...he'd adore this update. As someone who's been a massive game-show fan and student for more than 40 years (as well as three-time contestant), I stand by that statement. Cullen had a mischievous sense of humor, as evidenced by various asides on his own shows, as well as his appearances on the various Merv-Mike-Dinah-era talk shows.
If he could have gotten away with it, he would have rivaled the current cast for wit, innuendo, and double-entendre.
Kitty Carlisle may be spinning in her grave (hmmm... so it was a rotisserie spit she had up her butt all those years... that explains a lot...), but Arlene Francis is definitely smiling down from Heaven.
As to the current cast: "Loudmouthed" and "feminine"? Um, Damien? They're all gay. Does that answer your question? A gimmick, I'll grant you, but the four do play off each other very well.
Did you miss the flashing-neon clue? For the first few weeks, the host, Bil Dwyer, was introduced as "playing straight man to the panel." Then, once they figured America had 'got it,' they got more creative with Dwyer's intros.
Speaking of Bil, he's doing a creditable job of filling Garry Moore's shoes with his own quick barbs. (He did stand-up, too.)
Panelist Billy Bean was a pro baseball player (Tigers, Dodgers, Padres) who came out publicly to massive hubbub in '99.
Suzanne Westenhoefer was the first openly gay comic to make big headlines by playing to straight audiences and had her own HBO special back when that meant something.
Frank DeCaro (God love him) wrote many hysterically funny pieces for TV Guide, and did movie reviews on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show." (Aside to Frank: I'd beat my mother for a collection of those pieces on DVD.) My only gripe with Frank? GSN.com's bio says he secretly hopes to one day play Batgirl in the movies, which explains his Jack-Nicholson-as-Joker wardrobe. Rod Roddy is dead, Frank. Let the man rest in peace.
Jermaine Taylor? You got me, Damien. Even IMDb has no idea who this guy is, but, to his credit, he's damn good at the game. GSN says he was an east-coast stand-up, so I'm guessing this is his first TV gig.
This show is always good for several laughs, especially to the quick-witted. The original show paid $80 to those who stumped the panel. Now, a winner can expect "dinner for two in Beverly Hills and $1,000." If you haven't seen the new "I've Got a Secret," I recommend checking it out, even if you live in a red state.
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