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Author Topic: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?  (Read 1763 times)

JMFabiano

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Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« on: August 26, 2020, 01:24:19 PM »
Just found this book relatively cheap on eBay, back in the day it was a frequent checkout from my local library.  Long before the internet, and long before having GSN and Buzzr, or even tape trading, this was my first look into the history of the genre.

Anyone else have any memories/etc. of this book? 
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Matt Ottinger

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2020, 01:39:09 PM »
Fond memories.  At the time, this was more information than had ever been compiled about our dear genre.  Flaws and all, (and oh my goodness there were flaws) it was an exciting thing to own.
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JMFabiano

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2020, 01:48:32 PM »
Fond memories.  At the time, this was more information than had ever been compiled about our dear genre.  Flaws and all, (and oh my goodness there were flaws) it was an exciting thing to own.

Oh yes.  "TPIW".  "The Newsletter Rollers" starring Alex Trebek. 

Take a drink every time Fabe calls a game show wheel "a wheel of fortune."  Oddly, WOF didn't get a chapter (yeah, it was just 1979...) 
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Bryce L.

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2020, 01:54:40 PM »
Recently bought a copy of it from Amazon (along with the Jefferson Graham book, David Baber's "TV Game Show Hosts" book, and the Ryan/Wostbrock "Ultimate TV Game Show Book"), and I have to laugh at how stupid some of her mistakes are, like the shot from the 1972 TPIR premiere labeled as a $4 overbid.

BrandonFG

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2020, 02:11:23 PM »
I remember checking it out from my mom's college's library, and then nearly leaving the book in Maryland during a family trip. Inaccuracies aside (do I remember correctly that Maxene referred to The Money Maze as The Money Mala? I swear I thought I saw that typo in this book.), the book was an enjoyable read, and I liked seeing the reprints of some shows' question cards.

This book also has one of the very few pictures I remember seeing from the show Pro Fan, and Ken Norton unsuccessfully trying to sink a putt. Maxene's caption said he should stick to boxing.
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Matt Ottinger

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2020, 02:21:24 PM »
I only recently noticed that she misidentifies an I've Got a Secret panelist in one of her photos.  Either it's Betsy Palmer and she says it's Faye Emerson, or the other way around.  When I first got the book, I wouldn't have known the difference.
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Dan88

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2020, 03:30:50 PM »
Parts of the book were clearly written in '77 and weren't updated, as she refers to The New Treasure Hunt as still being on the air and her Nielsen graph for the three networks only goes from 1973-77. Plus there's the whole "dedicating a section to Pro-Fan" thing.

At one point, she says that you shouldn't bother to audition "if you have an obvious handicap or a potentially unsettling occupation or a "disturbing" marital status". No explanation of what any of that is supposed to mean.

I have to laugh at how stupid some of her mistakes are,
Such as that the entire genre up to circa 1978 had a grand total of 40 successful programs. There's a difference between "these 40 are my favorites" and "these 40 are the only successful shows in the genre".

Oh, and the Jack Barry game show with a giant slot machine is "The Joker is Wild".

like the shot from the 1972 TPIR premiere labeled as a $4 overbid.
"Too bad! You've gone over by four dollars."
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DoorNumberFour

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2020, 03:52:50 PM »
Such as that the entire genre up to circa 1978 had a grand total of 40 successful programs.
Interesting point: of all the game shows up to that point, and barring our personal opinion of them, how many game shows were truly "successful"? I might actually put that number at 40 or 50.
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Matt Ottinger

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2020, 04:00:30 PM »
Such as that the entire genre up to circa 1978 had a grand total of 40 successful programs.
Interesting point: of all the game shows up to that point, and barring our personal opinion of them, how many game shows were truly "successful"? I might actually put that number at 40 or 50.

Honestly, that was actually one of the few things I liked about her choices.  With the obvious and glaring exception of Pro-Fan, I thought she did a reasonably good job of picking the truly classic shows to focus on.
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
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BrandonFG

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2020, 04:04:19 PM »
Such as that the entire genre up to circa 1978 had a grand total of 40 successful programs.
Interesting point: of all the game shows up to that point, and barring our personal opinion of them, how many game shows were truly "successful"? I might actually put that number at 40 or 50.
This is actually a very interesting question. By 1977-78, Hollywood Squares was in its second decade, while Truth or Consequences, J! and LMAD had just wrapped up their original runs. Wheel and Feud were popular, but I'd argue they were far from iconic status, given they'd only been on the air a few years. Same for the TPiR and MG revivals, Pyramid, and some of Chuck Barris's stuff. All were major hits chugging along, but not how we consider them now.

Honestly, outside of what I mentioned above and Goodson-Todman's successes from the 50s-60s, I'd say 40 is a generous estimate. Taking Wheel and Feud off the table due to relative newness, I count 15 "successes" at most.
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calliaume

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2020, 04:49:38 PM »
Since I knew where my copy was:

Quote
(do I remember correctly that Maxene referred to The Money Maze as The Money Mala? I swear I thought I saw that typo in this book.)
The Money Maza. Singled out for bad set design, along with Top Dollar, Reach for the Stars, Video Village, Diamond Head Game, Double Dare '77, and The Better Sex.

