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Author Topic: Which host was better?  (Read 4507 times)

clemon79

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2019, 07:30:04 PM »
Pyramid needs 2 seasons to cultivate and prove its worth, that's the kind of show it is.

Alternately, they could not shoot the entire season in three weeks, and learn and implement things along the way.
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The Ol' Guy

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2019, 07:54:07 PM »
Agreeing that it might be worth separating the two versions of The Price Is Right. Chipper Mr. Cullen had to carry a whole half-hour of the exact same game play over and over, so his personality carried a repetitive game. Barker was a fine guide through dozens of mini-games that created excitement through variety. Put the occasionally sardonic Barker in the 50s-60s Price and I wonder if he wouldn't get too bored to enjoy it. Truth or Consequences being another example. Barker shines well when he guides different contestants through individual events. Different formats, different skills.

danderson

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2019, 08:35:06 PM »
Haven't talked about Dawson yet, but i feel the downfall of Feud was when they went to 400 points.   Dawson was more of a generic host in that era rather than  the rapier like wit that he showed before hand. But it really wasn't his fault.

TLEberle

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2019, 08:41:48 PM »
Haven't talked about Dawson yet, but i feel the downfall of Feud was when they went to 400 points.   Dawson was more of a generic host in that era rather than  the rapier like wit that he showed before hand. But it really wasn't his fault.
Someone can cite the source or back me up on this, but I recall that the change to 400 points was not just to get more game in, but to get Richard to move things along and not spend so much time talking our ears off.
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BillCullen1

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2019, 10:47:02 PM »

Hollywood Squares: Bergeron, Marshall, Davidson, Bowser.

Match Game: 70s Rayburn, Shafer, Baldwin, Burger


I had totally forgotten about Bowzer and Michael Burger as hosts. Bowzer's version of HS had some format issues. A wrong decision by the player gave the square to the opponent, even if it resulted in a win. But Bowzer did the best he could with what he was given. As for Burger's version of MG, when you have to bleep out about 1/3 of the answers, something's wrong. Plus Judy Tenuta was like finger nails on a blackboard.

BillCullen1

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2019, 11:49:11 PM »
Here's a few I don't think we've discussed:

Concentration - Narz, Trebek, Clayton. Never saw H Downs or E McMahon host
SOTC - Perry over Garagiola. Never saw Jack Kelly host.
Gong Show - I liked Gary Owens over Chuckie Baby
You Don't Say - Kennedy over Peck
LMAD - Monty of course, then Brady, Hilton and (ugh) Billy Bush
T or C - Barker (natch), then Hilton and Larry Anderson
Dealers Choice - Jack Clark over Bob Hastings
Cross Wits - Jack Clark over David Sparks

Sonic Whammy

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2019, 12:58:36 PM »
Someone can cite the source or back me up on this, but I recall that the change to 400 points was not just to get more game in, but to get Richard to move things along and not spend so much time talking our ears off.
Yes, that was alluded to in that infamous 1984 TV Guide article on the game show hosts that pretty much damned Dawson, and rightly so.
Wink: "He's a guy who's caught the tail end of a rocket, and he's not handling it well."
Monty: "He goes out there, does his W.C. Fields act, they have to edit it all out. That's arrogance."

Combine those comments with the fact that Richard refused to do the article unless he was alone on the cover of that issue, and the "wheels" started falling off the wagon for Feud.

To be perfectly honest, for as much as so many of us put Dawson at #1 of all the Feud hosts (and on the side, Bob at #1 with Price), we forget that the ego DID play a role in harming the show as time went on. If you truly are the best, you don't let that get in the way. Ever. There has to be more of an appreciation for the the show, its success and, like I said before, a realization that as much as you become linked to the show, you are not the star, it's not about you. It's the contestants and the game. Now, I'm NOT saying that Steve (or Drew) should automatically ascend to #1 because of things like this, but this is something that it forever looks like almost everyone here just doesn't count against them at all.

Think about that. Really.
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JasonA1

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2019, 07:01:52 PM »
Someone can cite the source or back me up on this, but I recall that the change to 400 points was not just to get more game in, but to get Richard to move things along and not spend so much time talking our ears off.

