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Body Language

Producer: Mark Goodson
Host: Tom Kennedy
Announcer: Johnny Olson
Celebrities: Jennie Lee Harrison, Jon Bauman
Taping Info: October 9, 1983, CBS Studio City #33
Other Pilots: There were three shot that day. This review is a combination of pilots #1 and #3.
Made it to Air: It valiantly took the 4 PM death slot on CBS on June 4, 1984, replacing the revival of Tattletales and keeping the fort until January 3, 1986 when Card Sharks was added to the lineup, bumping Press Your Luck to 4 PM.
Availability: UCLA Archive

Apparently Mark Goodson loved the charades. He tried it in the 70s with Showoffs, he tried it in the 90s with Body Talk, and he'll try it in between with Body Language. Tom Kennedy is your uninhibited host, while in pilot #1, some unknown actress named Anne-Marie Johnson would get her big break and within five years have a higher acting profile than the two celebrities.

The show opens with the familiar cartoon contorted bodies, except they are all shades of green, and the theme is something different. Additionally, the teams are referred to as 'WOMEN' and 'MEN' rather than by celebrity name. The puzzles is played like the eventual airing show, the celebrity given sixty seconds to pantomime five words to their partner, with the difference that the puzzle (on chyron instead of mechanical) was shown before the miming. The words guessed during the pantomime was then added to the puzzle, and the guesser tried to guess the puzzle. If he or she was unable, the equivalent player on the other team was brought over to guess with the help of one more word.

Play continued like the regular airing show, with teams alternating until somebody hit $500. However, the scoring system managed to be even worse than the aired show. As you may know, on the aired show the four puzzles were valued 100-100-250-250, with 500 for a win. If neither team got to 500, an extra 250 puzzle was played. On this pilot, the four puzzles were valued 100-200-300-400, with 500 for a win. This was an incredible advantage to the team that went second and consequently fourth, since you could conceivably win with the 200 and 400 puzzles. The team going first and consequently third could get their two puzzles and still lose.

The bonus was totally different from the aired show. No pantomiming was involved in this round called "7 Chances". Instead, two puzzles were shown with the requisite 7 blanks. The celebrity chose the blank to be revealed, and the contestant tried to guess the puzzle. If the contestant got both puzzles, he or she won $7,000 + $1,000 per leftover chance. If they got one puzzle, he or she got $500.

The unusually long lead time between a Goodson pilot and air time (nine months) most likely led to the serious tinkering that occurred between this pilot and the aired show. However, the insistence that this game not be straddled brought some wacky scoring systems into play and didn't help either this pilot or the aired show.

It's a ticket for the uninhibited.

This pilot has been viewed 13408 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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