Password (TV series)

show_name = Password

caption = Password title logo, 1967
format = Game Show
runtime = 30 Minutes
creator = Bob Stewart,
Mark Goodson-Bill Todman
starring = Allen Ludden
country = USA
network = CBS (1961-1967),
ABC (1971-1975)
num_episodes = 1961-1967 (CBS Daytime version): 15551962-1967 (CBS Nighttime version): 201

1971-1975 (ABC Daytime version): 1099
first_aired =October 2, 1961
last_aired =June 27, 1975|
:"For other uses, see Password and Password (disambiguation).""Password" is an American television game show. The show was hosted by Allen Ludden and was created by Bob Stewart for Goodson-Todman Productions.

"Password" originally aired for 1,555 telecasts from October 2, 1961 to September 15, 1967 on CBS daytime, along with two primetime runs from January 2, 1962 to September 9, 1965 and December 25, 1966 to May 22, 1967. An additional 1,099 daytime shows aired from April 5, 1971 to June 27, 1975 on ABC. The show's announcers were Jack Clark and Lee Vines on CBS, and John Harlan on ABC.

Two revivals later aired on NBC in the 1970s and 80s. A revival with a $1 million top prize and Regis Philbin as host began development for CBS in late 2007, and premiered on Sunday June 1, 2008 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm CT/MT. [ Breaking News - CBS UNVEILS ITS 2008 SUMMER SCHEDULE | ] ]


Two teams, each consisting of one celebrity player and one regular contestant, competed. The word to be conveyed (the "password") was given to one player on each team and was shown to the studio audience and home viewers. Game play alternated between the two teams. On each team, the player who was given the password gave a one-word clue from which his/her partner attempted to guess the password. If the partner failed to guess the password within the allotted five-second time limit, or if an illegal clue was given (two or more words, a hyphenated word, or any part or form of the password), play passed to the opposing team.

The game continued until one of the players guessed the password correctly or until ten clues had been given. Scoring was based on the number of clues given when the password was guessed, e.g. 10 points were awarded for guessing the password on the first clue, nine points on the second clue, eight points on the third clue, etc., down to one point on the tenth and final clue. If the clue-giver said the password, the points were awarded to the opposing team. On the ABC version a limit of six clues was imposed to expedite game play, with the last clue worth five points. In addition, teams were given the option of either playing or passing control of the first clue to the opposing team. Specifically, the team that was trailing in score, or who had lost the previous game was offered the pass/play option; when the score was tied, the team that failed to get the password was awarded the pass/play option.

The first team to reach 25 points won the game and a chance to win up to $250 by playing the "Lightning Round", in which the civilian contestant on the prevailing team tried to guess five passwords within 60 seconds from clues given by his/her celebrity partner. $50 was awarded for each correctly-guessed password (increased to $100 from 1973 to 1974).

The Lightning Round was among the first bonus rounds on a television game (along with the phrase game on the original "Beat the Clock"). On the ABC version from 1971 to 1974, immediately after completing the Lightning Round, the player wagered any amount of his/her winnings on his/her celebrity partner's ability to guess a "Betting Word" within 15 seconds.

On each episode from 1961-1975, Ludden would caution the players about unacceptable clues by stating, "If you hear this sound (a buzzer would sound) it means your clue has not been accepted by the Director of Authority, (name of word authority)." Word authorities on the CBS version included New York University professor David H. Greene and World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary editor Dr. Reason A. Goodwin. Robert Stockwell and Carolyn Duncan served as word authorities during the ABC version.

The practice of the announcer whispering the password to the home audience – as well as displaying it on screen – was devised by creator Bob Stewart for the benefit of his mother, who could speak but not read English. Clark, Vines, and Harlan did this on the first two versions of the show, but the practice was discontinued during the final months of the ABC run. However, probably to bring a nostalgic tone to the proceedings, Gene Wood (himself a one-time announcer on the original show's run) began whispering the words on "Super Password" starting in late 1986.

