PLACE THE FACE
CBS & NBC Primetime, January 28, 1954-September 13, 1955


"Can you guess the face this busy artist is sketching? It's lovely Joanne Gilbert, Hollywood's newest singing & dancing sensation! And who's the artist? It's rhumba king Xavier Cugat! But will they be able to place faces from their past? We'll find out right now on Place the Face!"

Bill replaced Jack Bailey, who replaced Jack Smith, as emcee of Ralph Edwards' panel-lacking panel show.


If you've seen "Make the Connection," you're halfway towards understanding the show. A contestant is brought out and then introduced to someone from their past, who is standing inside of a picture frame. The name of the person from the past and the "connection" between the two scrolls across the bottom of the screen, followed by an artist's rendition of some incident that occured between them.


The contestant brought out at the start is given three minutes to ask yes-or-no questions to divulge the identity of their partner. The person behind the frame reads a clue to start and reads a new more specific clue each minute. Cash and prizes are awarded based on how fast the connection is guessed, although the episode I have doesn't satisfactorily explain how the payoff scheme works.


I know, this game sounds incredibly difficult, but that's why Bill is there. If the contestant's partner's clues aren't enough, Bill quite liberally gives clues throughout the show. The clues are part ad-libbed and part-scripted for Bill, and they help enough that the contestants are somewhat successful on the one episode I have.


A few interesting trivia tidbits: The show's announcer was Bill's future brother-in-law, Jack Narz; This was Bill's first L.A.-based game show, although it would be another 25 years before Bill actually moved there--he commuted for this series; and although not evidenced in the Snappys here, this was the first game show where Bill sported a crewcut. Hot dog.


Doing "I've Got a Secret" without a panel was a novel and unique idea (although considering the source is Ralph Edwards, that's hardly surprising) and Bill is having fun guiding the contestants along here. His panel experience is what I'm guessing got him the job here, and he makes the most of the show with goofy clues, and jokes throughout. It's not surprising that the show didn't run longer than it did, as the novelty of the show's concept had to wear off quickly, and the reunions here weren't up to par with Edwards' other creation, "This is Your Life." It's still worth a look, though.


Up One Level to: The Shows of Bill Cullen

Up Two Levels to: Bill Cullen's World

Up Three Levels to: Game Show Utopia