Airdate(s):
April 1975-June 1975
Network(s):
ABC Daytime
Announcer(s):
Bob Clayton
Produced By:
Bob Stewart Productions

Bill: The male deer spent a fortune on his dental work because he had
Blankety Blank. Anne Meara! Can you fill in the "Blankety Blanks?"

Anne: The male deer spent a fortune on his dental work because he had buck
teeth!

Bob Clayton: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the "Blankety Blanks!" Starring
Bill Cullen!

Bill was quoted in a magazine article as saying this show "didn't get a fair shake." After seeing the one surviving episode, I'm inclined to agree.

Two teams comprised of a celebrity & contestant compete. To start, six hidden fragments of a sentence are shown, and Bill reads the category and a clue pertaining to the right answer.

He then randomly selects one of 100 cards rotating on the wheel next to him and scans it through a device on his podium. After scanning, we find out which of the four players has been selected and the dollar value, between 100 and 750, for a correct guess (also randomly programmed into the card). That player selects which sentence fragment to reveal and gets to guess the subject. If right, the dollar value goes into their bank, although they haven't necessarily won the cash yet. If wrong Bill selects another card. Play continues in this manner until the subject is guessed.

After the puzzle is solved, the winning player's team is shown a "Blankety Blank," a sentence with 1-4 words missing, that can be filled in with a pun. If they guess correctly, the money becomes theirs to keep, and their opponents also get a strike. If wrong, the money stays in the bank, and should they guess another puzzle later, the dollar value is added and they can win the whole total on a Blankety Blank.
Contestants remained on the show until they amassed a total of three strikes.

Game show fans who remember the series don't remember it fondly, which makes me scratch my head. The game is easy to play along with, and the puzzles are fun, particularly if you like bad jokes the way I do.
Bob Stewart was evdiently fond of the show, as he restructured it several times more in future game shows like "Shoot for the Stars" and its spinoff, "Double Talk." Realistically, the show isn't that bad. The computer scanning and cards were a novel idea, and the set is rather spiffy looking, albeit low-budget.

The pilot for the series was videotaped February 10, 1975 with guests Anita Gillette and Soupy Sales. The game was nearly identical to the aired format, except that instead of numbers, clues were classified by letters in those clues (so for example, the letter Z might be hiding "THAT CRAZY LADY")

 

I sense Bill's love of bad puns is the same as my own because he is enjoying himself here. After "Winning Streak", this show was a good reminder for Bill about why he chose to make game shows his living. He's is surprisingly moving at a fast pace in this show, and it's not in a rushed sense like "The Joker's Wild." It's more of an enthusiastic rush where Bill's enjoying the game to a point where he wants to move on just so he can have more fun with it. It's really a good game, and despite what you may read elsewhere, I think this is worth looking at.


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