Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Riddlers with host David Letterman (1977)

As previously mentioned, after moving to Los Angeles and working on his stand-up act every night of the week, David Letterman's next big goal was to break into television. Most stand-up comedians will jump at the chance to do absolutely anything on television when they're first starting out and Letterman was no different. In 1977, while game shows like Let's Make a Deal, The Match Game, and Hollywood Squares were still drawing ratings as high as anything else in the television world - new game shows were constantly being churned out.

As we will see in this pilot episode for The Riddlers, the panel features many stock game show faces. Joanne Worley and Joyce Bulifant were appearing on things like this all the time. History has proven that Robert Urich has done nothing but appear on panels or occasionally host shows with names like "World's Greatest Magic Tricks" during sweeps. Michael McKean probably had the most street cred at the time due to his work on Laverne and Shirley. The opening music we hear is the same tune once heard on the National Lampoon comedy LP That's Not Funny! That's Sick! in which Bill Murray played a clueless game show contestant. This pilot was never turned into a series.

"...will be competing against these five dance instructors..." Bet you didn't see that coming!


ajm said...

I understand that when Letterman was still in Indianapolis in the 1970s, Allen Ludden appeared on his radio show, and once Letterman moved to LA he became a guest on PASSWORD. Letterman, on his 1980 NBC morning show, once played selections from Ludden's mid-1960s record album. (You'll note that THE RIDDLERS was produced by Bob Stewart, the producer of PASSWORD.)

Sad to realize that two of the five celebrities on THE RIDDLERS -- Urich and Debralee Scott -- are no longer with us.

Anonymous said...

The show was inherently unfair, though... The first group to get 9 answers right won, though this was an outcome which could have been directly affected by the first team chosen to begin answering! Doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to the Dance Isntructors...

Anonymous said...

This is David Letterman in his first and only television game show
pre-Late Night with David Letterman.