Quote
Recently bought a copy of it from Amazon (along with the Jefferson Graham book)
Graham's book and the first EoTVGS came out at nearly the same time. Graham's book was much beloved for the color photos and the fact he'd obviously interviewed quite a few people involved in the shows (Fabe spoke a lot with Richard Dawson, but that may have been about it), but he had a few errors too--one required an errata slip about Twenty-One producer Albert Freedman, and the other caused Chuck Woolery's last name to be misspelled with two Ls for years thereafter in various game show forums.

MEA CULPA: Fabe lists a fair number of people to whom she spoke in the acknowledgments.

Quote
I only recently noticed that she misidentifies an I've Got a Secret panelist in one of her photos.  Either it's Betsy Palmer and she says it's Faye Emerson, or the other way around.
Other way around. I'd like to think I'd noticed this sometime in the last 41 years, but I probably didn't.

There's a ton of errors in the book, which probably didn't get a particularly good copyedit or proofread--and, from experience, I can say unless you've got concrete evidence (like a TV Guide or New York Times listing) that the manuscript is wrong, the editor is going to defer to the author... sometimes not even then. (And you couldn't Google that sort of thing in 1978.)
 
Quote
Such as that the entire genre up to circa 1978 had a grand total of 40 successful programs.
These were the 40 best, in her opinion, so that's kind of a moving target. Here's the list:
Winner Take All
Pantomime Quiz (
a.k.a. Stump the Stars)
Break the Bank
(both editions are listed in the entry, but she's clearly referring to the Bert Parks version)
Twenty Questions
What's My Line?
Beat the Clock
You Bet Your Life
I've Got a Secret
Masquerade Party
Name That Tune
Strike It Rich
The Big Payoff
This Is Your Life
Truth or Consequences
People Are Funny
House Party
To Tell the Truth
Queen for a Day
Who Do You Trust?
Treasure Hunt
The Price Is Right
G.E. College Bowl
The $64,000 Question
The $64,000 Challenge
Twenty-One
Concentration
Password
Let's Make a Deal
The Dating Game
The Newlywed Game
Jeopardy!
The Hollywood Squares
Match Game '7X
The $20,000 Pyramid
The New Treasure Hunt
The Gong Show
Family Feud
Pro-Fan
The (New) Price Is Right
The (New) High Rollers


So there are a few that really shouldn't be there, and a few that aren't even really game shows.

Ten worst:

Comeback Story
Dream House ('68)
Finders Keepers ('51)
Make Me Laugh
100 Grand
Sense and Nonsense
Supermarket Sweep
Treasure Isle
With This Ring
You're in the Picture


« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 10:02:58 AM by calliaume »

aaron sica

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2020, 05:33:59 PM »
I remember checking it out from my mom's college's library

I checked it out from my college library as well. Considering that there wasn't a whole lot of written word on game shows at the time, I never took it back and ate the cost.

chrisholland03

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2020, 06:42:37 PM »
My favorite part was seeing the stage plan for Card Sharks.

Dan88

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2020, 08:37:56 PM »
Interesting point: of all the game shows up to that point, and barring our personal opinion of them, how many game shows were truly "successful"? I might actually put that number at 40 or 50.
For that matter, what's the measure of "success" here? Longevity? Ratings regardless of lifespan (such as Dotto)? Improvement of ratings in a given timeslot (such as Three On A Match compared to Joe Garagiola's Memory Game)? Implantation into pop culture/public consciousness?

Quote
Such as that the entire genre up to circa 1978 had a grand total of 40 successful programs.
These were the 40 best, in her opinion, so that's kind of a moving target.
Maybe I'm misreading things (and I don't own a copy to check for myself; I'm going off notes I'd taken when I borrowed it from my local library some years ago), but from what I recall she doesn't really frame it as her opinion. Early in the book, she says
Quote
Over the past thirty years, there have been, according to my count, nearly 700 [game shows] [...] Only the forty you'll be reading about in this book are worth remembering and commemorating for the classic shows they are.
And on Page 119, she says that out of more than 700 games, "forty of them would succeed".
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DjohnsonCB

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Re: Memories of TV Game Shows! by Maxene Fabe?
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2020, 03:35:58 AM »
Oh, the typos and misinformation in that book!  And she makes me think of my sister in the late '60s who only liked classic board games and dismissed all of the latest-year plastic games I had as "Baby Games".  As Maxene put it: "...most of them stink.  Only the 40 you'll be reading about here are worth remembering..."  If she had the chance to redo that book she'd probably take out The New High Rollers and put in a few pages of praise for WoF.  Or, more likely, she would have put WoF in a newly-added " Best of The '80s" section and said something like, "Okay, so this show actually debuted in the '70s.  But who remembers or watched it back then?  As we all know by now, it was an EIGHTIES show..."
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