The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game was an American television game show where newly-married couples answered questions to find out how well the husband and wife knew each other. Produced by Chuck Barris, the show became famous for some of the arguments that couples had over incorrect answers and even led to some divorces.
Bob Eubanks is the host that is most often associated with The Newlywed Game. Eubanks hosted all versions except the 1984 ABC version, which Jim Lange hosted; the last season of the 1980s version, which Paul Rodriguez hosted; and the first season of the 1990s version, which Gary Kroeger hosted. The 1997 revival featured a different format than the best known format of the show; after one season of disappointing ratings, Eubanks was brought back to the show as host and co-executive producer and the classic format was revived.
Johnny Jacobs was the voice of The Newlywed Game during its entire 1966-74 and 1977-80 runs, however, Tony McClay subbed for Jacobs on occasion. (A recent discovery of a long lost black and white kinescope episode of The Newlywed Game from July 26, 1966 reveals that before Johnny Jacobs, the announcer who served briefly on this show was Scott Beach, who was Barris' original choice for host of the show, prior to Eubanks' audition.) Jacobs died in 1982, and when the 1980s version surfaced and renamed The All-New Newlywed Game, Bob Hilton announced from 1985 to 1987, then Charlie O'Donnell took over from 1987 until its cancellation in 1989. John Cramer announced in the '90s.
For the first round, the wives were taken off the stage while the husbands were asked four questions. (Many of The Newlywed Game's questions dealt with "making whoopee", the euphemism that producers used for sexual intercourse in order to get around network censors.) The wives were then brought back on stage and were asked for their answers for the same four questions. Once the wife gave her answer, the husband revealed the answer that he previously gave, which was written on a blue card. A match for that question was worth 5 points for the couple.
The fun was, of course, when the couples didn't match. Often, couples got into huge arguments over their answer, and the audience loved it. Eubanks of course played right along, often using one spouse's words against the other or "taking sides."
The roles were reversed in the second round, where the husbands were taken off the stage and the wives were asked four questions before the husbands were brought back on stage to give their answers. The first three questions in this round were worth 10 points each, and the final question was worth 25 points.
The couple with the highest score at the end of the second round won a prize that was "chosen just for you" (actually, the contestants had requested a certain prize and competed with other couples that had requested the same prize). In the event of a tie, each couple predicted the total points they would earn on the show. The couple that has the closest guess without going over their actual total, won. If all the tied couples went over, the couple who had the closest guess would win. It is possible to achieve a perfect score of 70 points, and it has happened a few times.
The grand prize was never a car, but it could include just about anything else: appliances, furniture, home entertainment systems, a trailer or motorcycles, trips (complete with luggage and camera), etc. In the 1997 remake, the grand prize was always a trip (dubbed "a second honeymoon").
For the first half of the 1988-89 season, the scoring system was changed: correct answers paid off in cash ($25 in round one, $50 in round two), and during the final question, the couples could wager any part of their earnings up to that point. This scoring format was dropped, and the old one reinstated, when Paul Rodriguez took over as host in December of 1988. In addition, only three couple competed
When Gary Kroger of Saturday Night Live fame took over in the fall of 1996, the show was overhauled with a new format. This time three couples competed in a series of rounds.
Each spouse was shown a videotape of their mates whom gave a statement mostly about their spouse. The tape was paused near the end which gave the spouse in control a chance predict how his/her mate completed the statement. Then the tape played again, and a correct answer earned 10 points. First the husbands tapes were shown & the wives took a guess, then it went the opposite direction.
Host Kroger, asked the couples a multiple-choice question in which one half of the couples answered in advanced, and it's up to the other halves to guess what they chose. Again each match earns 10 points. First the wives predicted what their husbands said, then the process was reversed.
In this round before the show, the wives gave some very weird facts about themselves. Host Kroger gave the facts to the husbands whom were equipped with heart-shaped signs that say "That's My Wife!". If the husband recognized that fact, all he had to do was to raise the sign and yell out, "THAT'S MY WIFE!". If correct, he wins 10 points for his team, but if wrong he loses 10 points for the team. Only the first husband to raise the sign can win or lose.
In this final round of the game, host Kroger read a series of choices (ex: Candy or Potato Chips, Rocket Scientist or Space Cadet, Ketchup or Mustard etc.), the wives held cards with one of the choices on it. Then the husbands chose one of the two things that most applies to them. Each match earns points, they were seven questions and each question was worth 10 points more than the previous question with the last question worth even more.
* Question 1 - 10 points
* Question 2 - 20 points
* Question 3 - 30 points
* Question 4 - 40 points
* Question 5 - 50 points
* Question 6 - 60 points
* Question 7 - 100 points
The couple with the most points wins the game and wins a second honeymoon trip.
This format was mostly disliked by fans of the original show, so the next year they switched it back to its original format, with original host Bob Eubanks back at the helm.
