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Author Topic: "Silver Age" of game shows  (Read 5214 times)

Winkfan

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« on: September 08, 2008, 05:06:40 PM »
Many of us have heard about the "Silver Age" of comic books. That period of the late '50s though most of the '60s when DC updated some of the superheroes (Flash, Green Lantern, etc.) and Marvel came into its own.

But do you think there is a "Silver Age" of game shows? To me, the "Golden Age" was the '50s through the mid-60s; and their "Silver Age" was the mid-60s through most of the '70s.

Agree or disagree on this one?

Cordially,
Tammy
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Don Howard

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 05:16:32 PM »
Looking at What's My Line? and Beat The Clock, et. al. as innovators of the genre for television, I'm thinking the Golden Age began when they became the talk of the town and the newspapers and the water cooler discussion. Unfortunately, just about all those shows were fixed, but until it was known that they were, quiz shows were the coolest thing around, hence my thinking that's when the Golden Age was.
During the late 1950s and through the 1960s the games were more in a rediscovery period.
To me, it seems like the Silver Age began in 1972 (Labor Day to be exact) and ended in 1989 (when we lost $ale of the Century and Super Password with one show replaced by nothing and another by a soap opera). From 1989-91, they began their phase-out.
There was a bit of tease in 1990, but all of those new shows got canned.
This is a good topic, though, and I'm curious to read what our peerage thinks on this.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 05:17:35 PM by Don Howard »
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BrandonFG

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 05:30:13 PM »
Agreed on Golden Age being the 50s, and Silver being the era Don mentioned.

Bronze Age could be from c. 1996 to now. Although many of them were dating-based games, I consider that to be the start of an era where we saw more and more game shows taking the place of talk shows. Things only got better in '99 with "Millionaire". Also like the Silver Age, there were some down periods (mid-2000s compared to the early-80s with the Golden Age).
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 05:31:08 PM by fostergray82 »
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Matt Ottinger

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2008, 06:13:17 PM »
[quote name=\'Don Howard\' post=\'196550\' date=\'Sep 8 2008, 05:16 PM\']
To me, it seems like the Silver Age began in 1972 (Labor Day to be exact) and ended in 1989 (when we lost $ale of the Century and Super Password [/quote]
September 4, 1972 is definitely a red-letter day in our genre and would be for TPIR alone.  To my [young] mind, though, game shows were already flourishing in daytime, and that date just happened to introduce three great ones.  As good as it was, TPIR didn't change anything.

I'd start the Silver Age four years earlier, when Goodson-Todman discovered how to recover from the elimination of their franchise shows from the prime time schedules.  Syndication was the new frontier.  Remember, the TPIR franchise was going to be driven by the Dennis James nighttime version, and Bob Barker's version was just going to help draw attention to the syndicated show.  What's My Line? certainly wasn't the first syndicated game show, but it was pretty much the first successful daily one.  That and To Tell The Truth a year later (and some helpful FCC decisions) changed the playing field in a meaningful way.

Also, moving back to 1968 puts us closer to the debut of an independent Bob Stewart, the ascendance of Heatter-Quigley, and --God help us all -- the arrival of Chuck Barris, all of which could be pointed to as game-changers.

Spot-on about the end of the era, though.  After 1989, there wasn't a meaningful new game until Millionaire.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 06:17:08 PM by Matt Ottinger »
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Vahan_Nisanian

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2008, 06:27:16 PM »
For me, the 70's was the golden age, and the 80's was the silver age for game shows.

tvrandywest

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2008, 06:53:22 PM »
You're too smart to be hanging around these parts, Matt! I wholeheartedly concur with both your premise and argument. First thought provoking thread in a while. Thanks!

Randy
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[quote name=\'Matt Ottinger\' post=\'196572\' date=\'Sep 8 2008, 03:13 PM\']
[quote name=\'Don Howard\' post=\'196550\' date=\'Sep 8 2008, 05:16 PM\']
To me, it seems like the Silver Age began in 1972 (Labor Day to be exact) and ended in 1989 (when we lost $ale of the Century and Super Password [/quote]
September 4, 1972 is definitely a red-letter day in our genre and would be for TPIR alone.  To my [young] mind, though, game shows were already flourishing in daytime, and that date just happened to introduce three great ones.  As good as it was, TPIR didn't change anything.

