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Tie-Up


Producer: John Guedel Production/CBS
Host: Digby Wolfe
Celebrities: Paul Winchell, Nancy Wible, Kay Carroll, Gypsy Rose Lee
Taping Info: 1964
Made it to Air: No
Availability: I saw it at the UCLA archives. It is not available on the trading circuit. And be thankful.

The year is 1964. About every idea on panel shows have been done, whether you were serious with a small amount of levity (What's My Line?, To Tell the Truth) or going strictly for laughs (I've Got a Secret). CBS, for some reason needing more than five celebrity-based shows in prime time, ask the famed producer John Guedel (You Bet Your Life, Art Linkletter's House Party) to come up with a new panel show. Allegedly smart heads prevail, and Tie-Up is born.

So, what's the catch that is going to make this show unique? The panel is going to be made up of ventriloquists. So, let's get those people who are funny for about two seconds and let's give them 30 minutes to fill. In order to host this impending train wreck, the hosts dredge up Digby Wolfe, who had no American TV credits up until this time but had some in his native Australia. Digby would also notch another place in TV ignominy when he was partially responsible for the 1969 ABC show Turn-On, probably the only show that has ever been canceled during it's first episode.

The panel consisted of three ventriloquists, Paul Winchell and his dummy Jerry Mahoney; Nancy Wible and her dummy Candy; and Kay Carroll and her dummy Tommy. Paul at this point is famous nationwide due to his television show and numerous appearances on variety shows, Nancy is at least locally famous in Los Angeles with her television show, Kay Carroll may have been famous at the time, but I can't find out anything about her.

The acutal format of the show is pretty much like Make The Connection. Two contestants are brought out and it is the panel's job to figure out what person X has to do with person Y. However, the connections aren't as esoteric, the first set involved mailman and customer. Also, only two of the three panelists were questioning at a time. There was the male side, which was always Paul/Jerry, while the female side alternated between Nancy/Candy and Kay/Tommy. Unfortunately, the panelists were always trying to get zingers in, instead of questioning the contestants, leading to about four questions until the guess of what the connection was. If the panel couldn't figure out the connection, it was worth $200 to the contestants.

And since it's a panel show, you need a celebrity guest. So, they bring out Gypsy Rose Lee, who has a burlesque background. And her connection was with her gardener, which the panel failed to get even though Digby Wolfe practically gave away the farm in an attempt for the panel to guess. So, you have someone with a salacious background, panelists who sometimes work blue in their acts, but since it's 1964, you really can't say anything remotely titillating, which in this rare case actually would have helped.

Fortunately, this show never saw the light of day. There is nothing I could think of to make this show work without losing its core value of having ventriloquists.

This pilot has been viewed 4364 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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