golden Shot. For those of you who didn't live in the UK in the 70s, the game involved instructing a blindfolded cameraman within eight seconds to shoot an arrow, and whoever was closer to the bullseye was the winner. Because blindfolded archery in a crowded studio is always a good idea.

The first player picked won, and got her TV set. But wait, "that's not all." She could attempt to beat her shot for a chance at $1,000 and a barbecue. She tried but failed, and lost everything, so in consolation was given a kewpie doll. The loser was then given the same deal, she couldn't beat the first shot, and since "nobody goes away empty handed", she got a kewpie doll as well.

In the mid-game fee plug, we finally found out what the kewpie doll buys you - $70 worth of Samsonite luggage. Gorilla not included.

Another player was selected from the carousel, and she threw three darts on a 10x10 board, each marked with a number from 51-100. The numbers converted to dollars, and she got $221. She then was given a chance double her money and win a fur jacket by calling either "odd" or "even" on one more throw. She failed here, so the $221 was returned and was given $55 and a kewpie doll.

Johnny Gilbert greets us screaming back from a commercial to show us to introduce us to a carnival strongman. The player chosen this time had to pick the one bar that the strongman could not bend. If she guessed correctly, she would win a grand piano. First, she was tempted with a home movie camera to call it quits right away. She declined, and was able to find a bar that the strongman could bend. Tom then offered her a motorcycle and $500 to quit, which she declined. This time, she should have quit because she did not pick the bar the strongman could not bend. So she gets a kewpie doll.

A very awkward transition later, we've moved onto The Big Deal The Super Sweepstakes Race. The players are asked from highest winner on down who is willing to forfeit their earnings for a chance at more earnings. Three toy horses -- Checkerina, Candy Stripe and Polka Dotty -- are on a model race track. The top winner picked a horse, the second winner picked a horse plus a punch card, which contains the data for the horse race.

Finishing third in the race won kitchenware, second a home entertainment center, and first place a Pontiac Firebird. But wait, portions of the audience were given betting slips that matched one of the horses. If that horse won, they would win luggage as well. Tom placed the card into the machine, and the horses were off, with all of the excitement of the dot race at the ball game. Surprisingly, the horse not picked won, so nobody won the car.

This was just way, way too much. Deal was always a bit over the top when on the schedule, always an interesting half hour but always felt a bit uncomfortable watching. ABC Carnival '74 was like Deal, but if Sid and Marty Krofft were the producers. Way too loud -- Johnny Gilbert actually manages to get on your nerves with his over-enthusiasm -- and zero play along. And that horse race was just terrible. Tom Kelly was OK (he had subbed on Deal prior to this) and could have made a decent show that wasn't so complicated, and loud.

This pilot has been viewed 6788 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Jan 12, 2010 22:08 ET
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