During the last few weeks before its cancellation in 1969, the set of the Goodson-Todman game "Snap Judgment" on NBC changed to resemble the look of the CBS "Password". G-T did this to correspond to rule changes that, in fact, made "Snap Judgment" identical to "Password."


On the CBS daytime version, contestants played two matches, win or lose, with each game awarding $100 to the winner. During the first few months of the CBS nighttime version, the same two players stayed for the entire show, playing as many matches as time allowed. However, after one contestant won $1,200 on an August 1962 episode (which made CBS nervous in those early post-quiz show scandal days), this practice was soon changed to having two new contestants play each game (generally, three pairs of contestants competed in the course of each show), with winning contestants receiving $250 and losers receiving $50. For only two shows in 1965, the nighttime version experimented with a "championship match" format, in which the winners of games 1 and 2 would return to compete against each other in the final game. Also in 1965, the show adopted an annual "Tournament of Champions" where contestants on the daytime version who won both their games were invited back to compete for more money.

On the ABC version, winning contestants could stay until either defeated or win a maximum of 10 games, thus retiring them as undefeated champions (ABC removed this limit later in the show's run). From 1973-1974, the first contestant to win a two-out-of-three match played the Lightning Round.

Every three months, the four top winners during that period would return for a quarterly contest. The winner would earn $1,000 and the right to compete in the annual Tournament of Champions. The winner of the annual contest won $5,000 and faced the previous year's champion in a best-of-seven match for $10,000.

From November 18, 1974 to February 21, 1975, "Password" became "Password All-Stars", where teams of celebrities played for charity in a tournament-style format. At the end of each week, the highest scorer would win $5,000 and advance to the Grandmasters' Championship, which would award the winner another $25,000. The first tournament's finalists were Dick Gautier, James Shigeta, Peter Bonerz and Don Galloway, with Shigeta winning the championship; the second tournament's finalists were Richard Dawson, Bill Bixby, Hal Linden and Betty White, with Dawson winning the championship (Dawson had almost made it to the first tournament finals, but Gautier beat him out during their preliminary week by just "one point").

After the celebrity format modification proved unpopular with fans, Goodson-Todman made "Password All-Stars" simply "Password" again, but the show carried over elements of "All-Stars," mainly in order to use the set that had been redesigned for the all-celebrity period. Among these were an elimination round in which four contestants (two new players and the two players from the previous game) competed with the help of the two celebrities in the first round. In the qualifying round, one of the two celebrities used a one-word clue to a password (with both celebrities alternating turns on giving clues), and the four contestants would ring in with the password. A correct response earned that contestant one point, with three points needed to qualify for the regular game. An incorrect response locks that player out of the word in play. The first two contestants to reach three points went on to play the regular Password game.

In the regular game, an addition to the rules was the "double" option, which the first clue giver could ask to increase the word value to 20 points by giving only one clue; if that word was missed, the other team could score the 20 points with a second clue. The first team to reach 50 points or more could win thousands of dollars in the "Big Money Lightning Round," using a three-step structure in which the winning team attempted to guess three passwords within 30 seconds per step. The contestant was paid as follows:
* Part one: Each password paid $25. Guessing all three passwords in 30 seconds further netted $5 for each second left on the clock. Obviously, the round ended if the received proved unable to guess at least one of the three passwords, and the contestant returned to the elimination panel to compete for the right to play the main game again.
* Part two: The money earned in part one would be multiplied by the number of passwords guessed in part two. Naming all three passwords this time added $10 for each second left. If the receiver failed to identify at least one of the passwords in part two, the round ended and the contestant still kept all part-one winnings.
* Part three: Naming all three passwords in 30 seconds multiplied the contestant's part-two winnings tenfold (meaning if a player accumulated $500 after two parts, guessing all three passwords in this part would earn $5,000).

"Password" won the first-ever Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show in 1974.

