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Twenty Questions


Producer: Buena Vista Television
Host: Dick Wilson
Announcer: Burton Richardson
Celebrities: Markie Post, Fred Willard
Taping Info: 1989 at KTLA
Made it to Air: Nope. There was a fifties version of Twenty Questions, but the format was significantly different other than the fact there may be 20 questions involved.
Availability: UCLA

Buena Vista Television had a surprise hit in the late 80s with Win, Lose or Draw. Falsely sensing that parlor games were back in vogue, they took another game out of mothballs and came up with Twenty Questions, an unrelated non-revival of the 50s show. The one thing Win, Lose or Draw had for it (at least in the beginning) was mega-wattage star power for a game show, so the biggest, most recognizable name to host the show was found. Nope, that didn't happen, so they went with local Kansas City radio host Dick Wilson.

Teams were paired up "Bob Stewart style" (one celebrity and one civilian) and were to try to get their partner to guess what the subjects (such as "Groucho Marx" or "Honda Accord") were based on simple yes or no questions. Each team took 10 second cracks at the subject, with the host interjecting a clue in between the pass offs from one team to the other. The team that guessed correctly won $50. There were three games in this round.

Round two involved the host giving all of the clues (the yes-and-no format gives way to one sentence facts) to both teams buzz-in style. $50 for a correct buzz-in, but you gave $50 to the other team if you were wrong. After three of those, a bonus round played where the round one version was played by the winning team in a 60 second speed round, with $100 per correct subject and $10,000 for getting five. Contestants did not leave the show until they lost their second match.

Nothing fancy, but nothing exciting either. The clues in the second round were not purely hardest-to-easiest, and the format would become stale fast if the celebrity mix wasn't just right. And I thank Dick Wilson for actually including this on his on-line résumé, otherwise, I would have had no idea which Dick Wilson this was.

This pilot has been viewed 737 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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