I think the source was our collective conjecture, which I thought would be correct. But the last time I saw Cathy Dawson, I had just seen a 400-point show on YouTube or Buzzr, and asked her if she remembered why they changed the winning goal. She couldn't recall. When I suggested the reason you gave, she said she had no problem during her tenure as producer getting Richard to take a "speed up" signal. In the conversation that followed, the implication I gathered was that Howard would let Richard ramble, which gave them carte blanche to edit down the show the way they saw fit. If the show was brought in closer to time, there was less opportunity to edit.

In fairness to all parties, I'll merely say this is one side of the story. Because I'm still gobsmacked why else they'd make such a wacky change at that point in the run.

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JakeT

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2019, 07:21:09 PM »
Someone can cite the source or back me up on this, but I recall that the change to 400 points was not just to get more game in, but to get Richard to move things along and not spend so much time talking our ears off.

I think the source was our collective conjecture, which I thought would be correct. But the last time I saw Cathy Dawson, I had just seen a 400-point show on YouTube or Buzzr, and asked her if she remembered why they changed the winning goal. She couldn't recall. When I suggested the reason you gave, she said she had no problem during her tenure as producer getting Richard to take a "speed up" signal. In the conversation that followed, the implication I gathered was that Howard would let Richard ramble, which gave them carte blanche to edit down the show the way they saw fit. If the show was brought in closer to time, there was less opportunity to edit.

In fairness to all parties, I'll merely say this is one side of the story. Because I'm still gobsmacked why else they'd make such a wacky change at that point in the run.


And, in all fairness, Cathy was speaking about her (former) father-in-law, right?  I wouldn't necessarily expect her to speak ill of him...

JakeT

JasonA1

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2019, 08:03:47 PM »
And, in all fairness, Cathy was speaking about her (former) father-in-law, right?  I wouldn't necessarily expect her to speak ill of him...

Exactly. But I equally have no reason to believe she was any less than honest with me. I merely said it because it's the fact of the matter.

And thinking about it more, one of the theories we worked up in trying to remember the reason they switched the format was perhaps it made the length of the game more predictable? The last format, for those that don't remember, was 4 Single questions, then a Double, then a Triple. Those 400-point games, IIRC, most often ended at question 6, but could end at question 5. You'd have to have had some really bad rounds to necessitate a 7th question.

The daytime format just prior to the switch was Single-Single-Double-Double-Triple to 300, which was much more volatile. Not a great theory, but it's a theory.

-Jason
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TLEberle

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2019, 09:58:41 PM »
Even when you consider the R&R and Sports versions, Jeopardy has had, IMO, four solid hosts. ALEX, then Art, then Jeff, then Dan. Dan is the lowest of the four, but not because he was bad. I REALLY liked Probst, but I can't put him in front of two legendary hosts.

Wheel: Woolery, Goen, Sajak, Benirschke: I know the role is mainly traffic cop, but there are ways to go about it, and it feels like Pat's been phoning it in for more than a decade. Even if you only count his work through 2000, I'd still put Goen and Woolery ahead.
While my only disagreement is with your assessment of Dan Patrick (I put him far below even Jeff Probst) what I like is the question about Wheel of Fortune's host. To wit: Would you prefer someone who is polished and professional but aloof and caustic, or someone who does not have the conventional tool-set but makes up for it with boundless enthusiasm and empathy. As it happens I enjoyed the daytime Wheel with Bob Goen because he had equal parts polish and enthusiasm, so I guess he vaults to the front of the line with Chuck just behind.
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beatlefreak84

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #41 on: January 12, 2019, 10:29:44 PM »
I'll preface this with saying that I'm only going to do the "big 4" (minus J!) and Pyramid because, while other shows may have had many hosts, they were in different versions that, in my opinion, were different enough to where we may be judging the host against the version of the show instead of the host on his/her own merits.  As an example, for Match Game, comparing Rayburn to Shafer, to me, is like apples to oranges because Shafer's version had such dramatic differences in play.  Similarly, I don't think it's fair to compare Trebek to Probst for J! because they hosted very different versions of the show, aimed at different audiences.  Of course, YMMV.

