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Series / Body Language

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Charades Game Show that ran on CBS from 1984-86 with Tom Kennedy as host in which two celebrity/contestant teams acted out a series of words charade-style with one teammate as the actor and the other as guesser.

The correctly-guessed words were then inserted into a sentence on the gameboard, after which the team had a chance to identify what the sentence was describing for some cash. $500 won the game and the right to play the bonus round.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Announcer: Johnny Olson, in his last series. After his death in late 1985, Gene Wood took over for the rest of the run.
  • Bonus Round: Guess up to ten words for $100 each, then three more words for ten times that amount (up to $10,000).
  • Bookends: The first and final week of shows each had Vicki Lawrence as the female celebrity.
    • Vicki would host the pilot for a revival of this show in 1990, retitled Body Talk, which had elements from Showoffs as well
  • Downer Ending: During Teen Month in July 1985, Jonathan Ward misreads the word "petal" in the second part of the Bonus Round. He gets his civilian partner to say "pedal" when he pantomimes riding a bike. Tom tells Jonathan to re-read the word, but he doesn't get the contestant to say "petal" after scoring on the other two words. Tom then explains that the judge couldn't take "pedal" because it is phonetically dissimilar to "petal".
  • Game Show Host: Tom Kennedy.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: Contestants originally stayed on until they lost once; in September 1984, this was altered to have players stay on until they either won six times, or lost twice.
  • Golden Snitch: The first two rounds were worth $100 each, while the next two rounds were $250 each. As $500 was needed to win, the two $100 rounds had absolutely no bearing on the game.
  • Home Game: Averted in the case of the show itself, although it was partially based on one, released in 1975 with Lucille Ball on the cover and also called Body Language. Notably, it was created by Dr. Cody Sweet, who was the first platform speaker on nonverbal communication. (Contrary to popular belief, this board game has no connection with Body Language's precursor, Showoffs, though the series and board game both came out in the same year.)
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Giving an illegal clue (talking or using a prop) in the second part of the Bonus Round immediately ended the round in failure even if any words were left over.
  • Opening Narration:
    • October 9, 1983 Pilots: "Let your body do the talking onnnnnnnn Body Language! Let's meet the players, [Female celebrity and female partner], and for the men [Male celebrity and male partner]. Now here's the star of Body Language, Tom Kennedy!"
    • 1984-1986 Series: "It's the game for the uninhibited! Our stars this week [Celebrities' names here]. Watch their bodies do the talking onnnnnnnn Body Language! And here's the star of Body Language, Tom Kennedy!"
  • Pilot: Three Pilots were taped on October 9, 1983, seven months before the series taped its first week of shows. Differences below:
    • The theme song was Dave Grusin's Working Girl March (from the film Tootsie).
    • The set had green everywhere, including the logo, main doors, and scoreboard. The series repainted the door to blue, and toned down the greens.
    • The teams entered from the doors; in the series, they were already seated when host Tom Kennedy made his entrance.
    • The gameplay in the Pilots was a battle of the sexes (women vs. men); in the series, it didn't matter.
    • The puzzleboard (blue, instead of black) was shown before the round began.
    • The scoring system was $100-$200-$300-$400 (not unlike what would eventually be used on Super Password), instead of $100-$100-$250-$250. Apparently, this show was originally supposed to straddle.
    • The bonus round was called "7 Chances", in which the team had to guess both puzzles full of blanks; each had 7 blanks. Guessing one puzzle only resulted in $500, but getting both of them earned $5,000 plus $1,000 per unused chance, a maximum of $10,000.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The show's ticket plug music was remixed as the Theme Tune of the 1985 Concentration pilot, then carried over into Classic Concentration.
    • The theme song in the Pilots was Dave Grusin's Working Girl March (from the film Tootsie) which was reworked by Paul Epstein at Score Productions for the series proper.
  • Show the Folks at Home: The words to be pantomimed are shown to the home viewers.
  • Studio Audience: Possibly averted. In the Johnny Olson incident under the YMMV tab, he was shown on-camera in front of what were obviously vacant seats.