Saturday, June 20, 2015

Forgotten TV: The Plot Thickens (1963)

A while back, we discussed NBC's short-lived 1979 murder-mystery game show, Whodunit?. As it turns out, this wasn't the first time a program of this nature had been attempted.

Sixteen years earlier, Harry Ackerman, head of comedy programming at Screen Gems, took an idea from filmmaker William Castle, and pitched a pilot for a mystery-game show hybrid, The Plot Thickens. Unfortunately, none of the networks were interested in what amounted to an attempt at getting comedy legend Groucho Marx back on television. Jack Linkletter, son of 50's icon Art Linkletter, was the moderator, aided by sexy Warrene Ott, whose "bailiff" attire consisted of a black leotard, with a cat's tail attached, and sheer hose with flat shoes. As you'll see, Groucho is flirting with Warrene, which was meant to be a running gag had Plot gone to series. Actress Jan Sterling is on the panel for this one.

Linkletter's last series was America Alive for NBC, several years later. Castle, remaining at Columbia, gave TV another try 9 years later with Ghost Story (previously reviewed), which would morph into Circle of Fear halfway through its lone season.

The Internet Archive brings The Plot Thickens, which otherwise was released on a You Bet Your Life DVD compilation.

Rating: A-.

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