The Name of the Game

Season 1 Episode 1

Fear Of High Places

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Sep 20, 1968 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Fear Of High Places

A high level business tycoon is about to take over a position of power with the government when a gorgeous fashion model is murdered and it appears he's involved.

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  • For openers...

    It takes an age for this first episode to get started, with a dizzying montage with quick cutting to go with the lush, easy-listening music, whilst we take in the glossy sets, starry cast and assorted locations; but then, with the credits finally ending and mystery lady Jill Donahue arriving at a press conference, things start moving quite rapidly. The plot is a standard one from the scriptwriter's manual, but it doesn't develop in quite the way we expect, even though nothing very surprising actually happens. None of the big-name guests has very much to do, and we have to wait until very near the end for Jeanne Crain to justify her prominent billing (though she does her one big scene very well). Veteran Hollywood heavy Timothy Carey, whose appearances are brief and shadowy, manages nonetheless to take all his scenes from his co-stars. As the hero, Tony Franciosa is distinctly irritating. Zsa Zsa Gabor actually gets to do a bit of acting for a nice change, although her appearance, despite the "special guest star"; billing, is extremely limited.moreless
  • The episode that started the rotating TV series and great guest stars galore

    This episode that started the series was based on a pilot film titled "Fame Is The Name Of The Game"in the premiere episode a powerful millionaire tycoon is involved in a murder investigation of a fashion model. Anthony Franciosa, Gene Barry and Susan Saint James star in this premiere episode. This episode also has great guest stars including Zsa Zsa Gabor, John Payne, Robert Webber, Claudine Longet(Mrs. Andy Williams) and Jeanne Crain.

    This series would later serve as The Sunday Night Mystery Movie which is produced by Universal Studios. An excellent episode from start to finish and is well worth watching.moreless
Robert Webber

Robert Webber

William McKendricks

Guest Star

Jeanne Crain

Jeanne Crain

Ellen McKendricks

Guest Star

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Mira Retzyk

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The fashion photographer seen briefly in this episode is played by a real photographer, Frank Bez, in what appears to be his only TV acting role.

    • "The Name Of The Game" was, in its day, by far the most expensive TV series ever produced, with an average episode budget of about $400,000.

    • Although the original 1966 TV movie, "Fame Is The Name Of The Game", had been conceived as a star vehicle for Tony Franciosa and he stars in this first regular series episode, he was to be the leading actor in only six of the first season's twenty-six episodes. His disagreements with the producers of the show and his much-reported "difficult behavior" led eventually to his being fired from the show, although he retained star billing.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Jeff Dillon: [suspecting that Pat Harris means to ruin a man]: Pat, you ever done this before?
      Pat Harris: I've done everything before.

    • Howard: Come on, I don't get around that much.
      Dillon: Oh, sure, Glenn. Everybody knows what a steady character you are. Faithful for the last 20 years to the same dozen women.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The Tony Franciosa character is chief investigative reporter for a magazine called "People". Of course, there actually is an American magazine called "People" in real life, but there is no connection between it and this fictitious publication. The real "People" was published by Time-Life Inc. from 1974 onwards; it began three years after this series finished.

    • 2nd pilot for the TV series, re-introduces Tony Franciosa as investigative reporter Jeff Dillon, and Susan St. James as research assistant Peggy, and introduces for the first time Gene Barry as publisher Glen Howard. This pilot runs a bit longer than subsequent episodes clocking in at 77 minutes. This episode introduces the jazzy, pulsating theme song.