Throughout 2005 GSN did some things that irritated a few of us, such as pre-empt WML?, skipping over episodes for silly tributes like the American Dream Derby and Star Wars. But they did some positive things for us fans of classic b/w game shows. Here is my list of the top 10 highlights of GSN Black and White:
10. The Halloween Tribute. Although we lost 4 episodes of WML? in regular rotation at least there was a good mix of shows from WML? to Password and we even got a Sept. 1966 episode of To Tell The Truth.
9. Paul Winchell Tribute. This wasn't a bad tribute with 4 episodes of WML? but they aired these 4 episodes too soon after their regular airing in rotation, and we lost 2 WML?s because of it.
8. Louis Nye Tribute. The 1972 Beat The Clock was fair at best, but it was the November 23, 1964 episode of I've Got A Secret that made this tribute one of the better ones.
7. Frank Gorshin Tribute. We got a 1966 color Password and a January 24, 1966 IGOS out of this one.
6. "Choose Up Sides". We got 6 episodes over 6 nights of this early Gene Rayburn game show directed toward children.
5. "What's Going On" We got 4 episodes over 4 nights of this very short lived game show from November-December 1954. One of the highlights in it's five week run was Audrey Meadows throwing money in an incinerator.
4. "Make The Connection". 2 episodes on Christmas Day night, one each with Jim McKay and Gene Rayburn, and they didn't skip a WML? either.
3. Anne Bancroft Tribute. They did this one on a Sunday afternoon with three WML? episodes and one Password episode.
2. "Two For The Money". 8 episodes (7 with Herb Shriner) over 4 nights and no skipped WML? episodes. Need I say more.
1. Johnny Carson Tribute. Those who saw it know what I mean. Done on a Saturday morning-afternoon in January, six hours of WML?, TTTT, IGOS and one Password episode. This was the king of all tributes and more should be done like it.
There were other highlights too, like seeing Betty White's first appearance on WML? as part of the Betty White Christmas segment, plus a 1966 color Password as part of a tribute for Bob Denver, a 1963 TTTT episode and color WML? episode in a tribute for Ossie Davis, three color WML?s in tribute to Jerry Orbach, and the early Geritol sponsored episodes of TTTT from 1956-57 (before they started the cigarette ban).
Obviously everyone wouldn't agree with this list, but it does show we did get some good things from GSN in 2005 and we can only hope in 2006 we can make another list like this, maybe even better. Happy New Year.