The Newlywed Game was the subject of an urban legend for many years. The story, which had several variations, had Bob Eubanks asking a contestant, "Where is the weirdest place where you have ever made whoopee?" in one episode. The contestant supposedly responded, "In the butt, Bob." Eubanks denied the incident for a long time.
It turned out that the incident in question happened in a 1977 episode where Eubanks asked a wife (Olga) where the weirdest place that she and her husband Hank had the urge to "make whoopee" was. After drawing a blank, and prodded by Eubanks to give an answer, the wife responded, "In the ass" (with "ass" bleeped out). As everyone in the studio laughed uproariously, Eubanks clarified the question, asking for the weirdest location.
Eubanks reluctantly presented the clip on a 2002 NBC special, The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments, which he co-hosted. The clip also appeared (uncensored) in 1980's Gong Show Movie and the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, about the life of producer Barris.
Hank's original, more pedestrian answer that Olga couldn't match was... "in the car", one that had drawn laughter and applause during the husbands-only segment. (Eubanks: "I'm going to take the side streets hereafter." )
During the same season, Eubanks asked another set of couples what their least favorite place to make love was. One wife quickly said, "Probably I would say the ass" (with that word bleeped out.) causing her husband to groan and sink in his seat. That episode was seen on the "Nutty Newlyweds" retrospective on Game Show Network in 2002.
The theme music originally started off as a vocal song called "Summertime Guy". The song was written by Chuck Barris for singer Eddie Rambeau, who performed and released the song on a Swan label 45 rpm SP record. Minutes before the song was to be presented on American Bandstand, in 1962, ABC informed Rambeau that he couldn't sing the song (because Chuck Barris was an ABC employee at the time), and a new song was needed.
Not wanting the song to go to waste, Barris commissioned Milton Delugg, a few years later, to arrange an instrumental version of "Summertime Guy" and used it as the first theme to The Newlywed Game. The theme music was performed by the Trumpets Olé, and was released as the last track on the LP album "The Trumpets Olé Play Instrumentals".
A second theme song to The Newlywed Game was introduced around 1973 and performed by Frank Jaffe and Michael Stewart. This new theme had more swing than the previous version. It's featured as the third track on the LP album "Chuck Barris Presents Theme From TV Game Shows".
When Paul Rodriguez hosted the show in the late '80s, the theme song would be changed to the 1950's classic, "Book of Love", by the Monotones.
Based on the success of The Newlywed Game, several other game shows – including some produced by Chuck Barris – tried their hand at asking questions of married couples (or related family members) for laughs. Some were successful, others were not, and a couple were in poor taste.
A partial list of shows includes:
* Mr and Mrs (1963) actually pre-dates The Newlywed Game. The show originated in Canada in 1963, where it ran for 780 episodes. The show aired in Britain throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. Mr. & Mrs. was hosted by Alan Taylor and Derek Batey in Britain and by its creator, Roy Ward Dickson, in Canada. A Welsh version called Sion a Sian was also produced.
* The Family Game (1967), where host Bob Barker (later to star of The Price Is Right) asks children questions about their family's lives, and the parents had to guess how they answered. Produced by Chuck Barris.
* He Said, She Said (1969-1970) and Tattletales (1974-1978 and 1982-1984), two Mark Goodson-Bill Todman productions asking celebrity couples questions about their marriage. On He Said, She Said, the couples tried to win a prize for a designated audience member; on Tattletales (essentially a remake of the previous show), the couples won money for a designated "rooting section."
* 3's a Crowd (1979) and All New 3's a Crowd (1999-2001), critically panned Newlywed Game variant where a central subject is interviewed and two contestants with ties to the main contestant separately guessed how he/she responded. In the earlier version (produced by Chuck Barris and hosted by Jim Peck), the contestants were always a man, his wife and his secretary. The latter version was produced for Game Show Network with Alan Thicke hosting and could have either a man or woman as the central subject (with usually the contestant's current significant other and someone else, such as an ex-boy/girlfriend or best friend, the other two players).
* Perfect Match (1967-1968,1986), short-lived Newlywed Game rehash where married couples asked Tattletales-style questions for cash prizes. The 1967-68 version was hosted by sportscaster Dick Enberg, while the 1986 series was hosted by future Entertainment Tonight and one-time Wheel of Fortune host Bob Goen.
* I'm Telling (1987-1988), NBC Saturday morning game show where siblings (usually brother and sister) ratted each other out through a series of Newlywed Game-style questions. The winning team plays a bonus round for 20 prizes. Laurie Faso hosted, and Dean Goss was the announcer.
* Kidstreet (1989-1992), The four year old Canadian kid's game show in which siblings answered Newlywed Game-esque questions to score more points & win a chance to solve a puzzle for a grand prize package.
* Bedroom Buddies (1992), A short-lived syndicated program (hosted by Bobby Rivers) which differed from The Newlywed Game chiefly in that the couples merely lived together without being married.
