Saturday, July 22, 2017

Forgotten TV: What's The Law? (1960's)

This next item may look like something from the Goodson-Todman factory, but it isn't, although announcer Chet Gould did work for G-T on What's My Line? during its syndicated run.

What's The Law? is an unsold pilot from independent producer Jerry Hammer and Official Films which was produced sometime between 1967-70. It's a "Forgotten TV" entry simply because there's little or no record of it, other than the video we're presenting today. Cerebral comedian Henry Morgan (ex-I've Got a Secret) is the host, and the panel follows the familiar G-T formula of two men (Barry Nelson & Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in this case) and two women (Joan Rivers and a pre-Alice Linda Lavin, who was appearing on Broadway at the time, a few years before landing a temporary gig on Barney Miller).

Real court cases, mostly small claims cases, are discussed. Poster Ira Gallen left about 10 minutes-plus of dead air on the back end of this video.

Not the average game show by any stretch, although I think Goodson-Todman would've known what to do with it. The public just wasn't ready for something like this.

Rating: B-.


Mike Doran said...

Back in 1961, CBS had a daily game called Face The Facts.

Cases from small claims court were dramatized: actors played the litigants, who would "plead their cases" before a panel of four civilians. The cases seemed mainly to come from a long-running Saturday Evening Post feature, "You Be The Judge".
The panelists were allocated points, which they would wager for the Plaintiff or the Defendant as they saw fit; whoever had the most points after the two/three cases of that day (can't recall which) would win cash and prizes.
The MC was Red Rowe, a CBS utility announcer. The producers were Irving Mansfield (aka Mr. Jacqueline Susann) and Peter Arnell, who also produced Ernie Kovacs's game show, Take A Good Look.
The one surviving clip I could find on YouTube was of the opening seconds of a single show; one of the litigants was Doodles Weaver, in hayseed mode.

Face The Facts ran on CBS in the spring and summer of 1961.
Its replacement was Password, which had somewhat more success ...

hobbyfan said...

Another short-lived series, eh, Mike? I'll have to look that up sometime.

What can you tell me about "What's The Law?"?

Mike Doran said...

What can I tell you about What's The Law?

Absolutely nothing. It didn't sell, and so it never aired.

If all that's left is a black-and-white kinescope of what was obviously a color videotape (the lighting is a giveaway), I'd love to know how your source got hold of that much.

hobbyfan said...

So would I. Ira Gallen's TV Days site might provide some information.