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Friday, September 26, 2014

Goodson-Todman---A Pretty Fair Output, Huh?

Beat the Clock (1950–1961, 1969–1974, 1979–1980)
The Better Sex (1977–1978)
Blade Rider
Blockbusters (1980–1982, 1987)
Branded (1965–1967)
Broken Sabre
By Popular Demand (1950)
Call My Bluff (1965)
Card Sharks (1978–1981, 1986–1989)
Choose Up Sides (1956)
Concentration (1973–1978, 1987–1991)
The Don Rickles Show (1968–1969)
Double Dare (1976–1977)
Family Feud (1976–1985, 1988–1995)
Get the Message (1964)
Goodyear Theater (1957–1960)
He Said, She Said (1969–1970)
It's News to Me (1951–1953, 1954)
I've Got a Secret (1952–1967, 1972–1973, 1976)
Jefferson Drum (1958–1959)
Judge for Yourself (1953–1954)
Las Vegas Beat
Make the Connection (1955)
Match Game (1962–1969, 1973–1982, 1990–1991)
Mindreaders (1979–1980)
Missing Links (1963–1964)
The Name's the Same (1951–1954, 1954–1955)
Now You See It (1974–1975, 1989)
Number Please (1961)
One Happy Family (1961)
Password (1961–1967, 1971–1975)
Password Plus and Super Password (1979–1982, 1984-1989)
Philip Marlowe (1959–1960)
Play Your Hunch (1958–1963)
The Price Is Right (1956–1965, 1972–present)
The Rebel (1959–1961)
The Richard Boone Show (1963–1964)
Rider Beyond Vengeance
Say When!! (1961–1965)
Showoffs (1975)
Snap Judgment (1967–1969)
Split Personality (1959–1960)
Tattletales (1974–1978, 1982–1984)
That's My Line (1980–1981)
To Tell the Truth (1956–1968, 1969–1978, 1980–1981, 1990–1991)
Two for the Money (1952–1956, 1957)
What's Going On? (1954)
What's My Line? (1950–1967, 1968–1975)
The Web (1950–1954)
Winner Take All (1948–1950, 1951, 1952)

This is a list of the shows that Mark Goodson and Bill Todman produced and got on the air for TV.
It doesn't even include unsold pilots.
I don't know if anyone else can even come close to matching that record for number of different shows produced.
Oh, there was the occasional Prime Time dramas or comedies, but most of them were Game Shows, of varying degrees of success.
Except for certain glaring exceptions, the game shows were of a very high standard.
Goodson and Todman, particularly Goodson, who was the brains of the outfit, were enormously influential on the tastes and the viewing habits of the American public.
In some ways, they still are.
I'm going to attempt to weave my way through this list, and comment on some of these shows.
This will be my go-to topic when I have nothing else of significance to write about.
I wrote a little about "To Tell The Truth" last time, when I wrote about Polly Bergen.
It was easily the most clever, well-crafted, and interesting game show ever.
Some of their shows created catch-phrases.
"To Tell The Truth" had one.
When they were ready to reveal the non-liar, Bud Collyer, the host, would say "Will the real ______ ________ please stand up?!
In the early 60's, in California, there was this noted Death Row inmate at San Quentin named Caryl Chessman.
He was eventually executed in the gas chamber, and subsequently cremated.
Shortly after this occurred, my sixteen year-old cousin Howie, with his usual flair for showmanship, set up three filled ashtrays on his kitchen table, and announced "Will the real Caryl Chessman please stand up?!"

On the other end of the spectrum was "Beat The Clock", easily the most stupid game show ever.
It was all about stunts, and making the contestants look foolish.
And giving away clock-radios. Occasionally a black-and white TV.
Bud Collyer was the host there, too.
The premise was way simple: perform the stunt in the allotted time given you by the clock.
Maximum of sixty seconds.
I knew one of the "writers" on "Beat The Clock"
Writers. He was paid to come up with the stunts, and try them out in his office with the other "writer" to see if it could be performed in the allotted time.
The stunts usually involved balloons and gyrations.
In an office.
Grown men.
This was one step up from elephant-shit shoveling on the show business spectrum.
Albert Brooks, at parties, used to break out a piece of material called "Bud Collyer's funeral".
Collyer had passed away in the late 60's, so this was a re-creation.
With the clock ticking, the pall-bearers would attempt to get Bud's coffin planted in the ground in under sixty seconds.
They succeeded, and all received clock-radios.

"Til next time....


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:



  1. He also made records -

  2. One thing about the Goodson-Todman shows that I think bears mentioning:

    Three of their biggest hits, now considered classics -- "To Tell the Truth," "The Price Is Right' and "Password" -- were created and orignally produced for G&T by one person: Bob Stewart. I'm always amazed to think that one person could have come up with all three ideas.

    Stewart eventually left the company to form his own company and produced many shows, the most famous of which is "Pyramid." (I also fondly remember two other shows: "Eye Guess," with Bill Cullen, and "Personality," hosted by Larry Blyden. I've also wondered whether Stewart left G&T because he felt he wasn't getting enough credit for the shows he created for them; it did always seem to me as if Goodman and Todman wanted you think they personally created everything.)

    I love watching kinescopes of old game shows -- with the exception of "Beat the Clock." Bud Collyer, who seemed so pleasant and avuncular on "Truth," comes across (to me at least) as darn near maniacal.. (Have you ever seen Ernie Kovacs' takeoff, called "Whip the Wristwatch"? Great stuff.)

    I look forward to the rest of your G&T comments. (I think your post about Polly Bergen was right on the money, by the way.)

  3. I've watched all three incarnations of Beat the Clock, but out of order. I didn't see the original 1950s version until 1998 or '99 when it played on the Game Show Network. What struck me was how formal the 1950s were. I mean, I always knew it was much more formal than the era I grew up in, the 1970s (when of course I watched Happy Days) and it's so far WAAAY more formal than the 21st century, but that formality seemed particularly absurd in regards to Beat the Clock, as the male contestants wore suits and ties, and female contestants nice dresses and pillbox hats, only to then have to, say, hold spoons with golf balls as they walked through a maze. If the stunt had the potential of getting too messy--say eggs instead of golf balls--they did let them wear raincoat like smocks--though they were still dressed very business-like or ladylike underneath. I'm tempted to say the original Beat the Clock was a bit subversive--albeit unintentionally--in the way it turned '50s decorum on it's head. Maybe it's why so many kids who watched it grew up to be hippies.

  4. I can still remember the late Don Pardo, during the Bill Cullen era on The Price is Right, intoning during the credits with unbounded enthusiasm in his unique and inimitable style that cannot be duplicated in printed words, "This has been a Mark Goodson/Bill Todman Production in association with the NBC Television Network." Or something like that.
    -Lee Markham

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Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."