* Family Secrets (1993), NBC daytime show pitting two sets of parents and their children against each other. Bob Eubanks hosted, adding to its similarity to The Newlywed Game.
* Burt Luddin's Love Buffet (1999), Short-lived Las Vegas-based Game Show Network game that married situation comedy elements to it. In the game part, couples answered questions about their relationship; the situation comedy part (revolving around the lives of the show's host and "production" staff) was played out between rounds. Critics panned Love Buffet in large part because of the risque content and the concept itself. John Cervenka (who was the announcer for Love Connection) played Burt Luddin and Charlie O'Donnell was the announcer. Tiffany Richardson played Crystal, Luddin's co-host. Some believe the name "Burt Luddin" is a varied name of two now-deceased hosts: Bert Convy (Burt) and Allen Ludden (Luddin).
* Who Knows You Best? (2000), a Lifetime Television game show hosted by Gina St. John where three teams of female best friends answered Newlywed Game type questions to win prizes plus a chance to win a trip in the bonus round.
* Teammates (2005), an ESPN game hosted by Stuart Scott where two teammates from a professional or amateur sports team are asked questions about each other in a Newlywed Game-style format, with an added "Two on Who?" speed round for each team.
The Newlywed Game, originally created by Nick Nicholson and Roger Muir (who were often mentioned in the show's credits), aired on ABC's daytime schedule from July 11, 1966 to December 20, 1974 for 2,195 episodes; it spent its entire run at 2 p.m./1 Central. Newlywed got its initial lift in the Nielsens from a stroke of pure luck: on its premiere day, when CBS preempted Password for a Pentagon press conference on the Vietnam War, disappointed fans discovered the new game by turning the channel. A year later, CBS would cancel Password due to Newlywed's inroads. It faced NBC's Days of Our Lives from beginning to end, and managed to run neck-to-neck with the popular soap, until CBS moved The Guiding Light to that timeslot in 1972. Much like its sister The Dating Game a year earlier, ABC determined the show was worn out by 1974, cancelling it in favor of the short-lived Money Maze.
Newlywed also appeared in an ABC prime time network version, seen mostly early Saturday evenings, from January 1967 to August 1971. In 1977, fresh off the heels of his success with The Gong Show, packager Chuck Barris revived it for syndication (using the original ABC set), where it ran until 1980. Its cancellation at that time probably resulted from a public backlash against another Barris show, the controversial Three's a Crowd, which likely influenced station managers to pull all of Barris' programming, acting from fear of advertiser boycotts.
After one week of specials aired on ABC daytime in February 1984, helmed by former Dating Game host Jim Lange, the show returned to syndication in 1985 as The New Newlywed Game, with Eubanks returning as host; that version lasted until 1989. A third syndicated revival ran from 1996 to 2000.
Despite the show's (and Eubanks') reputation for pushing the envelope, the ABC daytime series finale aired on Friday, December 20, 1974. It was a good 5 days before Christmas, and, as such, it was Reunion Day; host Bob Eubanks was greeted by his contestants with a standing ovation as he walked onto the center of the stage to make his customary opening remarks. Newlywed couple Tim and Sandy Jones were the final grand prize winners, and their prize was a $1,000 check donated to their favorite charity, The Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation. The closing moments on the final show saw the emcee deliver this farewell:
“ And now, on our last show of the current series of The Newlywed Game, on behalf of the staff at Chuck Barris Productions, I'd like to thank all of our viewers for your loyal support. And, in addition, I want to send along a special appreciation to the almost 10,000 young newlywed couples who joined us on this stage, and whose great spirits and good humor...(voice trembling) made the past eight-and-a-half years a real pleasure. (choked pause) I can't say it. Thank you very much. ”
After a brief flash of the sponsor credits, the camera cut to the stage, where Bob Eubanks and the Chuck Barris Productions staff (later joined by the four couples) were trimming a Christmas tree to the tune of Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride.
* Originally, in the first year of the first ABC version, the husbands went off-stage first while the wives had to predict what their husbands would say. Each correct match was worth 5 points. Then the wives would go off-stage as the husbands would be asked 10-point questions with a bonus question worth 35 points, thus making it possible to achieve a perfect 80-point score.
* The Newlywed Game is one of the first TV shows to have offensive language bleeped out.
* The word "whoopee" (or "whoopie"), as mentioned above, was reportedly the "least offensive" word ABC would let Bob Eubanks use to describe the act of sex when the show began. However, it became such a catchphrase of the show that Eubanks continued to use the word throught the show's many runs, even in the 1980s and 1990s episodes, when he could easily have said "make love" or "have sex" without censorship.
* Two ice hockey franchises in Macon, Georgia, both named the "Macon Whoopee," attribute their names to the sexual slang phrase popularized by The Newlywed Game.