The Boob Tube #24: Daytime TV Game Shows

Bob Barker put pimps to shame in the 70s

When I found this magazine at a used bookstore, how could I resist? Bob Barker in Huggy Bear's wardrobe is worth any price. With his Barker Beauties, he was, after all, a daytime TV pimp.

Reading through the magazine, it got me all sentimental about the glory days of daytime TV. Hardly any women worked, so there was a huge audience available while dad and the kids were gone.  Soap operas were plentiful: Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, Ryan's Hope, All My Children, Days of Our Lives, Edge of Night, As the World Turns, Young and the Restless..... the list goes on.  But there was also a huge audience during the daytime for games.

a scan from the magazine - click all images to enlarge
No computer graphics, no flashy tactics like those of today's game shows... just some contestants, a host, and a game to be played.  The hosts were masters of small talk and quick wit - without high tech sounds, lights and editing, they had to be.

Are those prizes from Door #9.... or boxes of pure Evil marked with the Number of the Beast (being held upside down)?  
My favorites across the decade were Joker's Wild, Tic Tac Dough, Match Game, Card Sharks, Name That Tune, The Newlywed Game, Password, The Gong Show, Make Me Laugh, The Dating Game and Wheel of Fortune.  Whenever I was home sick from school, I'd have to watch the Price Is Right; and the show is forever associated with those memories.

Listen to the Card Sharks theme

This image is from an article on Carol Merrill of "Let's Make a Deal"; about how she married her hairdresser. I wonder what became of that marriage?

I loved the whole costume element of Let's Make a Deal.  The costumes were never elaborate; often ridiculous, sometimes super hot.  There was nothing better than watching a guy dressed as Raggedy Andy choose a goat instead of a brand new refrigerator.  I always wondered - did they really take home the goat?

Never was much of a fan of The Hollywood Squares.  The jokes were unbelievably corny, and I didn't recognize most of the celebs (not many elementary schoolers were familiar with Joey Bishop or Virginia Graham. Needless to say, Paul Lynde's brand of humor was lost on me as well.

Didn't care for the $25,000 Pyramid either.  The show made me a nervous wreck.

A few things I miss...
  • Losers made to feel worse by shitty consolation prizes (usually Turtle Wax)
  • Winners of The Wheel of Fortune getting to spend their winnings on crap from a rotating circular prize stage
  • Hot chicks on The Dating Game trying to hide their disappointment when they chose the butt ugly dude over the hunk
Here's a few more pages from the magazine...

Feel free to make this your desktop wallpaper

What is an article on dieting doing in a Game Show magazine? I don't know, but I just had to share the shitty illustration with you.  You're welcome.


  1. Sorry to hear of your disappointment with Hollywood Squares and Pyramid--they were two of my favorites.

    I'm embarrassed to admit that, as a four-year-old or so, I was scared to death of both the devil from Joker's Wild and the dragon from Tic Tac Dough. I would run to the kitchen whenever they came up on the screen. I was a stupid child.

    I always found it ridiculous that whenever the Jaws theme was played by the orchestra on Name That Tune, the contestants never guessed it correctly. It's two notes! How could you mess that up?

    What a delightfully ugly font used for the text of that cover!

  2. I was less scared of the dragon than I was of Wink... still am.

    Pyramid was a great show.... just not meant for people who don't like timers and pressure. Even Nipsy Russell couldn't calm me.

    Name that tune was weird because they rarely played stuff you'd hear on the radio - mostly show tunes and oldies like "Little Brown Jug".

  3. The Joker's Wild devil freaked me out a little too back then (same with Underwood deviled ham), but now Coop's devil man is one of my favorite icons of the era. My favorite game shows tended to have celebrities on them (Match Game, Password, Pyramid, Hollywood Squares, Gong Show, etc). But a good bunch of contestants on Let's Make a Deal made for good entertainment too. Any game show of today that's lit like a Britney Spears "concert" and has the audio cues from a spaz with a new sampling synthesizer is NOT quality entertainment.

    Hell, I'd've been happy with some Rice-a-roni or a can of Turtle Wax if I'd've been on a cool old game show and lost. Cuz I'd've been on a cool old game show!

  4. This image is from an article on Carol Merrill of "Let's Make a Deal"; about how she married her hairdresser. I wonder what became of that marriage?

    Don't know any details. She's been married to Another Guy since '85. Carol Merrill. More.

  5. Thanks, cynic. I followed your link and learned that Carol is the aunt of Sally Jupiter from Watchmen and Lucille in Sin City. Interesting connection.

  6. I remember watching so many of these. Press Your Luck was a favorite of my brother and I. Tic Tac Dough was watched at 7:30 at night here. And Price is Right was either enjoyed in the summer or on the occasional sick days! Good stuff!

  7. Thanks to your magnificent Newport tutorial, I can now "read" the dieting cartoon. It says:

    "Dieting lets you consume carrots, eggplants and squash while snuggling with the Hepburn sisters."

    But I'm slightly puzzled by the hamster sitting on her left foot. Clearly the hamster is enjoying the view.

  8. What hamster thats a potato.

  9. AnonymousJuly 05, 2011

    Your 4th of July rant was okay, but you've gone too far now with this post, dissing Paul Lynde! I'm outta here! No, I kid, I kid. But I must admit Lynde cracked me up.

    The two shows I'd love to see some eps of again are "Dating Game" and "Newlywed Game". They always danced just on the edge, and sometimes went over, the line of propriety.

  10. I like Hollywood Squares, but I somehow knew who many of those people were. Intuition?

    Match Game was my favorite, and other than the "Come on down!" show, I didn't watch any others regularly. They had to be better than Reality TV though.

    I also liked Make Me Laugh a few years later.

  11. TV Guide had an article about Lets Make a Deal and its prizes. Instead of the goat or the other gag prizes they showed, according to them, the show would usually give them a stereo or something like it. Some contestants actually asked for the gag prize, which made for considerable logistical problems for the show.

  12. I was always kinda frightened by that huge eye on the CONCENTRATION board! I even had the home game, and, yes, it had a replica board and eye!

    Been getting into the GONG SHOW again, thru some DVD dubs a pal sent! What wonderful, fun, and joyful nonsense!

    Today, with that same format, we somehow end up with AMERICAN IDOL.

    Al Bigley

  13. Match Game, Let's Make a Deal and The Price is Right were my favorites when I was a kid. We even had the Match Game boxed game which me and my friends played constantly. My father was a huge fan of the Price is Right and since he worked a lot, he never was able to watch the show during the day, unless he was home sick or on vacation. Once we were staying in a cabin up in the Pocono Mountains for a couple weeks and my dad made sure that he tuned in to watch the show every day.

  14. "I shoulda stayed in bed"