Saturday, November 21, 2015

On DVD: Do You Trust Your Wife? (1956)

We conclude our look at the game shows featured on Mill Creek's TV Guide Spotlight compilation DVD with Do You Trust Your Wife?, a Don Fedderson entry that began as a primetime entity on CBS in 1956 before moving to ABC and changing hosts as a result.

Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was tapped to host, the idea being that this would be Fedderson's answer to Groucho Marx's ultra-popular You Bet Your Life, with Bergen augumented by his trio of puppets, Mortimer Snerd, Effie Clinker, and, of course, Charlie McCarthy.

However, when the series changed networks, Team Bergen did not go for the ride, presumably either due to contract issues, or Fedderson needed a change. He did, however, acquire the services of Johnny Carson, whose self-titled CBS series had come to an end, but was still under contract to CBS for another seven months. Carson, however, left after 5 years to take over NBC's Tonight Show and, well, you know the rest of that story. Woody Woodbury was hired to replace Carson for end of the show's run, as it was cancelled in 1963.

Under Carson, the game play changed to allow individual players to compete, plus the addition of sound-proof booths, much like on Twenty-One, for example, but without the controversy.

Following is a sample episode from Bergen's run, which appeared on the DVD:

As ventriloquists are supposedly able to refrain from moving their lips while operating their puppets, the cameras repeatedly picked up Bergen mouthing the words spoken by either Charlie, Effie, or Mortimer. Clearly, he was nearing the end of his career, and his skills were fading. One of his last jobs, without the entourage, mind, was in the TV-movie, "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story", which was the pilot for The Waltons, in 1971. When the series was picked up, Bergen was replaced by Will Geer.

Now, let's take a look at an episode from the Carson era:

Apparently, ABC asked for the changes to avoid any sort of legal issues with Groucho.

Rating: A-.

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