Thursday, November 12, 2015

On DVD: The Name's The Same (1951)

As we documented yesterday, game shows were fairly common in primetime during TV's early years, especially during the 50's. It was a lot easier taping game shows in, say, New York, because you wouldn't have to detour traffic like you would to film a sitcom or drama.

One of Goodson-Todman's prominent games of the period was The Name's The Same, which worked along the same lines as stablemates To Tell The Truth, What's My Line?, & I've Got a Secret in that the celebrity panel had to deduce the contestant's particular quality, and in this case, it meant sharing a famous name, or, in the case of one game, if their home town had a peculiar name that was known for a more familiar connotation.

Robert Q. Lewis emceed for the first three years (1951-4) before departing to do a series of variety shows for CBS (Name aired on ABC, as opposed to the above mentioned stablemates, which were all on CBS). After a hiatus, Name returned, with Ralston Purina as the sponsor (Purina is now part of Nestle, and Ralston's most famous cereal brand, Chex, was acquired by General Mills), and Dennis James as moderator. James only lasted about 4 months before the comedy team of Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding took his place. The moderator merry-go-round ultimately killed the show in 1955.

Now, let's take a look at a sample from the Lewis era, with panelists including Carl Reiner and Joan Alexander, the radio/cartoon voice of Lois Lane.

Delightfully silly. One wonders why Fremantle Media, which owns the G-T library, doesn't consider reviving the show.

Rating: A.

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