These are our players and here is our
panel...and why are they all here? Because it's...
SHOW: JUST MEN!
AIR DATES: January 4, 1983 to April 1, 1983
CREATOR: Rosner Television/Century Towers Productions/Orion TV
HOST: Betty White
WATCH IT AT: youtu.be/l7lU6v6iUfo
You could probably count the number of female game show hostesses on one
hand, right? And, no, I'm not counting the time that the models took over
hosting duties on "The Price Is Right". Brooke Burns, Meredith
Vicki Lawrence, Jane Lynch...not too many have lasted. But...it had to
start SOMEWHERE. And that "somewhere" was with "Just Men!", the first
with a "hostess" to WIN a Daytime Emmy(TM) for Outstanding Game Show
Host, beating out Dick Clark and Richard Dawson. It was also unique
because it was the first show since "Treasure Hunt" where the
contestants were, likewise, all female (though threat of the host
getting hurt was not a reason for that). And the panel that helped the
ladies? Well, as the title stated, it consisted of "Just Men!" Too bad
it was in the "death slot" of noon...oh, and the fact that it was a
panel show that WASN'T "To Tell The Truth" or "Hollywood Squares"...
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
Two contestants - usually a champion and challenger but both females -
play. The object is for one lady to earn more keys than her opponent.
Before the game starts, the hostess shows a key that starts a car on the
set. She puts them in with six other "dud" keys and has them shaken up.
She then hands one key to each of the seven male panelists.
Before the show, the panel was asked yes/no questions to be used on the
show. In the first round, at least two men answered a question "yes".
The champion gets 60 seconds to ask the men questions that would lead
her to finding who answered "yes". After 60 seconds, the champion
chooses one of the men and he show what he answered. If it's "yes", the
champ gets the man's key and the man is removed from play for the rest
of the show. Then the challenger goes through the same. If, after that,
two keys have NOT been won, it goes back and forth with the contestants
asking ONE question to ONE man before choosing one of them. The round
ends when two keys have been won.
The second round is similar, save that the contestants are looking for
one of the at least two men who answered "no" to a question. And, if the
contestant chooses a man who said "yes" instead, the key goes to her
The final round (the "catch-up round") had the contestants asking the
remaining three panelists one question based on the topic and then
determine if that man said "yes" or "no". If right, she won the man's
key AND one of her opponent's keys. If wrong, the man's key and one of
the ones SHE won went to her opponent.
The contestant with at least four keys once all seven were claimed is
the champion and goes on to try for the car. The other woman gets
parting gifts based on the number of keys she claimed (always at least
The champion chooses one key (out of all seven) for each day she's been
champion. If she's earned all seven keys, she gets to choose a bonus
key. She gets into the car's front seat and is handed a key by the
hostess. At the prodding of the hostess, panel and crowd, she turns the
key in the ignition. If the car starts up, she wins the car and retires
as champion. If none of the picked keys start the car, she still wins a
prize based on a prop found in the car's trunk (like a tulip plant in
the trunk means a trip to the Netherlands). If the champion wins seven
games in a row, she automatically wins the car and retires.
Betty White was a gem as hostess. She really looked like she was having
fun. And why WOULDN'T she? She gets to spend each week with seven
good-looking men! And, yes, even Hervé Villechaize (one of the men in
the video example above) was considered handsome back in the day. But
I'm also sure she was reveling in being a hostess in a "host"-dominated
world. She didn't let it go to her head, though; she owned up to her
foibles better than any male "host" would.
Of course, the set was cozy and modern (for the day), just like Rick
Rosner's other show "Caesers Challenge" would be in ten years. It seemed
to be his go-to set design. Now, he couldn't do that with the 80s
"Hollywood Squares"...but CC and this one looked perfect for the game
This was definitely a "ladies' night" kind of game show...and that was
fine. After years of seeing Carol Merrill on LMaD and "Barker's Beauties"
on TPiR, having the men do all the work in a game show was quite
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
The fact is this was a "panel" show...and panel shows are not all that
exciting. Oh, the men tried to get this show more like HS (and I can see
how Rosner would be attracted to reviving that after this show fell
through), but the laughs seemed a little forced from the audience. It
seemed almost like a weird version of "The Dating Game"...and I was no
fan of that show. And, while the fact that one could lose the first two
rounds and STILL win made the final round a little more exciting, it
wasn't really worth the half-show slog getting to it.
And, much like any panel show, some of the panelists looked like they
were just there for the appearance fees. Not all, mind, but a fair
percentage. The smiles were forced, the answers they gave were generic
and they just seemed ready for the five-show taping day to end so they
can go back to their regular parts.
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
Probably...but only on one of those networks "just for women" like
WE...or even Lifetime. Or...hear me out...what about on OWN? Can you
IMAGINE this show hosted by Oprah?! But...then again, she'd just point
to the two women and shout, "YOU get a car and YOU get a car!" All
kidding aside, it just might work on one of those channels.
NEXT TIME: How Peter met Rod...
Chris Wolvie is just a man...so put all the blame on him. Follow him on
Twitter @ChrisWolvie and e-mail him at