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Author Topic: Celebrity Sweepstakes  (Read 8391 times)

Bill Neuweiler

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Celebrity Sweepstakes
« on: February 11, 2010, 02:13:48 PM »
Since there is only about a two mintue clip of the show floating about on youtube I am turning to the group to better understand the game.  What are some of your anecdotes from the show's original run?
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Eric Paddon

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Celebrity Sweepstakes
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 03:02:41 PM »
The pilot and last episode are also available in the general trade circuit.

I can remember watching it a lot when it was on, but since I was only 5-6 at the time much of the game play I know was going over my head and only the set, theme and the celebs stick out in memory.    But I do have a strong recollection of Celebrity Sweepstakes as the "anchor" show if you will for the big "NBC Shamrock Sweepstakes" gimmick of March 1976 as I recall involving champs from all of the NBC daytime shows playing Celebrity Sweepstakes ultimately for a chance at the biggest game show jackpot since the 50s.     It's unfortunate that all the NBC daytime shows of that period are lost and in the process not allowed this event to be rediscovered by game show fans of the modern era.

Ian Wallis

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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 03:18:31 PM »
The pilot and NBC finale also exist.

It was one of my favorite shows from the '70s - too bad more of it wasn't avaiable.

It premiered Apr 1, 1974 at 12:30 and only ran until 12:55 because of the five-minute NBC news they had at the time.  Joey Bishop and Carol Wayne didn't become regulars until several weeks into the show's run.

When it first started, they had three contestants, and each 3 days you remained champion you won a car.  A guy named Stan Olson was on for 11 straight days in fall '74 and won 3 cars.

The show expanded to 30 min. when it moved to 10 AM in Jan 1975.  Joey and Carol remained regulars, but Joey left during the last year of the show.

Sometime in '75 they reduced it to two contestants and you need five wins to get the car.

When it first started, they gave you $20 at the start of the game, and you could be $2, $5 or $10 on each celebrity.  After a while, once you dropped below $10 you could only be $2 until you built it all back up again.  Also, for a period of time they gave you $50 to start the game - I think this was around the time they reduced it to two contestants.

Joey even made a joke about it - he was away for a week at one point and said something like "the last time I was here you had 3 people sitting there, now you've only got 2" upon his return.

In summer 1976 they changed the format, in a week where Carol wasn't there - Bobby Troup and Julie London were two of the panelists that week.

The new format wasn't as good as the original format.

I remember pretending I was sick so I could stay home and watch the finale on 10/1/76.  I was sorry to see the show go...the syndicated version wasn't seen in my area :(

I'm sure I'll think of more, but that's it for now.

Oh well...you asked!!  :)
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Jimmy Owen

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Celebrity Sweepstakes
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 06:05:32 PM »
[quote name=\'Eric Paddon\' post=\'235700\' date=\'Feb 11 2010, 03:02 PM\']The pilot and last episode are also available in the general trade circuit.

I can remember watching it a lot when it was on, but since I was only 5-6 at the time much of the game play I know was going over my head and only the set, theme and the celebs stick out in memory.    But I do have a strong recollection of Celebrity Sweepstakes as the "anchor" show if you will for the big "NBC Shamrock Sweepstakes" gimmick of March 1976 as I recall involving champs from all of the NBC daytime shows playing Celebrity Sweepstakes ultimately for a chance at the biggest game show jackpot since the 50s.     It's unfortunate that all the NBC daytime shows of that period are lost and in the process not allowed this event to be rediscovered by game show fans of the modern era.[/quote]
I have an audio cassette of the 1975 Shamrock Sweepstakes.  Since I was in high school at the time, my mom was kind enough to tape it for me.  I'll have to see if I can find it.
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alfonzos

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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 06:24:03 PM »
They added the rule about betting $2 when your bank dropped below $10 because losing all one's money didn't eliminate a player from the game. They just gave both players $20 again! An alternate solution would have been to star the players with an odd number such as $19.

I remember the syndicated version and the only difference in the production I can recall is that the celebrities started the show seated off stage. When the show began the celebrities' desks would slide on down stage from behind the back drop. The doors would close behind them. The Celebrity Sweepstakes sign would drop into place and the show would go on.
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clemon79

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Celebrity Sweepstakes
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 06:31:01 PM »
[quote name=\'alfonzos\' post=\'235719\' date=\'Feb 11 2010, 03:24 PM\']They just gave both players $20 again! An alternate solution would have been to star the players with an odd number such as $19.[/quote]
An alternate one. Certainly not a good one, but an alternate one.
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BrandonFG

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 06:41:47 PM »
[quote name=\'alfonzos\' post=\'235719\' date=\'Feb 11 2010, 06:24 PM\']An alternate solution would have been to star the players with an odd number such as $19.[/quote]
I don't get what that would do for the show. If you go under, you still go under.
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Bob Zager

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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2010, 07:40:42 PM »
[quote name=\'Jimmy Owen\' post=\'235718\' date=\'Feb 11 2010, 06:05 PM\']I have an audio cassette of the 1975 Shamrock Sweepstakes.  Since I was in high school at the time, my mom was kind enough to tape it for me.  I'll have to see if I can find it.[/quote]

I'm going to try to avoid spoiling the outcome, in case you do find the tape, Jimmy, but I recall the special broadcast was similar to "$64,000 Question," complete with an isolation booth.