I'd start the Silver Age four years earlier, when Goodson-Todman discovered how to recover from the elimination of their franchise shows from the prime time schedules.  Syndication was the new frontier.  Remember, the TPIR franchise was going to be driven by the Dennis James nighttime version, and Bob Barker's version was just going to help draw attention to the syndicated show.  What's My Line? certainly wasn't the first syndicated game show, but it was pretty much the first successful daily one.  That and To Tell The Truth a year later (and some helpful FCC decisions) changed the playing field in a meaningful way.

Also, moving back to 1968 puts us closer to the debut of an independent Bob Stewart, the ascendance of Heatter-Quigley, and --God help us all -- the arrival of Chuck Barris, all of which could be pointed to as game-changers.

Spot-on about the end of the era, though.  After 1989, there wasn't a meaningful new game until Millionaire.
[/quote]
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aaron sica

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2008, 07:02:09 PM »
Good question, Tammy. I am curious to hear others' opinions as well, but here's my own.

At a very young age (5), I realized that one era of game shows ended, and it's a belief that I stick to today. In my opinion, 1980 is when one era ended and another began.

Here's my take on it......Up to 1980, game shows were quite plentiful and there were a good many on the air. Up to that point,  in syndication, there were still some once-a-week game shows on the air (Price is Right, Name That Tune), some twice-a-week game shows (Hollywood Squares, Family Feud).

Network-wise, CBS axed "Beat the Clock" and "Whew!" that year, ABC did the same to "The $20,000 Pyramid", and of course, NBC killed off "Hollywood Squares" and "High Rollers".

Beginning in the fall of 1980, once-a-week game shows were far and few - at least where I lived, MG PM and Name That Tune were nowhere to be found. Both Family Feud and Hollywood Squares went from twice-a-week to strip. HS even packed up and went to Vegas. The games that premiered that fall (You Bet Your Life, To Tell The Truth) were short lived.

That's why, at least to me, 1980 was and always has been a turning point in game shows. I'm not crafty enough to come up with names for the eras, but that's my personal take.

Ian Wallis

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 08:14:34 PM »
On a wider scale, I agree with pretty well everything Michi-Matt said (but I'd probably start the "silver era" in 1972).  On a personal scale, here's my take:

My first memories were from the early '70s time frame, so the decade that followed was MY golden era.  The '80s probably the silver era, and Aug 16, 1999 was probably the start of the "bronze" era.

I didn't know much about '50s and '60s game shows for many years, but thanks mainly to GSN I was able to see the beginnings of the genre, and agree totally that it was the real "golden era".
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tvrandywest

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 08:19:23 PM »
And this is the zinc age.

Randy
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The story behind the voice you know and love... the voice of a generation of game shows: Johnny Olson!

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Joe Mello

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2008, 08:54:05 PM »
[quote name=\'tvrandywest\' post=\'196604\' date=\'Sep 8 2008, 08:19 PM\']
And this is the zinc age.

Randy
tvrandywest.com
[/quote]
I'd have called it Iron Pyrite Age, but it's not as funny to say.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 08:55:47 PM by Joe Mello »
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joker316

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2008, 09:15:51 PM »
This is a great thread just for recalling all the great memories. I agree with Matt and everyone who says the "silver age" began on 9-4-72, but for a slightly different reason.

To me , it wasn't just that those three game shows debuted on the same day, it was that they debuted on CBS! Now we fans had a new player/outlet for game show variety. When I was growing up we didn't have many stations to choose from (and no cable or satellite, of course). To have a new choice was just great!

When I first saw TJW that day I was awed by the "larger than life slot machine" and "the Savers" theme. TPIR was on a stage that seemed HUGE by comparison to its New York based counterparts. And Gambit was just a little bit different (playing cards as part of the game, BTW I had never seen Pay Cards). And the other networks took notice, as formats were altered or longtime shows were cancelled outright in favor of high polished productions just like CBS. Unlike CBS, in the beginning at least, many of these moves did not pan out due to the games being weak or repetitive. But the creativity would burst forth in waves until it all ended in January 1989 (with a brief lull in the early 80's)
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Don Howard

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2008, 09:47:10 PM »
[quote name=\'joker316\' post=\'196622\' date=\'Sep 8 2008, 09:15 PM\']
I agree with Matt and everyone who says the "silver age" began on 9-4-72[/quote]
To right the record, Matt stated that in his belief the Silver Age began four years before 1972,
for which he was hailed by Randy West.
Twas your Don who opined that Labor Day 1972 began said age.
I don't pretend to hold the high regard that our man from Quizbusters has, but let us be accurate.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 09:48:55 PM by Don Howard »
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calliaume

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2008, 10:11:56 PM »
I'll throw in a different date -- April 5, 1971, when Password came back to ABC, replacing Dark Shadows.  This was significant in that (1) it was the first time in five years a game show had displaced a soap on the daytime schedules, indicating the pendulum was moving, and (2) Password had been off the air for four years (although in reruns for two in syndication).  The G-T 1968 and 1969 shows like What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth had been off the air for a year or less.

