Allen Ludden was the original and one true host of Password, a game show where lots of synonyms and metonyms were thrown around, from 1961 to 1980. People knew what synonyms were, back then. Password was what was called a “smart” game show, as Jeopardy is now, meaning that to win, an I.Q. was essential. In the earliest, most successful Password years, the TV audience could play along, by not looking and not listening to the "password" as it flashed on the screen and was quietly spoken. Behind the scenes at Password, rarely appearing on camera, hovered the godlike Dr. Reason A. Goodwin, probably the smartest man in the world, who ruled on matters in doubt. But in front of the camera was my man, show host Allen Ludden, nicknamed "the happy highbrow," who had the right attitude about his stardom: He once said, "I'm only the host, the servant to the game." Among the roster of game show hosts there were some very fine ones, but there has never been a game-show host who fit the part better, and the show -- even when slicked up, and the set glittering and looking the the floor of a disco, and featuring all-celebrity contestants -- could not survive Ludden's passing.
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