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You're Putting Me On

Producer: Bob Stewart
Host: Ron Hussman
Announcer: Jack Clark
Celebrities: Bill Cullen, Peggy Cass and Larry Blyden for the whole show. Joan Rivers, Soupy Sales and Betsy Palmer for half of the show.
Taping Info: 1969, probably New York
Made it to Air: Yes, although the host was Bill Leyden by the time the show hit NBC airwaves on June 30, 1969, replacing the soap Hidden Faces. After six months, the show was pushed aside for the short-lived Life with Linkletter.
Availability: Paley Center. It's not in the main collection, but in the "come back in a week" collection. Sometimes you get lucky.

So you have a game idea. But you don't know if it will work with celebrities or with civilians. So why waste the money and shoot two pilots, when you can shoot just one. And this is what you get with You're Putting Me On, an economical pilot that is three celebrity-three contestant in the first half and six celebrities in the second half. Ron Hussman, a Broadway/soap actor with no game show experience, was the host.

The premise is a little strange, but is open to hilarious results. The host reads three celebrities and a category, such as "James Cagney, George Burns and Jimmy Stewart with the category being 'kitchen appliance'." Each of the celebrities were then assigned one of the three choices and gave a clue that would hopefully help their player guess the person, such as "a dirty stove" for James Cagney. Trust me, this is much funnier when seen. For no apparent reason, occasionally a team would play a bonus game that would be a question only for themselves.

Halfway through the show, Ron Hussman said "sometimes on You're Putting Me On we have celebrities play the game as well." And at that point, the civilians disappeared and in plopped Joan Rivers (paired with Bill Cullen), Soupy Sales (paired with Peggy Cass) and Betsy Palmer (paired with Larry Blyden). The game continued in the same way, with very strained (but funny) clues and random bonus games.

If you were trying to score this game at home, it would have been impossible, since the scores seemed to change for no apparent reason. The NBC executives were generous this day, since they saw a decent potential despite the wreck this pilot was with changing scores and a mid-pilot format change. However, Ron Hussman was replaced by game show vet Bill Leyden when the show made it to air but left due to illness, with Larry Blyden taking over after 13 weeks (the new host being a near-anagram of the previous hosts surely saved on production costs).

This pilot has been viewed 8733 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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