Let's put it this way -- Password was the beginning of a change in daytime schedules, and an opportunity to both introduce good new shows (which had begun with Who, What or Where and Sale of The Century in 1969) and bring back the classics.  In 1971, the three networks ran 9 games, 18 soaps, 6 sitcoms, and Dinah's Place.  Two years later, the count was 16 games, 15 soaps, 2 sitcoms, and Dinah.

Good thread.  And this is very subjective; I'm just enjoying a good argument.  (Note to Matt:  I'd say the first five-a-week syndie success was Truth or Consequences, but that's debatable.)

JackSpader

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2008, 10:31:52 PM »
As a journalism major I learned a lot on TV history.  A golden age is hard to figure out, considering the beginning of television saw old radio shows being converted to the visual medium and I think for most people, the golden age ended in the late 60's.  

That being said, I think that the 1960's up until about the mid 1970's was the silver age for game shows.  My reason for this is that the very early 60's were not too far off from the quiz show scandals and by that point the networks had begun implementing their Standards and Practices departments into overseeing game show production.  Prime time game shows were also being dissolved by the late 1960's since the big money was no longer there and therefore games became more appropriate on daytime TV.  Game shows were also becoming more colorful in their sets as color TV was in full force by the late 1960's.  Also game shows began to have more groundbreaking formats with larger sets and more humor.  But one thing that remained through it all was the noticeable conservative hosting styles and the fact that such shows were produced very much conservative in their own right.

The changes that occurred around 1975 was the rise of more laid back formats, and a more noticeable use of technology in the operation of game boards and scoreboards.  Game show hosts were also less conservative with their hosting and seemed far more upbeat, a lot of that inspired by the popularity of Match Game at the time.  Older formats were also being turned around and updated to have more colorful sets and more interesting game rules (which at the time was appropriate considering you knew what you were doing).  Also, it's notable that during the mid 70's soap operas were extending to a full hour and syndicated TV was on the rise which led to a decline in the early 80's, although it's safe to say that it wasn't quite the end considering in 1982 each of the big three had at least one game show during the summer months not counting syndication (TTD, TJW, FF).  With that said, daytime game shows also reached their peak of existence.

I think the better way to look at it was that the game show genre was in a state of transition for about 15 years as they tried new things to stay in tune with the audiences, but eventually the producers came to realize what worked and what didn't.  Silver Era does make sense to that extent.  The mid 70's up until 1991 would decidedly be what I would call the Post-Peak era when game shows were still standard on daytime TV but were faced with heavier competition with syndication and cable channels as the 1980's went on, and eventually 1991 was the end when ABC and NBC both decided that it wasn't worth airing something that only ends up getting pre-emptied for something else.  Then, 1991-1999 is most decidedly what I call the Basement era as daytime game shows were reduced to the three popular shows that we still have, while a new generation of producers favored casual low budget formats which were tailor made for cable channels (you know, the game shows you love to hate).  Right now, I think game show era we are in would called the Million Dollar era, coinciding with the typical prize budget for the show and also unifying in regards to the fact that game shows are seen as synonymous with reality competition shows.

davidhammett

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"Silver Age" of game shows
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2008, 10:50:08 PM »
Not to dodge the original question, but Aaron's comment about 1980 reminds me that, regardless of where you mark the various "ages," the turn of each decade starting from 1960 marked a relative nadir in the game show genre.  In 1960, we were still reeling from the scandals; in 1970, CBS offered no games in daytime; in 1980, we lost all but five network shows that summer; and just after 1990, there wasn't much left except TPIR, WoF, and J!  The same could've almost been said of 2000, but the drought of the 1990's was broken just in time with the introduction of WWTBAM in August, 1999 and the subsequent rebirth of the prime-time game show.

/am I the only one who wants to model this with a sinusoidal function?