A high-stakes update of the classic game show, hosted by Allen Ludden. Celebrity guests, paired off with the contestants, would be given a secret password. By giving clues and hints, they would try to help the contestant guess the password, with the first one to do so winning cash and prizes. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
It goes without saying that Allen Ludden WAS "Password". As the original host for 14 years and as the initial host of this update, it was generally considered to be his show and even the replacement hosts knew that. A show like this ("$100,000 Pyramid" was another) relies on good guest stars who really care about what they're doing in order for it to fly. This may not always have been the case here, but it certainly was when Betty White was on. A truly remarkable game player, she gave 110% every time and beat up on herself if she ever erred (which wasn't very often!) She is a joy to watch as she gracefully and assuredly assists her contestant to the winning answers. Aside from this, she's also an intelligent and witty lady, always ready with a wisecrack. Allen and Betty met on the original "Password" and had a tremendous relationship on screen and off. (They also worked together on "Liar's Club".) Despite White's festive and cheerful attitude, there's a poignancy in watching her appear on the show and referring to him on air, knowing that he was at home dying of cancer. Kennedy was a very genial and pleasant host (with his own hit "Name That Tune" to his credit), but it just wasn't the same after Ludden's death. One episode out there has Kennedy, literally, melting down with laughter (for an extended time!) after some gaffe with Dick Martin and one of his clues. This intensifies throughout the episode as he tries to rein it in, but can't. It isn't helped by the fact that the next round of passwords included vaguely suggestive terms like "french", "queen" and "head" while Betty White desperately tries to assist what has to be one of the all time dumbest players ever to appear on TV. Nearly 20 minutes of the episode are taken up with this hilarious series of wheezes, snorts, tears and giggles as the players and host attempt to contain themselves and get the show taped! At times like this, the show was fun, at least, if not quite the same as the original. On the flip side, the times were such that some really un-p.c. things could pop up. Take the time that Greg Morris (black co-star of "Mission: Impossible") was given the clues to the puzzle "Watermelon" and he and Allen joked back and forth about it only to have the next password be "Mammy" (part of the puzzle "Li'l Abner", but who knew?!?!) Or a day or two later when Joyce Bulifant was getting the second try at the password "Dick." The first contestant said "Richard" with Greg guessing "name" and Joyce's contestant followed up with "short" before Joyce blurted "DICK!", breaking everyone up and hysterically prompting her to mention Dr. Kinsey. These days are gone.
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