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"Droodles" was a fad-type show on early TV that made a big splash
creating ripples that quickly dissipated. I was eleven when it aired on
our l7-inch tube in 1954 and for a few months it was the talk of the
neighborhood. I even sent in some droodles that were never used. At the
end of the show a no-name droodle was spotlighted. Viewers were asked
to put a caption to it. If chosen, the sender received $l00. I
participated in this part of the program too but mine were never
Droodles were lines on a piece of paper (on TV, a cue card or idiot card as it was called in those bygone days). The droodle might look like this :||: The caption could read, "A bear climbing up the other side of a tree." One of the most famous droodles used on the program was entitled, "Boat Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch."
The show was hosted by Roger Price, a comedy writer, who resembled the ubiquitous game show host of the day, Bill Cullen, then in charge of the popular "Name That Tune." Price with his partner, Leonard Stern, had turned droodles into an extremely lucrative business enterprise. Author of the best sellers, "Droodles" and "Classic Droodles," Price was much in demand by TV executives, who themselves saw droodles that looked like this $$.
There were three regular panelists, playwright Marc Connelly (author of "Green Pastures"), actress Denise Lor ("The Garry Moore Show"), and funny man Carl Reiner ("Your Show of Shows"), attempting to guess the captions for droodles submitted by home viewers or by Roger Price himself. If the droodle presented by a viewer stumped the panelists then the drawer received a prize. There would be a guest panelist each week signing in by drawing his/her own droodle. The three regulars tried to guess the caption before the guest was seated on the panel. I recall vividly Carl Reiner and Denise Lor. Marc Connelly is rather hazy for me now.
WE CAN WELL remember the short, but spirited life of this as a game
show. Being about eight years old at the time, there are many details
that have been forgotten; that is if they ever really sunk in to our
little collection collection of gray matter.
IT WAS A GIMMICK panel show, not unlike Groucho Marx's YOU BET YOUR LIFE*, in the sense that the game gave us an excuse to participate in the Droodles phenomenon. "Droodles" was the title given to the rather abstract use of a few lines juxtaposed against another set of equally puzzling set of line abstractions. Droodles creator, Roger Price, who had several books and some sort of home game published, served as the M.C.
A FULL SIZED ILLUSTRATION of one of those nonsensical non-sequentials would be displayed and the panel would take turns guessing just what it represented. A guest challenger would show up to present one of those bizarre drawings; which were said to be one of their own creations.
WE ARE UNABLE to recall just what was the prize for stumping the panel.
ALTHOUGH MR. PRICE and his "Droodles" fad seem to be fondly remembered today, particularly by 'Boomers', such as this writer, one can readily see why it didn't last very long as a TV game show.
NOTE: * Both Groucho's YOU BET YOUR LIFE and Ernie Kovacs' TAKE A GOOD LOOK both were thinly constituted game shows that existed for the sake of having their respective hosts ply their trade and make us laugh. Unfortunately, the DROODLES Show's Mr. Price lacked any sort of comparable persona; at least off of the printed (or drawn) page.
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