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Call My Bluff

Producer: Goodson-Todman
Host: Bill Leyden
Announcer: Don Pardo
Celebrities: Peggy Cass, Abe Burrows
Taping Info: February 27, 1965
Other Pilots: UCLA has a "rehearsal" from February 3, 1965 with Gene Rayburn and Betty White as the celebrities.
Made it to Air: Yes, it replaced Goodson-Todman's own Say When on March 29, 1965 on NBC and lasted for a six months before it was replaced by the soap Paradise Bay on September 27, 1965.

The concept of basing a game show around obscure definitions has been around for a while, including Oh My Word, Take My Word for It and Balderdash. An early show in this stable is Goodson-Todman's Call My Bluff, a four-contestant, two-celebrity affair. Bill Leyden, free of his duty on You're First Impression is your host, while panel stalwarts Peggy Cass and Abe Burrows are your celebrities. Also since there was only one month between this pilot and the first episode, this is probably a test program more than a true pilot, since the show had already been announced to be joining the NBC schedule before this was taped. However, it is definitely not an actual episode, since the show ran longer than 30 minutes plus Don Pardo was never an announcer on the show.

The four contestants and the two celebrities are divided into two teams. An obscure word is announced by Don Pardo and is eventually flipped on the Solari board behind the team, such as "garbure". The members of one of the teams each give a definition of the word, one is correct, the other two are bluffing. The other team tries to guess which is the correct one. If the guessing team is correct, they receive $50, otherwise the bluffing team receives $50. This continued until one team got to $100, so it was essentially two-of-three.

The bonus game had a unique twist, as both teams were still involved. A guest came out and had an unusual story, such as a unique way of getting up in the morning. The winning team then played as bluffers, with one of them having the correct story. The losing team played as guessers. If the bluffers were successful, they won $200 and the losers had to go home. However, if the guessers were successful, they denied the winning team their winnings and got to play in the next game. The jackpot was progressive with $200 added for each loss.

An interesting facet to the game was that the bluffers did not have prepared material, and all of them gave very plausible bluffs. Also, the only difference between this show and the eventual airing show was the aired show basically said best two-of-three rather than the 50-100 scoring system. However, like all definition bluffing games, they are slow and sometimes can be boring. Unlike the board game Balderdash, you as a viewer are never playing as the definition writer, you are only playing as the guesser, which I never liked when playing the game. I also always thought these kinds of games could use a speed round just so it would not be so monotonous.

This pilot has been viewed 8955 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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