From Hollywood, with our celebrity poets for this week, it's time for...
SHOW: RHYME AND REASON
AIR DATES: July 7, 1975 to July 9, 1976
CREATOR: W. T. Naud Productions
HOST: Bob Eubanks
WATCH IT AT: youtu.be/kWhdeNhY2TQ
Let's get the obvious out of the way; "Rhyme and Reason" was, quite
obviously, made for Nipsey Russell. "Television's poet-laureate" was in
his prime and had many, MANY chances to stretch his poetic muscles
alongside other panel-game-show regulars like Richard Dawson, Jaye P Morgan
and the like. The show (which, despite me being four at the time, I do
remember vaguely) was sort of a "Match Game" tie-breaker taken to its
logical extreme. And the laughs just kept on coming...as you might
expect from a "Match Game"-style show.
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
Two contestants played, usually with a returning champion. Across from
six celebrity "poets"...with Nipsey Russell more often than not being
one of them. The object of the game was to win two games. Each game goes
to three points.
The host starts by showing the first two lines of a potential four-line
poem (EX: Honest, your Honor, it's all a mistake...).
The contestants must then use an electronic pen to write down a word
that rhymes with the last underlined word. Once written, the contestants
must choose one of the "poets" to try to match their word while
completing the poem (EX: I thought politicians were ALL on the take).
The contestantants alternate between choosing the poet. If the poet
matches the word of who chose them, they earn two points. If the poet
matches the OTHER contestant's word, that contestant gets ONE point.
Should both contestants write down the same word, only the chooser can
earn points. The process continues until someone matches or all six
poets fail to match.
First to three points wins the game and $250. First to win two games
wins the match and advances to the bonus round.
(aka "$5000 Bonus Rhyme") The
champion is shown two starting lines to a poem, just like in the main
game. Without saying the lines aloud, they must then write down THREE
words that rhyme with the last word. They then choose one of the poets
with whom to play the round. The champ then reads the first two lines,
and the poet must finish the poem. The process continues for 30 seconds
or until the poet gets all three words written down. Matching one word
gets the champ $1000, matching to gets $2500 and matching all three
within 30 seconds nets the champ $5000.
Most of the relative success of the show, of course, came from the
answers the "poets" gave. Much like "Match Game", the celebrities seemed
almost salivating with each new rhyme to come up with a hilarious end to
the poem. And, despite being the 70s (or perhaps BECAUSE it was), they
weren't afraid to get racy at times. Oh, sure, they were trying to match
the contestant's words...but their primary job was to make it funny.
This was the first time I saw Bob Eubanks as a host. I may not have
remembered him that well (as stated, I was four) but, upon seeing him on
the show on YouTube, I can see how he used his experience with "The
Newlywed Game" to rock this show. He always kept it professional, even
when the jokes seemed a bit TOO close to "making whoopie" for TV
And, I could be wrong, but this might be the first time electric pens
and pads were used on a show. If anything fascinated me the most as a
youngster, it was that. It may have been the 70s, but it was cool to
include cutting-edge - if not rather simple - technology.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
Not much, really. Yeah, the poets sometimes had a hard time coming up
with the lines to finish the poems...and sometimes those answers seemed
forced for the sake of comedy...but, all in all, the only thing wrong
with the show...was its placement. First starting at 2:30 opposite "The
Doctors", then moved to 1:30 opposite two OTHER hit soap operas, they
didn't stand a chance. Ironically, it was replaced by "Family
Feud"...and we all know what happened to THAT show.
Oh, yeah, and the fact that this truly was Nipsey Russell's show, not
Bob Eubanks. Don't get me wrong; Nipsey was a great comedy wordsmith.
But, y'know, that whole "too much of a good thing" deal...
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
Why, YES, I do think it would. It's been a long time since Comedy
Central had a game show (and, no, I don't count "@midnight" as one);
this might what they need to match "Win Ben Stein's Money"'s popularity.
Well,...OK, maybe not THAT good. But it would HAVE to be better than
their version of "Make Me Laugh", right? And how hard would it be for CC
to scare up six comedians to do this? Hell, the comedians can do this
show in the early afternoon and "@midnight" later!
NEXT TIME: Press
Chris Wolvie may not be a man of fame...but
he's finally on Twitter @
the same name Also
e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.