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Write Your Own Ticket

Producer: Ron Greenberg for NBC
Hosts: Jim Hackett and Renny Temple
Polka Dancers: Diane and Henry
Announcer: Bill Wendell
Taping Info: 1973 at NBC Brooklyn
Made it to Air: No

Video Village was a show from the early 60s where adults went around a game board answering questions and performing stunts. Write Your Own Ticket was a pilot from 1973 where adults went down a game board with audience members answering questions and performing stunts. Yep, the players of the game do nothing while the audience does everything. The show featured two hosts, sometimes folk singer and sitcom director Renny Temple who mans the stage, while future Wipeout announcer Jim Hackett works the audience.

The audience is somewhat divided into thirds with one third having a "ticket" to Tokyo, one third have a ticket to "Acapulco" and the final third have a ticket to "Rome", although who has what ticket does not correspond to a physical location within the audience. One couple from each of the destinations is plucked from the audience and placed on the game staircase. The staircase is numbered from 1 through 10 plus a starting spot. Their participation, other than going down the stairs, has ended for the main game.

Jim Hackett then roams the 200+ person audience, first going to a random person who as a Tokyo ticket. The audience member picks a "travel token" out of the satchel that Hackett has on his person, and the token contains both a move space value and the question. If the audience member answers the question properly, the couple whose ticket matches the audience member's ticket moves the designated spaces indicated. Some of our brain-busters included:

  • Complete a song lyric
  • Say goodbye in Spanish
  • Steps equal to number of rings on player
  • Identify the country of a dance
  • Difference between port and starboard
  • Given a location, name a food associated with that location (one of the answers accepted was Boston Cream Cheese, which gets you less than 40 Google hits)
  • Identify Rome on a map

The game continues with the Acapulco couple getting a turn, the Rome couple, and back to the Tokyo couple. Occasionally an audience member won a prize as well (determined at random), but this was usually at the level of 50 bucks or 20 pesos. If the couple landed on the spaces marked '4' or '8', they hit a "chance step" which could either be a prize (such as a boat) or a penalty (move back one space). Play continued until one couple got to space 10, at that point they win a trip to the destination they were assigned at the beginning of the game. Also, one of the audience members who was assigned that destination also won a trip to that location. The other two couples got $100.

The bonus game involved three more audience members plucked from the stage. The winning couple then had to guess the assigned ticket for two of the three audience members. If they were successful, they added a 1974 Triumph and a 24-day round-the-world trip to their booty. The three audience members got a watch for their trouble.

My words cannot give justice to how bad this pilot was. The two hosts, at that point in their early 30s, are overly peppy. The show in general is quite loud, and the whole concept of having contestants do nothing while the audience do all the work while having little to play for took away what little play-at-home factor there was. At least on Let's Make a Deal, there was some neat byplay between Monty and the contestant. Oh, and the theme had lyrics, which pretty much involved a Shirley Bassey-type singing "Write Your Own Ticket" and then scatting.

This pilot has been viewed 3111 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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