The ABC "Password" was the first of the Goodson shows to be taped regularly on the West Coast. The original CBS version made annual trips to CBS Television City during the 1960s, including once when the CBS New York studios were fitted for color TV. Otherwise, it was most often taped in New York at CBS-TV Studio 52 (later converted to the Studio 54 discotheque) and CBS-TV Studio 50 (the Ed Sullivan Theater) until the end of the daytime run in 1967. "Password" moved permanently to Hollywood, California at ABC Studio TV-10 "The Vine Street Theater" in Hollywood and the ABC Television Center on Prospect Avenue when ABC brought it back in 1971. The CBS revival in 2008 moves the show back to New York at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

As part of the farewell on the ABC version, Mark Goodson mentioned that numerous elementary schoolteachers in the U.S. used the numerous editions of the Milton Bradley-packaged home game as a tool to teach their pupils English.


"Password Plus"

NBC brought "Password" back as "Password Plus" on January 8, 1979 with Allen Ludden returning as host. It was originally announced in "Variety" magazine as "Password '79", in the manner that "Match Game" named its 1973 version with the year, but the name was changed when, during a run-through, Carol Burnett commented "this is more than Password, it's Password Plus." Fact|date=February 2007

"Super Password"

On September 24, 1984 NBC brought the format back as "Super Password" with Bert Convy hosting (Ludden had died in 1981) and Gene Wood announcing. Rich Jeffries was the announcer for the first ten weeks and filled in for Wood sporadically thereafter. Bob Hilton also filled in for one week in 1985 or 1986.

"Super Password" ran until March 24 1989 and was cancelled on the same day as another NBC game show, "Sale of the Century." In some markets in the Eastern time zone, the show was pre-empted by local news due to its Noon timeslot. NBC stations in the Central and Pacific time zones usually pre-empted Scrabble at 11:30 for local news and aired Super Password at 11:00.

"Million Dollar Password"

CBS picked up a new version of the show entitled "Million Dollar Password", hosted by Regis Philbin which premiered Sunday June 1, 2008 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm CT/MT. The series is taped in New York, and the initial order consists of six, hour-long episodes. This is the second million-dollar game show that Philbin has hosted (the first was the American prime time version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire")

Episode status

All of the CBS primetime episodes were preserved on videotape. The final year of the CBS daytime version and the second primetime version were preserved on color videotape, as the producers chose to syndicate those reruns following the program's first cancellation. Most of the earlier daytime episodes are presumed lost; at least two daytime episodes are available on home video, each one as part of a general game show compilation package.

The ABC version is considered to be almost completely gone. Clips from an ABC episode featuring Brett Somers and Jack Klugman was featured on VH1's "" in 2006. GSN aired the complete Somers/Klugman episode on the morning of September 11, 2006, in the early morning hours as part of its weekly overnight classic game show programming. That episode was rebroadcast following the death of Brett Somers, as a tribute. Klugman also appeared on the ABC version of "Password" with Tony Randall in an episode of "The Odd Couple". A second studio master, from 1972 and featuring Sheila MacRae and Martin Milner, is also known to have survived; an excerpt of that show can be seen on YouTube. Three more episodes survive on the videotape trading circuit, as recorded by home viewers: the "Password All-Stars" finale; a 1975 episode with Betty White and Vicki Lawrence; and the 1975 finale with Kate Jackson and Sam Melville. A few more episodes from the ABC version also exist at UCLA's film and television archive. It is believed that the videotapes that were used for the ABC version of "Password" were recycled and reused for the Dawson version of "Family Feud" a few years later.

Both NBC revivals exist in their entirety and continue to air on GSN.

Theme Music

The theme song used on "Password" from 1961 to 1963 is called "Holiday Jaunt" by Kurt Rehfeld. That was followed by a catchy swing theme composed by Bob Cobert which was used from 1963 until the CBS version's cancellation in 1967; the name of this is disputed. Viewers would often see emcee Ludden snapping his fingers to the swing tune as the closing credits were shown, and at one point celebrity guest Bob Crane suggested recording a vocal version.

