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Oddball


Producer: Mark Goodson for NBC
Host: Jamie Farr
Announcer: Gene Wood
Celebrities: Marla Gibbs, Lydia Cornell, Vicki Lawrence, Nedra Volz, Anson Williams, Tom Poston, Daniel Greene, Dick Martin
Taping Info: February 1, 1986, NBC Studio #3
Other Pilots: This is marked as Pilot #1.
Made it to Air: No

In 1973, Mark Goodson updated the long time staple Match Game and turned into Match Game '73 by adding more celebrities. Get the Message was a one-year wonder in 1964 and was a cross between Match Game and Password. Long after the show had left the public consciousness, a revival was attempted with Oddball, a show that doubled the amount of celebrities and in kind decreased the amount of watchability. Jamie Farr gets his rookie shot as the host.

The eight celebrities were segregated by gender and were augmented by one civilian contestant. The civilians went off stage as the eight celebrities wrote down a one word clue to the 'password' in the hopes that their civilian player would guess that 'password'. After all eight celebrities wrote down their words, they were then revealed to weed out any duplicates, with only the words that were unique being kept into play. Once that was done, the civilians were brought out of isolation booths. One player would then see his or her teams' responses, and would try to guess the word. If they were unable, the other player tried to guess the word, using both those clues and the clues of his or her team. The first round was worth $100, while the second round was worth $200.

Watching the first two rounds would be wasting 12 minutes of your life, because the third round was worth $400, $100 more than the previous two rounds combined. This time, the part where the celebrities revealed whether or not they had duplicated each other was eliminated. Instead, the two players came out and alternated getting a clue from one of their teammates. If the clue was not a repeat nor illegal, the player could guess. The player guessing correctly won the round and the game and moved on to the "One Shot Jackpot."

The "One Shot Jackpot" was a progressive jackpot (on this show worth $20,000, going up $5,000 per miss) and involved all eight celebrities. The contestant went back into isolation, and all eight contestants were given a chance to write a one word clue. The contestant came back out, and picked players one at a time in attempt to guess the final word. The game was over when either a duplicate was revealed or the player guessed incorrectly, hence the "one shot". On this episode, the player despite getting eight unique clues could not guess "dribble".

The biggest problem with this game was the pace. Getting only four words in was not good. The original Get the Message which featured a dozen words per episode or more, although to be fair the six-star Match Game got less blanks in than the two-star version did. The difference was that there was humor to be found in the extra celebrity wattage due to the great question writing. Get the Message '86 did not have the clever question writing, since there was no outlet for it. After seeing this, NBC decided they didn't have an outlet, either.

This pilot has been viewed 4436 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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