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Series / You Don't Say!

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Game Show first produced for KTLA (local Los Angeles television) in 1962 by Ralph Andrews and Bill Yaggemann for Desilu, with Jack Barry as host. It was later sold to NBC, where it aired from 1963-69 with Tom Kennedy hosting (Barry was still considered blacklisted due to the quiz show scandals a few years earlier).

It was a word association game like Password, except the catch was to identify names of famous people or places. Two teams, each of a celebrity and a civilian, communicated the names by forming a sentence with the last word missing. That word could sound like, but not be spelled like, part of the name. Each team had up to two attempts to communicate the name. Doing so scored a point, with three winning the game.

The show returned on KTLA in April 1975, now hosted by Clark Race with Tom Kennedy as a regular panelist (although at some point, the two swapped positions). It again expanded to a network a few months later, this time ABC, and used a larger format (also used on the KTLA series): now, four celebrity panelists alternated giving clues to two contestants, with correct guesses worth money starting at $250 for the first clue and ending at $50 for four clues. The first to get $500 won. This version ended abruptly in November 1975.

The last run was in daily syndication (distributed by Viacom, which acquired the rights to the extant NBC episodes in its 1994 purchase of Paramount, who had assumed production from Desilu Studios) for six months in 1978-79, hosted by Jim Peck. Two contestants played on Monday and Tuesday of a particular week, while two more played on Wednesday and Thursday. In a tournament fashion, the highest scorers from those games played each other on Friday. Instead of cash being awarded on a scale for each correct answer, every answer scored only one point, regardless of the number of clues necessary, with five winning the game. Correct answers were worth $100 on the Monday–Thursday shows and $200 on Fridays, but these payouts were not reflected in the scoring.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: The Bonus Board.
    • NBC: Three clues were shown, one at a time, to a famous name. $300 was awarded for getting the name on the first clue, $200 for the second, and $100 for the third.
      • Another bonus came shortly into the NBC run: players that won the game 3-0 (a "blitz") and got $300 on the Bonus Board also won a car.
    • ABC: The player gave clues to the celebrity, winning $500 for the first name guessed, doubled with each subsequent word up to four. They had up to six tries, with getting four names winning $5,000. If four names were guessed each on one clue, the contestant won $10,000. The money was at risk for each name.
    • Syndication: Same as above, except no money was awarded per name. On Monday-Thursday, a win was worth $5,000 cash; on Friday, $10,000 in prizes.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: $20,000 on the ABC version.
  • Home Participation Sweepstakes: Around 1966-67, the Bonus Board puzzles began to be provided by viewers. The viewer received some S&H green stamps no matter what, but if it was used in a Blitz, the viewer got 100,000 (later 1,000,000) S&H green stamps.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: John Harlan.
    • Game Show Host: Jack Barry on the original KTLA series, followed by Tom Kennedy on the NBC run. Clark Race hosted part of the 1975 KTLA series, followed by Tom once again. Jim Peck helmed the syndicated version.
  • Show the Folks at Home: Names were flashed onscreen along with a hushed spiel by Harlan. Subverted at least once per show with "Guess Who", although for a time around 1968-69 a series of question marks were used.

This show provides examples of:

  • Expy: Indeed, it was so similar to Password that Goodson-Todman threatened a lawsuit for plagiarism; the result was that Tom's lectern moved from the center to the far left.
  • Grand Finale: The last aired episode of the ABC run had the show's only $10,000 win, which resulted in the current champ passing the $20,000 limit and retiring. The next game was followed by a $5,000 win!
    • When the $10,000 opportunity comes up, Tom notes that they opted not to mention the "four-for-four" rule unless it came up. This would indicate that nobody else who played the Bonus Board over the past 102 episodes managed to go three-for-three.
  • Opening Narration: The NBC era had the celebrity players with their backs to the camera, each giving a clue to part of their name, to which Tom would crack a silly joke. The clue often punned with their name.
    Michael Landon: A two-wheeled vehicle that young people ride is a...
    Tom Kennedy: ...Volkswagen sawed in half.
    Michael Landon: No, a bike! Bike-el Landon!
    • After which Tom said, "And I'm Tom Kennedy, and the name of our show is You Don't Say!"
    • The ABC opening was, "Today, [names of celebrities] are all here to play television's funniest game, You Don't Say!" (Later in the run, "funniest" became "most challenging", most likely due to Match Game '75.)