Six contestants (one from each of the NBC game shows airing at that time) qualified to try to win $100,000!  Carol Wayne would randomly draw the name of one of the contestants.  That contestant and the host of the show he/she qualified on remained on stage, while all others were isolated off-stage.  The host would read a multi-part question, and the contestant would later be asked to give his/her answers.  The first to have all the right answers would win the money!  If the contestant failed to answer all the parts right, a new name was drawn, and the host of that show he/she qualified on, read the question.  Because of the show being 30 minutes long, it would (if necessary) carry over to the next day, in place of a regular Celebrity Sweepstakes episode.

It would've been nice to see all six hosts have the opportunity to read the question, but I won't say how many were involved, or which ones.

BTW, the multi-part question appeared in Maxene Fabe's book "TV Game Shows."

Eric Paddon

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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2010, 08:43:02 PM »
Would certainly love to hear that!     Hope the tape can be found since format wise we really wouldn't lose too much in an audio only format.

Don Howard

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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 02:52:50 PM »
[quote name=\'alfonzos\' post=\'235719\' date=\'Feb 11 2010, 06:24 PM\']They added the rule about betting $2 when your bank dropped below $10 because losing all one's money didn't eliminate a player from the game. They just gave both players $20 again![/quote]
Are you sure they both got $20? My memory has them both only receiving $2.
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Ian Wallis

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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 03:06:54 PM »
Don's right...they only received $2.
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Eric Paddon

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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 03:51:08 PM »
Speaking of the Shamrock Sweepstakes, this vendor is selling what purports to be Peter Marshall's "shooting script and operations schedule" copy of the Celebrity Sweeptakes broadcast of the finals.

http://www.jamespepperbooks.com/?page=shop...ategory_id=8714

Don Howard

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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2010, 04:06:09 PM »
[quote name=\'Eric Paddon\' post=\'235790\' date=\'Feb 12 2010, 03:51 PM\']Speaking of the Shamrock Sweepstakes, this vendor is selling what purports to be Peter Marshall's "shooting script and operations schedule" copy of the Celebrity Sweeptakes broadcast of the finals.
http://www.jamespepperbooks.com/?page=shop...ategory_id=8714[/quote]
Forty-five bucks for a 21-page shooting script. Is it at least autographed?
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Mr. Bill

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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2010, 08:42:59 PM »
[quote name=\'Ian Wallis\' post=\'235704\' date=\'Feb 11 2010, 03:18 PM\']When it first started, they gave you $20 at the start of the game, and you could bet $2, $5 or $10 on each celebrity.[/quote]
The contestants actually only picked one celebrity who they thought would know the answer.  The audience decided the wagering odds by voting for which celebrity they thought knew it.  As a result, each celebrity's odds could be anywhere from even money 1:1 all the way up to 99:1.  The lower the odds, the more likely the audience thought the celeb knew the answer.

A correct pick earned the contestant the amount of his/her wager multiplied by the odds, so it was possible to win as much as $990 on one question ($10 wager on 99:1).  As mentioned, a wrong pick and you only lost the wager amount.

A note about Carol Wayne.  While both she and her sister Nina were famous for playing ditzy blondes (for example, Johnny Carson's assistant on "Rex Fern's Tea Time Movie"), they were actually quite intelligent.  Because of her public persona, she quite often found herself being touted with 99:1 odds.  Many times though, she was picked and got it right -- a windfall for the contestant.

davemackey

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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 11:41:34 PM »
[quote name=\'Mr. Bill\' post=\'235945\' date=\'Feb 15 2010, 08:42 PM\']A note about Carol Wayne.  While both she and her sister Nina were famous for playing ditzy blondes (for example, Johnny Carson's assistant on "Rex Fern's Tea Time Movie"), they were actually quite intelligent.  Because of her public persona, she quite often found herself being touted with 99:1 odds.  Many times though, she was picked and got it right -- a windfall for the contestant.[/quote]
Carol Wayne actually turned out to be one of those who would be trusted to come up with the correct answer; she actually had a brain inside that impossibly buxom body of hers. Carol would always call Jim McKrell "Sweet Jim".

There was some sort of legal disagreement in the early days of the show over its ownership, but I think it was settled by making it a co-production of Ralph Andrews and Burt Sugarman. They occasionally had some guests you wouldn't normally think of being game show celebrities, possibly from Sugarman's involvement with "The Midnight Special" - I remember an up and coming young singer from Australia named Olivia Newton-John playing the game once.

Finally, Shecky Greene once claimed on "Celebrity Sweepstakes" that Carol Wayne would never drown. How wrong he was.