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Match Game (1962)


Producer: Goodson-Todman
Host: Gene Rayburn
Announcer: Johnny Olson
Celebrities: Peggy Cass, Peter Lind Hayes
Taping Info: 1962
Made it to Air: Yes, it joined the NBC lineup on December 31, 1962, replacing Here's Hollywood. It stayed there until September 26, 1969 when it was replaced by Letters to Laugh-In. Later versions of the show came on the air in 1973, 1979, 1990 and 1998.
Other Pilots: Not for this version, but there were pilots for successful revivals in 1973 and 1990 plus unsuccessful 1996, 2005 and 2008 versions.
Availability: It's available from both Shokus Video and as an extra on the Match Game DVD from Brentwood Home Video.

Word games became hot in the early 1960s, the big one being Password. And, when Goodson-Todman had a hot game, they would also try to make the knockoffs before the competition could. So, a new word association game was needed and out came Match Game, which in the 1960s version involved trying to guess what their teammates would say.

Gene would read a simple question like "name a winter sport" and the two teams of three would try to match each other. On this show, the teams had one celebrity (either Peggy Cass or Peter Lind Hayes) and two contestants. If two of the team members matched on a question, they received 10 points. If all three matched, it was worth 20 points. 50 points won the game. This differed from the actual show, which was $25 for a match, $50 for two and $100 to win the game.

The bonus game matched (ding!) the actual show, where each of the team members tried to guess what the most frequent answer given by a particular audience to a question, with three questions in the round. The only difference was that matches were only worth $25 per instead of $50 per as on the real show.

This was actually a test show complete with commercials, not a pilot, so things were pretty much hammered out. However, other than the monetary differences, there was a set change before air, since the celebrities on this edition sat in the center rather than next to each other. Also, Mark Goodson was apparently making this show with robots, since several key positions normally used in a television production were absent.


The title card

The host

Peggy Cass and team

Peter Lind Hayes and team

No fancy electronics yet, so completed answers are indicated with raised hands.

The bonus game

The unnamed technical director


This pilot has been viewed 7235 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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