When "Password" returned on ABC in 1971, Score Productions provided a theme with a synth arrangement (similar to the cues later heard on "The Price Is Right"). The theme used later in that version's run (beginning with "Password All-Stars" in 1974) was titled "Bicentennial Funk", and was used until the finale in 1975. That theme, as well as the themes for "Password Plus" and "Super Password", were also composed by Score Productions.


CBS, 1961-67

With Goodson-Todman established as a reliable packager of favorites for CBS like "What's My Line?," "To Tell the Truth," and "I've Got a Secret," the network confidently gave the new word-association game the 2 p.m./1 Central timeslot, replacing a courtroom-themed game, "Face the Facts." As television's first successful celebrity-civilian team game, "Password" attracted a large and loyal audience that made it the solid Nielsen favorite at that slot for nearly five years, as shows came and went with great frequency on the other networks. The concurrent prime-time versions were also successful, albeit more moderately so than in the daytime.

On July 11, 1966, though, CBS preempted "Password" in favor of live coverage of a press conference held by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on the progress of the Vietnam War. Because the other two networks did not grant their news divisions anywhere near the power that CBS did in making programming decisions, they went ahead with their regular schedules, instead of the press conference. A new show began that very day on ABC, "The Newlywed Game," and some frustrated "Password" fans began defecting immediately. NBC, meanwhile, experienced success with a recently-launched soap opera, "Days of Our Lives." Over the next year, "Newlywed" and "Days" wore down "Password," and by summer 1967, CBS daytime head Fred Silverman, not a personal fan of the genre, had seen enough and decided to cancel "Password".

This cancellation occurred after squabbles over where the show would be taped (New York City or Hollywood). Silverman wanted the show permanently moved to CBS Television City (which it was moved to for part of the 1966-67 season to make the show in color, as CBS' New York studios full colorization was dragged out). Host Allen Ludden moved to California at that time (and commuted back to New York for the last part of the 1966-67 season). Both Silverman and Goodson-Todman agreed to move the show to 4:00 pm. However, Mark Goodson bitterly opposed a permanent move of the show to Hollywood.

"Password" was replaced in favor of a CBS-produced soap, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing," which had a five-and-a-half-year run.

ABC, 1971-75

In the meantime, though, Goodson-Todman sold reruns of the CBS version to local stations via syndication in the late 1960s, and in some markets, they performed quite well in late-afternoon slots. This prompted ABC to contact Mark Goodson about reviving the game. "Password" would become G-T's first show to permanently eminate from Hollywood rather than New York City; eventually the company moved almost all production to southern California during the 1970s.

The network and packager faced an unusual and potentially disturbing obstacle, however. The network slated "Password" to replace the cult soap "Dark Shadows" at 4 p.m./3 Central on April 5, 1971. Some of the more devoted fans of "DS" threatened ABC with physical disruption of the first tapings of "Password" at the Hollywood studios. However, these plans apparently never materialized, and ABC went ahead, managing strong results against NBC's "Somerset" and reruns of "Gomer Pyle, USMC" on CBS. Pleased with its performance, ABC promoted the show to 12:30 p.m./11:30 a.m. on September 6, where it faced stronger challenges in the form of CBS' long-running "Search for Tomorrow" and NBC's "The Who, What, or Where Game." Nonetheless, "Password" held up well there for six months, until the network moved it up a half-hour to Noon/11 to make way for the new game "Split Second."

At Noon/11, "Password" came in a solid second to NBC's "Jeopardy!," but easily defeated the CBS soap "Where the Heart Is." However, CBS would launch the youth-oriented "Young and the Restless" to replace "WtHI," and "Password" and "Jeopardy!" both hit ratings trouble beginning in summer 1973, in large measure due to the college- and high-school-aged viewers of the games being lured away by the serial. Even though NBC moved "Jeopardy!" in January 1974 from Noon/11 in favor of "Jackpot!," the ABC "Password" was sliding into third place. One failed gimmick to boost ratings involved Betty White substituting for her husband in the host's chair while he played as a celebrity.

