Tom Kennedy Says

BIG GAME
"I was so thrilled to be on a network show...Big Game was very special to me for a number of reasons: It marked my television debut and it was also the first game show to be televised in color and it was a nighttime show.
"The lights at NBC were so hot that I had to wear make up that was made with the colors brown and pink; each night after taping it took me about 30 minutes to wash the stuff off. You actually baked under those 1957 lights, today with all the technical advances the lights are just warm."

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I.Q.
"Dr. IQ was also a nighttime series...There I was, a young kid from Lousiville, Kentucky, who was starring on game shows that were shown in prime time. Dr. IQ was a fun show to do and it lasted longer than The Big Game so I was pleased."

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YOU DON'T SAY!
"You Don't Say was a 6 1/2 year hit on NBC and it seemed like every major celebrity wanted to do the show. We had Lee Marvin, Leonard Nimoy, Tippi Hedren, Ruta Lee, Mel Torme, Peter Lawford, Charles Bronson, Betty White, and over 500 other stars on."
"Mel Torme was one of our best men players. Michael Landon was a real sharp player, nothing got past Mike. Ruta Lee and Betty White were always consistently good. Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Peter Lawford and Rowan & Martin were all great players too.
"Jack (Narz, Tom's brother), who at that time was hosting another NBC game show, came in for a week and hosted, while I played. I had more fun that week, but I couldn't wait to get back in that emcee chair. Playing for money with the contestants is scary.
"To this day You Don't Say ranks as one of my all time favorites."

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I really don't want to use his name. He was one our best screen actors. Played many roles and always gave an outstanding performance. Anyway, he shows up to tape the show...If you remember the object of the game was to give a sentence, leaving off the last word. That word should sound like part of the name being played. This particular subject name was John Wayne. Our celebrity player proceeded to whistle the theme from 'The High and The Mighty.' I of course tried not to embarrass him but I had to stop the game and stop the tape from rolling. I told him he wasn't allowed to give clues like that. He looked at me, with a very serious expression on his face, and said, 'But he was in that movie.' I again explained the concept of the game to him and we then again started the taping. It wasn't thirty seconds into the taping and he again blurted out an answer that was completely against the rules. I again stopped the tape. I felt so sorry for him. Here he was this giant of an actor but he simply didn't understand the game. He finally just looked off stage at our producer and said he just didn't get it and he felt it would be better to just call it a night. We of course agreed and he left and we simply replaced him with another celebrity. But that was funny-this great actor whistling the theme from 'The High and The Mighty' and then saying, 'But he was in that movie.'"

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IT'S YOUR BET

"It's Your Bet was a fun show to do; once again I was working with celebrities. This show had four different emcees over the years, I hosted the 1970 version."
"What comes to mind when I recall It's Your Bet is the time Burt Reynolds was a guest and the producer of the show played a joke on me, and including Burt in on the joke without me knowing about it. The whole formula of the show was to ask the celebrities personal questions and either their wives or girlfriends had to guess if they were going to give the correct answers. So I said, 'Burt, is it true that you were born on a reservation?' He looked at me and said 'Are you trying to make fun of me, Kennedy?' I said, 'No Burt, not at all.' At this point I was starting to get real nervous. He stood up and shouted, 'So what if I am, Kennedy?' He then came around the set with his fists clenched and came toward my emcee podium. I couldn't leave because I had a microphone on that was wired to a floor connector. When he ran up to me I really started to sweat and at that second he said, 'It's only a joke Tom, it was set up by the producer.' That was music to my ears and after that we all laughed for a solid five minutes. As a matter of fact I have that clip in my personal collection."

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SPLIT SECOND

"I remember that this show was very hard and the pace was very fast. Prior to this show I was basically doing celebrity-oriented shows, 'Split Second' was a real challenge.
"I had to be just as up as the contestants were; 'Split Second' was 24 minutes of pure, intense questions and answers. The pace was so fast I didn't even have time for a glass of water."
"I worked the hardest on that show and Name That Tune. The pace made you dizzy. It was a merry-go-round backstage, trying to change into a new suit and going over the questions after just finishing a game."

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NAME THAT TUNE
"On Name That Tune I had a new level of excitement, there was an audience of 500 in front of me and a 16-piece orchestra behind me. Each time I stepped on the stage it was an electric moment; The show was exciting for the contestants as well as myself. Name That Tune also gave me a chance to work for and with the long-admired Ralph Edwards."
"Name That Tune was the most exciting show I've ever done. We had a twelve-piece orchestra five feet behind us, and the audience was right out there. When you're in between the two of them it's just electric. I bet I lost a pound a show from the energy. You don't realize it, but I'd take my shirt off after the show and it would be just soaked. It was true energy, it wasn't phony. It was a great workout."


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BREAK THE BANK
"I loved it... that show was a romp!"

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50 GRAND SLAM
"It was fun, but sloppily put togethe
r."

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TO SAY THE LEAST
"It was a cute show. One of the first celebrities to appear on the show was Alex Trebek. We also had, on one show, Alex and Soupy Sales... isn't that a pair?"

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WHEW
"Hell of a show... the thought was very clever... Jay Wolpert was very bright. The only problem was that the show was too fast... there was a lot of humor that was missed."

"It lasted a year, it was a huge hit. Then they found out it was still on the air so they cancelled it."

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PASSWORD PLUS
"It is the most basic game... it was fabulous. When Allen took ill, he said he wanted me to replace him on the show. Our friendship went way back to when Password, You Don't Say!, and Match Game were the three hottest shows on the air."

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BODY
LANGUAGE
"Goodson was in love with Showoffs, so he asked his staff to rework the idea."
"I got to work with Lucille Ball... it made you want to pinch yourself and ask, `How did I get here?' I loved Betty White... my wife's name is Betty, and I always say that I'm married to two Bettys. My Betty is #1, and Betty White is #2. Charles Nelson Reilly was a delight. The show was enjoyable, but it didn't flow very naturally... it was a second rate show, but it was made first rate thanks to the celebrities we had."

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THE PRICE IS RIGHT
"I was privileged to be asked to do it; the show is a classic, beautiful. But I was never happy with my job on it... it made me appreciate Bob Barker's job. I had to learn 45-50 games; it doesn't sound like much until you try to remember your marks, cues, etc. Bob makes it seem so effortless; that's what makes him a pro. I was so overwhelmed with it all."
"The syndicated world is weird. No one thought Wheel of Fortune would make it, and look what happened."

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"WORDPLAY"
"Loved it... thought it was a damn fine show. It was done by Fiedler and Berlin -- it was their first network game show. Then NBC decided it wanted to do business with Disney, and opted for a new show from Bert Convy and Burt Reynolds."
"I think this show is great fun. It's a simple game to follow with great entertainment value and it's very funny.
"What's interesting about Wordplay is that it's in the exact same studio that I did my very first game show, Big Game. It's for the same network, NBC, and it's been exactly 30 years from Big Game to Wordplay. It's been a great 30 years..."

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