Monday, May 26, 2008

Password: The Classic Versions

In honor of Million Dollar Password coming next week and since GSN’s only airing Password Plus and Super Password episodes for their marathon, last weekend I thought it’d be nice to pull out some of my episodes of the original CBS version and the two or three I have from the ABC era.

I must say, while the game play is always an important part of the show, and there were some great players on the show… Tony Randall, Elizabeth Montgomery, Betty White… some of the time I enjoyed the show simply for the guests who were there. What a treat it was to have veteran actor Jimmy Stewart on, Carol Channing is always a laugh on these types of shows. There was also Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Anne Bancroft, Robert Goulet, Jack Paar, Jack Benny, Diahann Carroll, Darren McGavin… just so many fun celebrities to look forward to. And seeing the episodes again, I couldn’t help but notice how lenient the lightning round was… if you blew a word by either saying it or giving more than one word clues on later versions of the show, you were screwed, either by having $1,000 be deducted for every illegal clue on Password Plus, or blowing your chances for the big money entirely on Super Password.

And I had fun watching the 1971 episode that GSN first aired around a year and a half ago with Jack Klugman and the late, great Brett Somers. Considering the fate of the ABC version, whenever I see the episode guide for it, I get a bit annoyed. There were so many great celebrities on this version. Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery, Mel Torme, Adam West, Larry Blyden, Ed Asner… and there were occasions where both Betty White and Monty Hall sub-hosted. Betty White’s mom also played. It’s things like this that make me hate the old practice of recording over and discarding of tapes.

As far as the new version goes, after hearing how the show’s going to be handled, a big part of me feels right now that for me it’ll be like Donny Osmond’s version of Pyramid in the sense that I’ll pretty much be enjoying this revival for the host and the celebrities a lot more.

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