So, by the fall, the show decided to take a risk at the insistance of ABC on an all-celebrity format. Although G-T would have success with celebrity-driven formats such as "Match Game" and "Tattletales" during the 1970s, the lack of civilian contestants and significantly altered rules of the game drove even more viewers away. G-T abandoned the "All-Stars" format in February 1975 (but changing the contestant configuration in order to avoid another set re-design) in a last-ditch effort, but it was too late, and ABC dropped the show in the summer. Host Ludden gave an emotional farewell on the June 27 finale with Mark Goodson declaring him "Mr. Password." All was not lost for G-T, however, as it got the chance to replace "Password" with a new game, the ill-fated "Showoffs," which lasted six months.

Versions outside the USA

* In Turkey, a Mehmet Aslantuğ version called "Parola" is aired weekdays a week on Kanal 6.
* In the United Kingdom, versions of Password were produced by the BBC in the 1970s, and by Thames Television for Channel 4 which was hosted by Tom O'Connor and UTV for ITV in the 1980s which was hosted by Gordon Burns.
* In New Zealand, a Maori language version has aired since 2006.
* In Spain, Cuatro airs a local version since June 2008, based on the spin off, Million Dollar Password, but with a prize of 25,000 instead. Hosted by Luján Argüelles.
* In France, a version called Pyramide was produced by Antenne 2 aired from 1991 to 2003.

Other versions

The Milton Bradley Company introduced the first home version of "Password" in 1962 and subsequently released 24 editions of the game until 1986. (Owing to common superstition, these releases were numbered 1-12 and 14-25, skipping 13.) It was tied with "Concentration" as the most prolific of Milton Bradley's home versions of popular game shows, and was produced well into the "Super Password" era of the television show. Milton Bradley also published three editions of a "Password Plus" home game between 1979 and 1981. More recently, Endless Games has released four versions of "Password" since 1997, including a DVD edition featuring the voice of Todd Newton.

A computer version of "Super Password" was released by GameTek for MS-DOS systems, as well as the Apple II and Commodore 64, shortly before the show was canceled; a Nintendo Entertainment System version was also planned but never released. Tiger Electronics also released an electronic handheld "Super Password" game in the late 1990s--oddly, many years after the show had been cancelled.

As with several other Goodson/Todman game shows, "Password" has been adapted into a slot machine by WMS Gaming. A simulated Allen Ludden emcees the proceedings, with the voices and caricatures of Rose Marie, Dawn Wells, Adam West and Marty Allen. One bonus round offers the player free spins; the other involves choosing from 4 envelopes offered by the celebrities. Finding the "Password" envelope advances the player to a new level with 4 more envelopes, worth more prize money. []

And, in December, BCI/Eclipse will release a DVD boxed set "The Best of PASSWORD-the CBS Years 1962-1967".

Sitcom spoofs

* The show was featured in a 1972 episode of "The Odd Couple", where Felix (Tony Randall) and Oscar (Jack Klugman) were playing as a team, with Oscar's "celebrity" status referring to his sports writing, and also featured Allen Ludden and Betty White. The high point in the episode was when, for a password of "birds," Felix gave the clue "Aristophanes", which utterly mystified Oscar by replying, "Greek". (A. wrote the play "The Birds".) During the commercial break, Oscar tells Felix no more Greek clues, Airstophanes is ridiculous. When the game was back in play, the next password was "ridiculous". Oscar gave the clue "Aristophanes" an a mad tone & Felix responded "ridiculous"!
*"Password" was also spoofed in a 2000 episode of "Family Guy". Peter is playing the game with Tony Randall, and tries to convey to him the password "flaming," saying repeatedly, "" Randall guesses incorrectly twice, with "actor" and "Tony."


External links

* [ Curt Alliaume's Game Shows '75: "Password"]
* [ CBS Daytime and Nighttime "Password" Guide]
* [ The ABC "Password" Page]
* []
* [ Funny Password clues and answers]
* [ The Password Home Game Home Page]

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