That said, here are my rankings:

TPIR:  Barker, Carey, Kennedy, James, Davidson (Carey at #2 due to his longevity and carrying the show nicely into the 21st century, James at #4 because I just didn't like his more "traditional" style of hosting for the show)

Wheel:  Sajak, Woolery, Goen, Benirshke  (Goen and Woolery are a toss-up to me, but I disagree with those who say Sajak "phones it in"; I rather describe it as being on "autopilot" and instead runs it like a well-oiled machine)

Feud:  Dawson, Combs, Harvey, O'Hurley, Karn, Anderson (The last three are way down the list, IMO, but I rank Dawson as #1 slightly ahead of Combs due in part to lasting longer than Combs but also knowing how to take the seriousness of the game in balance with the goofy answers the best.  Harvey is definitely an excellent fit for the modern-day Feud, but he still hasn't quite found the balance between serious game play and hilarious "YouTube-worthy" answers, although he has gotten better.)

Pyramid:  Clark, Cullen, Strahan, Osmond, Richards, Davidson  (Again, the last three are way down the list; to me, both Osmond and Richards felt too wooden, and Davidson...'nuff said there)

My wife and I actually spent the better part of a night out discussing these rankings, so kudos to the OP for interesting dinner conversation!

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TimK2003

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2019, 10:59:35 PM »
Someone can cite the source or back me up on this, but I recall that the change to 400 points was not just to get more game in, but to get Richard to move things along and not spend so much time talking our ears off.
Yes, that was alluded to in that infamous 1984 TV Guide article on the game show hosts that pretty much damned Dawson, and rightly so.
Wink: "He's a guy who's caught the tail end of a rocket, and he's not handling it well."
Monty: "He goes out there, does his W.C. Fields act, they have to edit it all out. That's arrogance."

Combine those comments with the fact that Richard refused to do the article unless he was alone on the cover of that issue, and the "wheels" started falling off the wagon for Feud.

To be perfectly honest, for as much as so many of us put Dawson at #1 of all the Feud hosts (and on the side, Bob at #1 with Price), we forget that the ego DID play a role in harming the show as time went on. If you truly are the best, you don't let that get in the way. Ever. There has to be more of an appreciation for the the show, its success and, like I said before, a realization that as much as you become linked to the show, you are not the star, it's not about you. It's the contestants and the game. Now, I'm NOT saying that Steve (or Drew) should automatically ascend to #1 because of things like this, but this is something that it forever looks like almost everyone here just doesn't count against them at all.

I, for one, put Ray Combs ahead of Dawson (and everyone else) on Feud.   As personable and genuine Richard was towards most families who appeared on the show, I never felt that same warmth as a viewer.  To me, Ray Combs seemed to be a bit more personable and upbeat to the average TV viewer who was not in the studio with the rest of them.   Ray did not go looking to kiss every woman on the set like Richard did.  And by the end of Dawson's first run, it felt like every family was required to bring along some sort of gift, hat, shirt or what-not to bestow upon his highness.  When they tried to bring Richard back for the post-Combs incarnation, he didn't bring anything different with him, and what he did bring was so out of date, if you could understand it between his soft-spoken mumbling.

Dawson's schtick was always predictable on Match Game as well and I was happy to see him leave that show, although his semi-regular replacements (McLean Stevenson and Bill Daily) were annoying in their own right.  Someone already mentioned his "W.C. Fields" persona which he alternated with his Stan Laurel and Groucho Marx impressions with at least one of those impressions seemingly appearing on nearly every episode. 


TLEberle

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #43 on: January 12, 2019, 11:23:39 PM »
My wife and I actually spent the better part of a night out discussing these rankings, so kudos to the OP for interesting dinner conversation!
Not for nothing, but hang on tight--you found a keeper. :)

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« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 02:32:07 PM by TLEberle »
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MSTieScott

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Re: Which host was better?
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2019, 02:24:29 PM »
Someone already mentioned his "W.C. Fields" persona which he alternated with his Stan Laurel and Groucho Marx impressions with at least one of those impressions seemingly appearing on nearly every episode.

I don't know whether there was ever any concern among the producers of the '70s Match Game about appearing too similar to Hollywood Squares, but the fact that Richard Dawson would default to a Paul Lynde impersonation whenever he didn't have an actual joke to deliver couldn't have been great.


Years ago, when I was at a coworker's party, a former Feud producer, upon learning I was a game show fan, asked me who my favorite Family Feud host was. I realized that I don't really have an answer to that question. I don't know exactly what the perfect Feud host should be, but in my opinion, both Dawson and Combs had their weaknesses that prevent them from being the ideal by which all other hosts should be judged. (To build on Tim's observation, to the extent that Dawson focused too much on the contestants over the experience of the at-home audience, Combs played too much to the audience at the expense of the contestants.)