My adoration of Miss Kitty Carlisle of To Tell the Truth is far from secret. I gave her a tribute many years ago and in more recent times did a retro- spective of her many looks over the years on the venerable game show. However, though I feel like I've seen almost every black and white installment of the series, the 1970s color version that I grew up watching on grandpa's knee has been far more elusive, with just a handful of episodes turning up on youtube. So it's been a real thrill to see episodes from 1973 each morning on the Buzzr website and get an eyeful of Miss Kitty in living color. Look at this massive pink necklace above left!
On another occasion, she sported a similar ensemble, but in shades of blue and purple. During the 1960s daytime version, when she was wearing some of THE most vivid and eye-popping colors available, the vast majority of the episodes only exist in black & white copies...! Kills me.
Of course, she also liked to wear basic black on occasion, usually augmented with some flashy jewelry (purists might say too much of it, but I'm not complain- ing!) It might amuse you to know that with her raven helmet of hair with its inherent flip, I thought there was no difference between her and Ann Landers! LOL I have a long history as a child of not being able to distinguish people from one another very well.
Get a load of this necklace! I have long had a fascination with oversized necklaces - as seen in this old post - so it's great fun for me to tune in each morning and see what might be in store on To Tell the Truth.
She also had a sizable bauble on her finger as seen here. Though we were never able to hear anything being said, it was always sort of fun to watch the TTTT panel hobnobbing during the end credits with all the guests and imposters and see who gravitated to whom.
Decidedly less glamorous is Card Sharks, though it can be a lot of fun. This is especially true when there's a wacky, amusing champion such as Eva, pictured here. The feisty old bat stuck around for a pretty long stretch and racked up what was a nice bit of cash for the time. I don't know why, but this is the only montage I made from this show.
Of course, if you want to talk un-glamorous, it's difficult to top the hysterically tacky, but wonderfully entertaining Super- market Sweep! People often wish to cite the 1980s as being a fashion and styling nadir, but I'm here to tell you that the 1990s were no treasure trove of fabulosity. Take these poor feathered sisters in their stretched-out monochromatic t-shirts.
Sweep was hosted by the genial Dave Ruprecht from 1990-1995 and 2000-2003. He is renowned for an endless series of eye-scorching, vomitously ugly sweaters worn for each program. These aren't even the worst ones, just the only ones that have been shown since I've been able to tune in.
One thing I love about this show is that there are often male contestants and sometimes they are rather handsome. Here we have a rare combination for a show about grocery pricing and shopping, a grandfather/grandson team, with grandson Jeff giving us his best Luke Perry.
|Sometimes I sort of fall for a contestant and get obsessed for about 30 minutes. Most of my real life relationships last about that long, too, so it's not an unusual scenario! LOL|
Because the men are often physically strong, they tend to do well in the vigorous "big sweep" which entails racing around the super- market in a limited about of time, trying to fill one's cart with the most expensive items available. For this part of the show, all the contestants are placed into the most humiliating costume fathomable outside of a thong... a sweatshirt with built-in polo collar in either robin egg blue, lemon yellow or hot pink! Gramps sort of reminded me of comic actor Phil Harris, if you happen to recall who he was.
|I always like it when handsome hubbies are dragged along by their wives. Even better when they are firemen (like Howard) or policemen (such as Bryan.)|
While most of the contestants are female, often friends, co-workers or relatives, there are sometimes male teams, like this duo who met in a college dorm and perhaps bonded over the toaster strudel or Wheaties before deciding to hop onto the Sweep. Unlikely looking as friends, Matt was sort of the brains while Dave provided the brawn. Even these poor souls were, for the second half of the show, transformed into day-glo drones. (See below.) I always wonder how many of these sweatshirts there were, what sizes they kept on hand and how often they were laundered... One thing that also always makes me chuckle is how unceremoniously the losing teams are sent packing out the back of the aisles with hardly a goodbye! They head off as if on a conveyor belt to hell...
One show I always loved, but have seen so, so many times on either GSN or Buzzr is Match Game. I had to laugh, though, when on one episode last week, Underworld friend Lee Meriwether showed up with unusually lengthy hair.
She went on to explain that her hairstylist on Barnaby Jones had given her a bunch of wigs for Christmas (!) and she'd been eager to try one of them out. She picked the right show in which to do so. I hope there wasn't a label sewn into this one that read "Rula Lenska."
Then there is the venerable Tattletales. Plenty of laughs to be found with this one as couples are quizzed about various things and have to guess what their spouse (or, later, significant other or good friend) will say. Here we find Mary Ann Mobley and Gary Collins in the hot seat(s.)
