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Author Topic: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute  (Read 1233 times)

Eric Paddon

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1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« on: March 31, 2020, 01:43:29 AM »
During the course of my random thumbing through newspapers.com I came across an extensive obituary item on Bob Clayton, host of Concentration and announcer on Pyramid for most of its New York run until his death November 1, 1979 (for those who have newspapers.com it's the Miami Herald for November 14, 1979).       The article says there was a big tribute planned for him at the theater where $20K taped with Dick and Hugh Downs scheduled to attend.    Yet amazingly, I recall from the old atgs someone saying (I forget who) that there was never an actual on-camera acknowledgment on $20K of his death until letters from fans asking what had happened to him came and Dick supposedly made some brief comment at the end (unless those episodes get rerun someday we'll never know for sure).

There's also a great behind the scenes article on $20K in the December 3, 1978 Louisville Courier-Journal.         

BillCullen1

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 08:20:15 AM »
I remember those days. During the 70s, I would go to see Pyramid tape after high school at the Elysee Theater. Clayton was the announcer and never missed a taping till 1978. On two occasions, he had a seizure. The first one, in '78, he collapsed in the balcony falling down the stairs. There was a commotion which Dick Clark heard backstage. He came out and told Bob to stay put. An ambulance was called. After Bob was taken to the hospital, they continued with the tapings. IIRC, Fred Foy was called in to take over the announcing duties. Clayton missed several weeks of tapings.

In '79, as they were about to tape a show, Clayton said he felt faint. An ambulance was called. I think Dick Clark did the intro for a couple of shows. Clayton was absent for several weeks when the news broke that he died. I recall someone brought the entertainment paper Variety to the theater. That's how a few of the regular theater attendees found out about it.

BillCullen1

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2020, 08:36:52 AM »
Other stuff:

In addition to Pyramid, Clayton also announced Shoot For the Stars and the short-lived Blankety Blanks and Pass The Buck for Stewart. My friend would occasionally talk to Clayton after tapings. He told my friend that Goodson-Todman approached him about hosting Concentration. But he did not want to commute or move out to California, so he said thanks but no thanks.

In '75, the Elysee Theater was quite busy as Pyramid, The Big Showdown and Blankety Blanks were all taping there. Each show would do three weeks of tapings in one week. Before that, Get the Message and way back when, The Name's The Same taped there.

Eric Paddon

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2020, 12:08:19 PM »
I'm pretty sure that 1978 taping session you mention where he collapsed was aired on GSN because there is a week of shows where he's heard on Monday/Tuesday and then it's Fred Foy the rest of the week.

Bob Stewart said in the Miami Herald article that for the last year, "He was in and out of the hospital much of the time.   After the last spell he called and announced he was coming back to work.    Then, that night he died in his apartment."

It's not surprising he wouldn't relocate to CA.    He spent much of the 60s commuting between Miami and New York to do "Concentration" (he had been a big TV personality in Miami which is why he got the role in "The Bellboy" which was filmed there).

According to the article and another obituary item in the Miami News, Bob's real name was James Robert Box.    He was buried in Atlanta in Crest Lawn Memorial Park.

BrandonFG

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2020, 01:28:08 PM »
Years ago, I remember reading an account from someone at that taping. According to his story, Fred Foy filled in at the last minute, and warmed up the audience with his old Lone Ranger spiel.

I believe Alan Kalter also filled in for the last few months. I know he did the 50K version.
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JasonA1

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 01:48:08 PM »
Steve O'Brien announced the bulk of 20k after Bob's passing.

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thomas_meighan

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 05:55:12 PM »
From Ancestry.com documents, it looks like Clayton was his mother's maiden name.

Wiki and IMDB both give Atlanta as his birthplace, but records on Ancestry indicate that he was born in Birmingham, Alabama. The 1940 census shows both of his parents and two siblings as being born in Alabama.

calliaume

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2020, 08:38:31 AM »
In addition to Pyramid, Clayton also announced Shoot For the Stars and the short-lived Blankety Blanks and Pass The Buck for Stewart. My friend would occasionally talk to Clayton after tapings. He told my friend that Goodson-Todman approached him about hosting Concentration. But he did not want to commute or move out to California, so he said thanks but no thanks.

In '75, the Elysee Theater was quite busy as Pyramid, The Big Showdown and Blankety Blanks were all taping there. Each show would do three weeks of tapings in one week. Before that, Get the Message and way back when, The Name's The Same taped there.
Belatedly: useful information on Bob Clayton being considered for hosting the syndicated Concentration--thanks. It seems to me G-T would almost always bring back the original hosts in new versions unless they were otherwise occupied (Jim Perry) or definitively would not/could not do it (Bud Collyer, John Daly). Richard Dawson was the exception to this rule.

I'm going to take a guess that the taping schedule outlined above (Pyramid, The Big Showdown, and Blankety Blanks taping fifteen episodes in a week) might have been partly for Dick Clark's benefit, to cut down on his commuting. Also probably saved money on setting up and tearing down the sets.

The Ol' Guy

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Re: 1979-Bob Clayton Obituary and Tribute
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2020, 10:48:26 AM »
Here's another fine article on Bob that includes a picture of him on the set of Make A Face. https://tralfaz.blogspot.com/2013/08/concentrations-bob-clayton.html