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Author Topic: The transition to "Password All-Stars"  (Read 1574 times)

narzo

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The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« on: May 16, 2019, 08:01:47 PM »
I may be testing some memories too much, but I'm wondering if anyone recalls how they led up to the launch of "All-Stars" in the days and weeks beforehand.  I can't imagine how Allen could say "we're replacing the regular people, like you at home, with more celebrities" but that's what happened.  Did they just open the first "Password All-Stars" with "SURPRISE! you didn't see this coming!!" and not make any hint this was going to happen in the weeks leading up?

BillCullen1

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2019, 08:47:58 PM »
In his book on Allen Ludden, Adam Nedeff explains that ABC forced G-T to try the all-star format for Password because the celeb weeks done before had gotten good ratings. But like "Baffle All Stars" the year before, the novelty wore thin fast. I'm not sure how far in advance the format change was announced on the air.

Adam Nedeff

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2019, 09:32:13 PM »
The episode guide for my book (put together by the incomparable Brendan McLaughlin) gives a bit of a hint to how the change was handled. The last "normal" week of Password appears to be September 2-6, 1974, Joyce Bulifant and Joseph Campenella. After that, they did theme weeks for more than two months. Celebrities and Their Wives Week, then a four-star week, then Allen vs. Betty with celebrity partners, then Celebrities and Their Wives again, and then a week just listed as Joyce Bulifant and Loretta Swit (which I strongly suspect had some added wrinkle to it because it's odd that it's buried in the middle of everything else), then Carol Burnett vs. Vicki Lawrence Week with guest partners. And then two weeks themed "Winners from Past Years," which seems like a formal goodbye to the old format, and then a rerun of a previous special week.

So basically, the show's approach was that they weaned viewers off the old format for two months and then just did a total relaunch.

Ian Wallis

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019, 07:00:28 PM »
Allen did promote it for at least two to three weeks beforehand, and seemed very excited about the new set and everything that they were going to have.  Originally the All-Stars format was supposed to begin Nov 11, 1974, but was delayed for one week.  At the end oi the Nov 8, 1974 broadcast he stated to tune in Monday for the new format.  I tuned in that Monday only to be disappointed that nothing had changed.  Allen mentioned at the beginning that there was a one-week delay and it would begin the following week (Nov 18, 1974), instead.
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calliaume

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 02:18:12 PM »
Allen did promote it for at least two to three weeks beforehand, and seemed very excited about the new set and everything that they were going to have. 
My memory of 45-year-old episodes isn't super clear, but this squares with what I recall.  But that make sense, whether ABC foisted the All-Stars format or not.  If the choice was either making changes or getting cancelled, it would be a pretty easy choice.  I just took a look at Maxine Fabe's TV Game Shows book, which contains a graph showing the 12 noon ratings between 1974 and 1977, and for most of the second half of the year, Password was well behind Jackpot! in third place.

(I can imagine someone at Goodson-Todman saying to themselves, "All right, we'll have nothing but celebrities - and we're gonna make it so goddamned complicated no one will understand it!") 

Matt Ottinger

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2019, 11:29:23 AM »
Allen did promote it for at least two to three weeks beforehand, and seemed very excited about the new set and everything that they were going to have. 
My memory of 45-year-old episodes isn't super clear, but this squares with what I recall. 

I'll add my hazy memory to this agreement.  It's hard to recall specifics, but I don't remember being blindsided by the changes.
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BillCullen1

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2019, 11:42:32 AM »
(I can imagine someone at Goodson-Todman saying to themselves, "All right, we'll have nothing but celebrities - and we're gonna make it so goddamned complicated no one will understand it!") 

They sure succeeded there. There's an episode of the revised format on YouTube, after they ditched the all celeb format. Celebs are Betty White and Vicki Lawrence. There are four contestants for the first part of the game. First two to get three passwords go upstage to play the main game. 50 points wins and you play a bonus with payouts impossible to explain. Allen definitely keeps it moving. At the end, Mark Goodson comes out to make an announcement about Betty.

Adam Nedeff

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 12:55:59 PM »
At the end, Mark Goodson comes out to make an announcement about Betty.
...She's guest-hosting a week. I'm not sure why you're teasing a 44-year-old episode on YouTube.

Kniwt

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2019, 01:04:24 PM »
There's an episode of the revised format on YouTube, after they ditched the all celeb format. Celebs are Betty White and Vicki Lawrence.

Here is said episode. (There's another copy of the same episode in much lower quality, but listed with a different airdate.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwyI08xd8BQ

snowpeck

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2019, 05:32:37 PM »
then a week just listed as Joyce Bulifant and Loretta Swit (which I strongly suspect had some added wrinkle to it because it's odd that it's buried in the middle of everything else)

I managed to find one (only one though) newspaper source that has six celebrities listed for that week: Bulifant, Swit, Richard Dawson, Charles Nelson Reilly, Bill Bixby and Paul Williams: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31729044/
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jage

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2019, 09:16:21 PM »
I notice that the computer/tech they are using to put the words in for this episode gives one bepe per letter of the password. is this something that was visually obvious? It seemed like most players did not use this to their advantage. Or maybe they couldn't hear the SFX.

That's not the first or last show I can remember using a ladder points system bonus round, though this rendition seems more confusing than it needs to be. Thankfully no one besides the host and whoever is backstage needs to do those calculations.

Matt Ottinger

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2019, 10:40:17 PM »
I notice that the computer/tech they are using to put the words in for this episode gives one bepe per letter of the password. is this something that was visually obvious? It seemed like most players did not use this to their advantage. Or maybe they couldn't hear the SFX.

It was mentioned at some point that the players could not hear the beep-beep-beep of the letters being displayed.
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chrisholland03

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2019, 09:09:22 AM »
"Jackpot has a multiplier...let's give Password several!  It's words and numbers!"


JakeT

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Re: The transition to "Password All-Stars"
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2019, 11:37:32 PM »
"Jackpot has a multiplier...let's give Password several!  It's words and numbers!"

**resisting shouting "NUMBERWANG!"...guess I shall do it in my head**

JakeT