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I was watching this show on Channel 9 in New York City that summer - but it was no longer Pantomime Quiz, but called STUMP THE STARS. The ones I recall seeing very frequently on the show were Ross Martin, Ruta Lee, Beverley Garland, Mickey Manners, but also Sebastian Cabot and Hans Conreid. It was curious to see a show like this where the cast and guests were playing charades, but also interesting because they were themselves when not doing the pantomimes that had to be guessed and solved. All of them were quite witty, and it was nice to see them acting as themselves instead of their normal roles on television or in films. I wonder if any of the kine-scopes of this live series still exist.
This is a show worth reviving. With Mike Stokey both producing and
emceeing this show had two competing teams of four celebrities simply
playing a game of parlor charades. You had two minutes to guess what
name or phrase or whatever the pantomimer was trying to put across.
Seeing some very dignified people like Sebastian Cabot playing was
funny enough. My favorite was Howard Morris who used to literally jump
in as his turn was announced with Mike Stokey saying, "Howie Morris
come in from wherever you are."
One moment I do remember from Pantomime Quiz was Beverly Garland trying to come up with Have Gun Will Travel. She kept saying over and over, 'Paddling, Paddling' instead of Paladin. She used up her allotted two minutes and never did come up with the name of Richard Boone's television series.
Another show that could be revived today, just like Hollywood Squares was for awhile. Seeing Tom Cruise's antics on interview shows, I think he'd be a natural as a panelist.
This was a star for me in "the Golden Age of Game Shows." Other games
were fun, but this one was FUNNY. Two panels of four celebrities (well
known to TV audiences) took turns with one person trying to make
his/her team find a specific word or phrase that was visible to the
audience but not the rest of the panel. NONE of the answers were
ordinary; they were designed to be difficult and awkward. Half the
time, the look on the face of the celebrity as he/she read the words to
be pantomimed was priceless.
My favorite moment came when Beverly Garland had to act out "The Hunting of the Snark" -- once they got "Twas brillig," Hans Conreid recited the whole thing. I had never heard of it before, but you can bet I looked it up and enjoyed it as a memory as well as a fine work.
I enjoyed a lot of other game shows of the time, but I don't think celebrity participants had so much fun themselves anywhere else -- and it was so easy to laugh with them. I rarely left that half-hour without aching sides. It's a wonder to me that the concept has not been revived -- perhaps today's celebrities have too much dignity, or the cost of hiring two panels is prohibitive. Celebrities and audiences both are losing out.
I just viewed an episode of Stump the Stars (all star challenge) where
the Dick Van Dyke Show members played against four of the STS regulars.
It was included as a bonus track** with the 5-disc DVD set - THE DICK
VAN DYKE SHOW - SEASON 2. Regarding the comment made above...
apparently - since I just watched an episode, AND since at the ending
credits was written "THIS PROGRAM WAS PREVIOUSLY RECORDED," I'd say
that there is a good chance that more episodes are archived...
somewhere. It was quite enjoyable... much more interesting than the
"quiz" shows of today!!
** Nowhere on the packaging (or disc label) does it state that this bonus track exists!! - - It's a secret... shuuuuu - - disc 5 !!
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