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Showoffs


Producer: Goodson/Todman
Host: Larry Blyden
Announcer: Gene Wood
Celebrities: Elayne Joyce, Ron Masak, Linda Kaye Henning, Dick Gauthier
Taping Info: May 24, 1975
Made it to Air: Yes, but with a different host. Larry Blyden died in an automobile accident in Morocco on June 6, 1975 and was replaced by Bobby Van. The show lasted six months in 1975, replacing Password before it was replaced by the relocated Let's Make a Deal. Regis Philbin's The Neighbors was the show that was added to lineup when Showoffs was removed.
Availability: UCLA Archives. A portion of this pilot was shown on the clip show Game Show Moments Gone Bananas #3.

Showoffs ended up being one of the cursed game shows in history. It's intended host, Larry Blyden, died in an auto accident between the shooting of the pilot and the taping of the first episodes. He was quickly replaced by Bobby Van, who had never hosted a game show before. Sadly, Bobby would die just five years later due to cancer.

There have been charade-based game shows before and after Showoffs, such as Pantomime Quiz and Body Language. What made this show unique is that both teams would see the same charade, the second team would be in an isolation booth while the first team was doing their round. The mid-70s were part of Mark Goodson's isolation booth phase, he also used it in Double Dare and Family Feud.

Each team was made up of two celebrities and one contestant and were designated as the red and the blue teams - decked out in the long sleeve t-shirt style that was popular for about three weeks in the 1970s. Keeping with the casual theme, host Larry Blyden wore a muted sweater/shirt combo instead of the usual suit and tie. Playing for the reds was Elayne Joyce (a.k.a. Mrs. Bobby Van) and Ron Masak, while the blues had Linda Kaye Henning and Dick Gauthier.

In round 1, the celebrities alternated giving words to the contestant, while the other team was in the on-stage isolation booth. Once the first team was done, the second team played on the same words. If a word proved difficult, the other celebrity could give it a shot or the phrase could be passed, although only one pass was allowed per round. For round 2, the female celebrity and the contestant switched places. If the teams split the two games, round 3 was played with the male celebrity guessing the words or phrases. Winning two rounds won the contestant the match and a chance for the bonus. The winner of the match also won prizes, in this case it was a Tappan fridge and oven.

In the bonus game, the celebrities from both teams took turns in giving clues to the winner for $1 per correct guess in a 60 second round. A second bonus round with just the contestant and one celebrity was then played for thirty seconds to figure out the multiplier from the money in the first round times ten for one correct, times one hundred for two correct or times one thousand for three correct. In the pilot, the winning player got seven correct in the first bonus round and all three correct in the second bonus round for a $7,000 payday.

There were two peculiar things with this pilot. It had fee plugs, which is very unusual for a pilot. Secondly, the opening emphasized the fact that they were in a theatre (part of the acting motif, I guess), so the opening showed the entire audience. The show did not change between the pilot and the first episode (except for the host), which was somewhat customary for Goodson-Todman pilots of the 70s, this was more a dress rehearsal than an actual show.

There really wasn't much to change about this game. If you didn't want to see a celebrity-based charade game, nothing was going to change your mind. If you did, then this was a fine choice, definitely better than Celebrity Charades or Acting Crazy up in Canada. And unlike Body Language, the first game did matter.

This pilot has been viewed 905 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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