Proctor-Lewis Productions


TV viewers like game shows...TV viewers like skits...Let's see if TV viewers like a game show with skits involved.

Two celebrity/contestant teams play a series of races, each race is a series of rather elaborate, misleading clues toward the identity of a famous person, place, thing, or event.


For example, one of the races  in the pilot deals with the event of "Storks deliver the Dionne quintuplets." The clues are presented in the form of a short film parody of war movies, with military officers (representing the storks) discussing their latest assignments.

As the film plays, the contestants can hit their high-frequency oscillators (you and I just call 'em buzzers) to stop the clues and give a guess. A wrong guess eliminates a celebrity from the race, but not their partner; two wrong answers eliminate the contestant from the race, but not their partner. A correct answer pays $25 (and if it's the celebrity giving the correct answer, a charitable donation will be made as well).


In addition, one race is the Pyramid race, which starts at $100 and carries over each episode until won.


This one eventually did make its way to air, but under some rather elaborate changes that make this qualify as "unsold"; this pilot, with Bill, was produced for NBC by Proctor-Lewis Productions. A different production company, with Bud Collyer at the helm, would bring the show to ABC a year later.


THE GOOD: This is an interesting pilot showing how TV was still throwing things against the wall in its infancy. As the medium discovers it can be more than radio with a picture attachment, and here we're seeing a rather elaborate radio game show being adapted into an even more elaborate TV show. Thumbs way up for creativity on this one.


THE BAD: The difference between radio and TV may have been its undoing though, as the TV series required a little more money to cover the visual elements of the races. That's bad for TV executives in charge. What's bad for the viewers was what appears to be encouragement for the contestants to talk out the logic for their answers when ringing in, which can easily cross into the unfair "stall" territory. The scoring is a little unfair too, as every race is worth $25 except for that Pyramid race, which means a fairly terrible contestant can win the game with a single lucky guess.


Up One Level to: The Shows of Bill Cullen

Up Two Levels to: Bill Cullen's World

Up Three Levels to: Game Show Utopia