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The Smart Alecks

Producer: Ivie-Hill
Host: Allen Ludden
Consultant: Howard Marylander
Celebrities: Don Meredith, Pat Carroll, David Letterman
Taping Info: Either 1976 or 1977
Other Pilots: There are two different versions floating around of the same taping session, one with titled bumpers and one without.
Made it to Air: No
Availability: The non-bumper version is on the circuit

It always seemed Allen Ludden looked for any job whenever an incarnation of Password was canceled. He did such "classics" as Win With the Stars, Stumpers and non-game show work such as Pet Set. Smart Alecks, which barely qualifies as a game show, was definitely in one of those down periods. Along to help was unknown for the time David Letterman, game show mainstay Pat Carroll and the not-on-Monday Night Football-this-year "Dandy" Don Meredith.

The show had three "contestants", who were actually inventors who had some invention they wanted to show off and get to the market. On this episode, the inventions included a "husband caller", recipes for crickets and a snoring reduction device. Since Invention Submission Corporation was not advertising on The Price is Right in the mid-70s, they would have to settle for this. The inventor would be questioned by each of the celebrities, after which the celebrities then gave a small speech of their opinions to "the people panel", a panel of ten people from the audience.

This panel determined the "score" for the contestants. Each member gave a score between 0 and 50 based on three categories necessity, practicality, marketability. The cumulative scores were then read by a marketing executive, Howard Marylander, who really had no purpose on the show. This cumulative score (usually in the high three digits), was then converted to dollars on a one-to-one basis and given to the contestant. And that's the show.

Of course, this pilot had the usual wackiness, the people panel was obviously using non-functioning scoring devices and the graphics were sparse. Although I don't have credits on my copy of the episode, I've been told that it was produced by Ivie-Hill production, the Hill part being Michael Hill, who produced other forgettable fare with Bob Eubanks such as All-Star Secrets and the Buddy Hackett version of You Bet Your Life. However, I'm surprised this didn't make it. The panel was hilarious and the inventors definitely had losers all the way around, which made for easy pickings by the three celebrities. However, Allen wasn't out of work for long, as he was given the job on Liars Club. Plus I think that Letterman guy did something too.

A Pilot Light Bonus:
Howard Marylander's marketing company is still in existence at

Taped, from some studio in California in the mid-70s, it is The Smart Alecks.

David Letterman, Pat Carroll and Don Meredith. Not shown: A can of Lipton tea.

Those are some cool shades there, Dave. Borrow them from Harry Caray?

Host Allen Ludden with cricket lady Barbara Carter

Here is part of the People Panel. Notice that one of them is about 11 years old?

This pilot has been viewed 7421 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
Feedback? Contact me at usgs-pilot at the usgameshows dot net domain