Thursday, June 6, 2013

Classic TV: Beat The Clock (1950)

GSN is relaunching the former NBC series, Minute To Win It, later this month, but, truth be told, that series wouldn't even have been a thought in a network executive's mind if it wasn't for Beat The Clock.

Mark Goodson & Bill Todman introduced Clock in 1950, hiring Clayton "Bud" Collyer, better known as the voice of Superman on radio & theatrical cartoons in the 40's, as host. Clock would run for 11 seasons, ending in 1961, at which time Collyer had already started on another game, To Tell The Truth.

Here's a sample from the Collyer era:

In 1969, Clock returned, this time in syndication, and in a weekday format. Jack Narz hosted for the first three years, but after the series relocated to Canada for taping, the expenses were such that Narz could not continue. Announcer Gene Wood, who hosted a Canadian produced knock-off of Clock, Anything You Can Do (previously reviewed), moved in front of the camera to replace Narz. The gimmick to this version was the addition of celebrity guests, who would appear for all 5 days. Adam Curry presents an episode from the Wood era with that world-famous ham actor and one of Canada's best known exports, William Shatner:

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear Wood had gone to John Byner's barber. Their hairstyles look the same.

Anyway, CBS got the Clock back in 1979, and lured Monty Hall (Let's Make A Deal) in as host. Halfway through the run, the show went to an all-star format, the sure sign that it was destined for failure.

Here's a sample episode:

After skipping the 90's altogether, the series returned one last time in 2002, this time on cable's PAX (now Ion), with former Saturday Night Live regular Gary Kroeger as the host. As with the Hall era, this lasted just one year. Thewhammy83 uploaded this episode.

Nickelodeon's Double Dare, part quiz show, part stunts, may also owe part of its lineage to Clock, but we'll cover that another time.

Rating: B.

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