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Creator / Jack Barry

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"And a most cordial welcome once again to [name of show]."
Jack Barry greeting the audience and viewers on almost all shows he hosted.

Jack Barry (born Jack Barasch; March 20, 1918 – May 2, 1984) was a prolific American television host and producer. He worked on many series (mostly Game Shows), either alone or with production partner Dan Enright. Both men were blacklisted from television after the quiz show scandal of the 1950s, which focused heavily on one of their creations, 21. After a few years, Barry decided to find out if there was a problem with him going back into broadcasting. Along with a bunch of investors, he bought a small radio station in Orange County, California, presuming that if the FCC would allow him to have a broadcast license, there was no reason he couldn't go back into television. It turned out his presumption was correct: the FCC approved the license transfer; Barry returned to television game shows in 1962 on KTLA's You Don't Say! and on a national basis in 1969 on The Generation Gap. Enright worked in Canada until the duo reunited in 1977 and, with the exception of those airing on the networks, most Barry-Enright games were distributed by Colbert Television Sales.

Barry also appeared in Woody Allen's 1972 comedy Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask) as host of the fake 1950s panel game What's My Perversion? (a parody of What's My Line? and I've Got a Secret). The panel consisted of Pamela Mason, Regis Philbin, Toni Holt, and Robert Q. Lewis.

Although Barry suffered a fatal heart attack while jogging in Central Park on May 2, 1984, games carrying his name in their credits would continue through 1991.

The quiz show scandals, and Barry and Enright's involvement with them, were portrayed in the 1994 film Quiz Show. It was directed by Robert Redford, and starred Rob Morrow as Richard Goodwin, Ralph Fiennes as Charles Van Doren, John Turturro as Herbert Stempel, Christopher McDonald as Jack Barry, and David Paymer as Dan Enright. The film picked up four Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture.

Shows and films produced:

    open/close all folders 

    Aired Series 
  • Juvenile Jury (1947-54, 1970-71, 1983-84, 1989-91) and its senior spinoff, Life Begins At Eighty (1948-56)
  • Back That Fact (1953)
  • Winky Dink and You (1953-57, 1969-73)
  • Tic-Tac-Dough (1956-59, 1978-86, 1990-91)
  • 21 (1956-58, 1982)
  • You're On Your Own (1956-57)
  • High Low (1957)
  • Dough-Re-Mi (1958-60; sold to NBC in Fall 1958)
  • Concentration (1958, earliest episodes; sold to NBC)
  • The Reel Game (1971)
  • The Joker's Wild (1971 note , 1972-75, 1977-86, 1990-91, 2017; pilots were attempted as early as 1968) and its juvenile spinoff, Joker! Joker! Joker! (1979-81)
  • Hollywood's Talking (1973; first aired series for Geoff Edwards)
  • Blank Check (1975; pilots taped in 1974)
  • Way Out Games (1976-77)
  • Break the Bank (1976-77)
  • Hollywood Connection (1977-78; the pilot, taped in 1975, aired on GSN in 1998)
  • Play the Percentages (1980; pilot taped in 1979)
  • Bullseye (1980-82; pilot taped in 1979)
  • The Joker's Wild & Tic-Tac-Dough Special (1981 clip show special aired in Los Angeles on KCOP, where he taped many of his 70s shows)
  • Hot Potato (1984; pilot taped in 1983)
  • Bumper Stumpers (1987-90, with Wink Martindale Productions)
  • Pictionary (1989)
  • All About the Opposite Sex (1990)
  • Hold Everything! (1990)

    Unsold Pilots 
It's possible that Simon Says (1971) was also a Barry production, or possibly one of Enright.

  • The Honeymoon Game (October 3, 1970, hosted by Jim McKrell for Metromedia; 90-minute game that's one-third of a knockoff of The Newlywed Game followed by two-thirds recycled Joker's Wild...but while the full pilot is held by UCLA {and aired on Metromedia stations in 1971}, the circulating version has a Barry sales pitch in place of the first game mentioning how he didn't think it was superb)
  • Make the Scene (1970s, hosted by Steve Edwards for ABC)
  • Countdown (April 12, 1974, hosted by Johnny Mann for CBS; unrelated to the later British game show)
  • We've Got Your Number (May 13, 1975 {two pilots}, hosted by Barry with projected dice and an Enright credit)
  • Double Cross (November 16, 1975, hosted by Barry for CBS; basically a prototype Bullseye)
  • Decisions Decisions (1979 {two pilots}, hosted by Bill Cullen; eventually reworked into the Hot Potato bonus game)
  • 21 (April 24, 1982, hosted by Jim Lange for daily syndication; attempted revival of the 1950s series)
  • Chain Letters (1985, hosted by Jim Peck; later developed into British game show)
  • Queen for a Day (1987, hosted by Monty Hall; attempted revival of the 1956-1964 series)

Barry and Enright, for a short time, were even interested in producing their own major motion pictures. One noteworthy example of this was a 1981 note  sex comedy called Private Lessons. It starred Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel (known for the French erotica film series Emmanuelle; one of her few American pictures), Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnati and Head of the Class), and Ed Begley Jr. (St. Elsewhere). Dan Enright's daughter, Erica, served as the casting director for the film. For the trailers and TV spots, narration was provided by the company's then-go-to-announcer, Jay Stewart.

