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Crossword


Producer: Payne/Hitman/Official Films
Host: George Fenneman
Model: Doreen Jorgensen
Celebrities: Carolyn Jones, Michael Landon
Taping Info: 1966, probably Los Angeles
Made it to Air: Not under this title nor this host, but it could be said that The Cross-Wits is essentially this show if you added two more celebrities.
Other Pilots: There's another one with Paul Lynde and Tippi Hendren as your celebrities. A version was also peddled in 1971 with Bob Hastings as host in five-a-day syndication. It never made it to air.
Availability: Shokus Video #845, "Lost Game Show Pilots"

Crossword is a fine example of how a good show can be positively ruined by poor execution. George Fenneman, the longtime straightman-announcer on You Bet Your Life, constantly seemed perplexed by the rules of what was pretty much a stripped down version of Chuck Woolery's Scrabble.

The game is played between two teams of a celebrity and a contestant. On this particular pilot, the celebrities are Carolyn Jones of The Addams Family and Michael Landon of Bonanza. A blank crossword is shown along with a category. To win the game, you had to guess the category based on certain clue words in the puzzle. To find these clue words, you called out a number and either across or down. George read a clue, and the contestant or the celebrity (alternating turns) attempt to guess the word. If the player got it right, their team kept control of the board. If they failed, control passed over to the other team. Also, one word that was not known to the players was the "prize word", which earned the player a prize for getting the word. On this particular show, it was a golf bag.

As far as a bonus game goes, I don't know. There was no mention of one, and George called time right after the winner won the necessary two games. Which was pretty much a theme of the entire show, everybody seemed in the dark. George didn't seem to know the rules, the sound effects people didn't seem to know when to cue for a clue word or a prize word, and believe it or not, that board actually does has numbers, but you just can't see them.

This game really wouldn't work today, but in the late 60's it could have. However, this is one of the most technically deficient pilots I've seen. In the hands of Goodson-Todman, Bob Stewart or Hatos-Hall, this would have made the air.


Not busting their art budget, here's the opening title for Crossword.

The secret word is George Fenneman.

Here's Carolyn Jones.

And "Little Joe" himself, Michael Landon. I bet he was thrilled to be called that.

Here's the first puzzle. Believe it or not, there are actually numbers in the left-hand corner of the boxes.

The contestant solved the puzzle on these three words.

Did you select a clue word?

And here are the credits, drawn by a production assistant's six year old.


This pilot has been viewed 6276 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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