Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Classic Reborn: Masquerade Party (1974)

It was a clever premise, a twist on the panel shows such as What's My Line? or I've Got a Secret.

Masquerade Party, however, went through a number of emcees over the course of its initial 8 year run (1952-60), including Bert Parks and CBS newsman Douglas Edwards. Comic Allan Sherman served as a producer, and may have also had something to do with the genesis of the series.

Of course, the original Masquerade Party was before my time, and wasn't in syndication when I was growing up. In 1974, Stefan Hatos, who served as an executive producer, revived the series, this time with business partner Monty Hall (Let's Make a Deal). Richard Dawson, 2 years away from Family Feud, was tapped to host. This version lasted just 1 season in syndication, but the celebrity panel was trimmed from 4 to 3, with one seeming constant---Bill Bixby.

A year earlier, Hatos & Hall revived a more obscure series, It Pays to be Ignorant, with Joe Flynn (ex-McHale's Navy) as host, with Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game), JoAnn Worley (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In) & British comic Billy Baxter as the panel. Unfortunately, there are no clips from that series' 1973 incarnation to be had, and we'll deal with Ignorant in greater detail another time.

Right now, let's take a look at a clip from Masquerade Party from the Dawson era. Bixby is joined by Lee Meriweather (Barnaby Jones) & Nipsey Russell on the panel:

Edit, 6/1/2020: Wink Martindale has added the complete episode to his YouTube channel. 

Rating: B.

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