Although the film was a hit and has gone on to become a cult classic, it was initially panned by critics, and after receiving a ton of letters from people who were disgusted by the film (special criticism was reserved for the plot in which Kristel's character, a sexy 30-something French housekeeper, seduces a 15-year-old boy, the film's main protagonist), Barry vowed never to make another major motion picture again. The film was loosely based on Dan Greenburg's novel Philly. Greenburg even had a bit part in the film as a Hotel Owner. Greenburg later teamed up with Dan Enright's son, Don, to write the 1983 film Private School, which Kristel had a bit part in as a sex education teacher.

While Barry vowed not to do any more films after Private Lessons, several were made by the company following his death, and Dan Enright was a producer on some of them. Dan also became a fairly prominent film and television producer in his own right, earning an Emmy for the 1990 CBS TV movie Caroline?.

  • Evil Stalks This House (1981; Made for TV)
  • Private Lessons (1981)
  • Hero in the Family (1986; Made for TV)
  • Making Mr. Right (1987)
  • Necessity (1988; Made for TV)
  • The Cover Girl and the Cop (1989; Made for TV)
  • Next of Kin (1989; Made for TV)
  • Not of this World (1991; Made for TV)

During the 70s and 80s, possibly as the antithesis of the rigging Enright had performed in the 50s, the company's shows had bonus rounds which were firm believers in the Luck-Based Mission- it started with Face the Devil on The Joker's Wild and kept going from there. Similarly, pretty much every show from that era had Arc Words in their intro spiels: knowledge, luck, daring, fun, or strategy were used interchangeably.

After Barry's death, several staffers who were unhappy at Dan Enright's choices as the new head of the firm jumped ship- director Richard S. Kline, composer Hal Hidey and a few others, including Barry's son Jonathan, formed Kline & Friends, which after a couple of flops in Break the Bank (1985) and Strike It Rich, found success in Win, Lose or Draw (a co-production with Bert Convy, Burt Reynolds and Buena Vista TV), but didn't do much after that. Producer Gary Cox went off to Reg Grundy Productions, while executive producer Ron Greenberg returned to producing his own shows (including The Challengers).

Enright renamed the company in 1991, giving the first half of the title to his longtime companion (and the company's Vice President of Public Relations), Susan Stafford. Information on this period is largely unknown, minus the 1993 PBS documentary The Natural Solutions: Freedom of Choice and the FDA, produced and hosted by Susan.

Enright died on May 22, 1992, but as with Barry the company name was left unchanged. Stafford sold off the company in 1994 to Columbia TriStar Television (now known as Sony Pictures Television). Most of the library is now owned by Sony, with these exceptions:

  • The pre-scandal library, the 1989 Pictionary and the 1990s version of The Joker's Wild are owned by NBCUniversal.
  • The 1990s version of Tic-Tac-Dough is owned by ITV Studios America.
  • Winky Dink and You is owned by Harry W. Pritchett and Edwin Brit Wyckoff.
  • Way Out Games is owned by Warner Bros. Television.
  • Private Lessons, Making Mr. Right, and Next of Kin now belong to Paramount Pictures/Lions Gate, MGM, and Warner Bros. respectively.

Tropes present in Barry's work:

  • Career Resurrection:invoked After the rigging of 21 brought Barry's career down in The '50s, he bounced back in The '70s with The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Most of their bonus rounds tended to be this.
  • Production Posse:invoked Barry-Enright always drew from the same small pool for announcers on all shows: Johnny Jacobs, Jay Stewart, and Charlie O'Donnell (Johnny Gilbert and Bob Hilton were occasionally used as well). They also usually had Hal Hidey as Theme Tune composer, Scott Wyant as question writer, Ron Greenberg and Louis M. Heyward as executive producers, Allen Koss and Gary Cox as producers, Chris Sohl as associate producer, Richard S. Kline as director, D.A. Diana and Elissa Lenard as associate directors, John Tweeden as technical director, David Bachman as lighting director, and John C. Mula as art director.