Sunday, May 13, 2012

Game Show Photo Essay #2: "In the old days, Jack Paar used to do that all the time."

THE following came from the premiere of Password Plus, originally broadcast on NBC January 8, 1979. Minor edits are inserted into the transcript for the sake of clarity....

(All images courtesy GSN.)

GENE WOOD: It's more than Password, it's Password Plus!

WOOD: Our guest stars, Elizabeth Montgomery and Robert Foxworth!

WOOD: And here's the star of Password Plus, Allen Ludden!

Fast forward to game two....

ALLEN LUDDEN: Okay, we're back!... Got another puzzle up there right now, and this time, we're going to give the words to Sylvia and Bruce. First, to [the home viewers], of course. And Sylvia, you will have the option because [Elizabeth and Bruce] got the [first] puzzle.... What are you going to do, Sylvia? You gonna pass, or you gonna play?

SYLVIA: Oh, I'm going to play!

LUDDEN: Okay, good!

SYLVIA: Cigar!


LUDDEN: Gee, that's a good clue, Sylvia!

LUDDEN: Sylvia, it was that second clue that interested me the most!

If I didn't know better, I'd swear she tried to give Robert a third clue.

Here's the real deal for those who are eager to see it play out in full, uploaded to YouTube by "jennings861." (Check out the other two parts if you want to see the complete episode.) She's not actually "bleeped", so pay attention and hear how precisely her remark was cut out by the sound editor. Why this gem of a clip never made it to any of those Game Show Moments Gone Bananas specials hosted by Ben Stein (available on DVD by Mill Creek Entertainment) is mystifying, but as the "Cigar Lady" came in at #11 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "25 Funniest Game Show Bloopers", it's beginning to get the recognition it deserves.

I always loved it when a PP contestant accidentally spoke the password that was part of the puzzle. (It was even better when Allen did it, and it's been said Bert Convy did so a lot on Super Password, but I think that's an exaggeration.) Such an innocent mistake illustrated how easily people could get wrapped up in the game (and often did), which is the hallmark of any good game show.

Of the celebrities, only Robert Foxworth is still around. As for contestants Bruce and Sylvia, who knows? If they are still alive and prosperous, then I wish them well, especially the good-natured Sylvia, who took  her mistake (and slip of the tongue) in good stride.

Keeping it trivial....

Fang Shih-yu, Shaolin Temple.


  1. I'm gonna watch this, Russ. Looks hilarious. Have you seen the Win Lose Or Draw where Eric Estrada breaks Bill Maher's nose? Accidentally. It's especially funny if you can't stand Maher, lol.

    1. Brian, I just saw the Estrada/Maher clip; hilarious! (It's actually from Pictionary, but it and WLoD were very similar game shows.)

      Of course, I would've been equally happy if Maher hit Estrada, but that's just me. :D