Mobley was the recipient of a tribute here some years ago. She and Collins had quite an ooey-gooey thing going on with one another that I recall my mother hating, but, hey, they were wed for forty-five years until his death, so something was working right!
Collins was gifted with one of the THICKEST heads of hair imaginable. He kept it (albeit not this long) until the end, too.
On the show with them this particular week were Martin Milner and his wife (who also had a long union, lasting fifty-eight years until his death) and comedians Mitzi McCall and Charlie Brill.
Mr. & Mrs. Brill positively shredded one another on the show, which might lead one to think that they (like many you see on Tattletales) eventually split up. However, you'll be glad to know that they are still together today in their eighties and have enjoyed a fifty-nine year marriage to one another!
One show I never in my life watched before last week is Classic Concen- tration. I don't know exactly why it evaded my notice for so many years. Maybe it was my lack of interest in the eight cars that always graced it's gargantuan set. Maybe by 1987-1991 I just had other things to do during the day.
At the start of each episode, host Alex Trebek would come out amid the cars and kick off the show. Then he'd join a male and a female contestant who would go head-to-head trying to reveal prize matches on a numbered board that would then display a rebus puzzle such as the one below.
|The answer to this rebus, by the way, is "Pat Boone."|
Then the winner would try a personalized matching game with the names of the cars underneath fifteen numbers in an allotted time and if they matched them all, they got to receive the final one. At this time, Alex was at or near his peak of attractiveness, having shorn off some of the Avery Schreiber-ish hair of his youth and shaped up a bit. He was far more relaxed than on his more famous show Jeopardy.
He was noted by some viewers as being a little flirty and even handsy with the female contestants, though if that was the case I doubt any of them minded. In any case, he was also very handsy with the male contestants! It was a genial show. On this occasion, he took a moment to reveal how one seemingly everyday contestant had a "business in the front, party in the back" mullet going on!
Speaking of hands on, the initial spokes- model for Classic Concen- tration was tall, blonde and had striking big eyes. Her name was Diana Taylor and she liked to wear exotic hairpieces and often snuggled into Alex when the opportunity arose.
Only a couple of months into the run, she was suddenly replaced by the far more relatable Marjorie Goodson, who was put through the paces of demonstrating rowing machines, pianos and Lord knows what else. For a time, she was joined by her pet dog Pokey (!), which was more than unique for a game show. Who will ever know the unpardonable hell Pokey went through in the endless parade of kitschy prize presentations of which he was a part. LOL By the way, Marjorie Goodson was the daughter of the show's co-creator Mark Goodson (with Bill Toddman.) She was sort of a game show Tori Spelling in that sense!
Another show that I never, ever watched back in the day, but soon became a lifelong favorite when I finally got to see in on GSN, is Sale of the Century, the only show of this era to have male models who often appeared in scanty clothing and swimwear (at least in the early years.) Here we find handsome Gregorio sporting a low-cut tank top for a motorcycle bargain.
But here we have the divine David "sunning" himself in a vacation bargain. Had I known a show like this existed back when it was on, I probably wouldn't have graduated high school for all the calling in sick!
|Come on... what's not to love?!|
Lastly, another game show that I've seen in its early, black & white days many, many times, but whose late-1960s/ early-'70s episodes have been more elusive, What's My Line? This show featured another favorite great lady of mine, the utterly charming Arlene Francis.
This version had a segment in which four audience members were brought up and put in line with their occupations printed on signs nearby. The panel had to take turns assigning the professions to the people, which gives us a great look at the way everyday folks dressed back in the day! One thing I do dislike about the episodes being shown now on Buzzr is that they have been edited; shorn of the panelist introductions and just cutting to the game without anyone telling us who the celebrities are if we don't happen to know (Aliza Kashi?!)
The fabled "Mystery Guest" segment is always fun, though the ones I've seen recently are a tad bit lackluster (Skitch Henderson, Joey Adams.) One of them was a treat, though, because the guest was Miss Helen Hayes, who had recently penned a nonfiction book with her pal Anita Loos. It was called Twice Over Lightly: New York Then and Now.
The hysteria is that the way Loos was seated before an icon of writing quills with her patented skin-tight hairdo, she sometimes looks as if she's sporting some large bunny ears!
|"What's Up, Doc?"|
Lastly, one thing that quite surprised me about this 1972 daytime game show was the mystery guest who was revealed to be the creator of a "girlie" calendar for women, featuring semi-nude male models! These were friends and acquaintances of the woman, so they weren't exactly Honcho material, but it surprised me that they showed several close-ups of the pages on air. (Playgirl magazine was still one year away, though Burt Reynolds had done his infamous Cosmo centerfold prior to this.) And with that, we buzz off until next time!