Down You Go
|Down You Go|
|Presented by||Bergen Evans (1951-1956)
Bill Cullen (1956)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||24-26 minutes|
|Original channel||DuMont (1951-1955)
|Original run||May 30, 1951– September 8, 1956|
Down You Go is an American television game show originally broadcast on the DuMont Television Network. The Emmy Award-nominated series ran from 1951–1956 as a prime time series primarily hosted by Dr. Bergen Evans. The program aired in eleven different timeslots during its five-year run.
Down You Go is one of only six series — along with The Arthur Murray Party, Pantomime Quiz, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, The Ernie Kovacs Show, and The Original Amateur Hour — shown on all four major television networks of the Golden Age of Television (ABC, NBC, CBS, and DuMont).
Down You Go was similar to "Hangman", with a group of four celebrity panelists who were asked to guess a word or phrase submitted by a home viewer. The phrase "down you go" came about when a panelist would be eliminated from play for making an incorrect guess, which would be signified by the eliminated panelist pulling a handle to switch their name to "DOWN YOU GO".
Among the regular panelists were comedian Fran Allison, journalist Phyllis Cerf, editor Francis Coughlin, actress Patricia Cutts, actress Carmelita Pope, actor Boris Karloff, author Jean Kerr, and athlete Phil Rizzuto.
The series debuted on May 30, 1951 on DuMont, airing on Wednesday nights from 9 to 9:30 until July, when it moved to Thursdays. The program was moved to Friday at the start of the 1952–1953 television season. During the Summer of 1952, it aired on Fridays at 8; in October 1952, it would be moved back to a 10:30 time slot. The series was shuffled around DuMont's schedule (Wednesdays at 9:30, then 10, and finally Fridays at 10:30) until May 20, 1955.
Down You Go has been described as "one of the wittiest, most intelligent panel shows on television". The popular series was nominated for a "Best Audience Participation, Quiz, or Panel Program" Emmy in 1953.
When the struggling DuMont network cancelled Down You Go along with most of its other series during the Summer of 1955, rival network CBS briefly picked up the series for the Summer. Host Bergen Evans and some of the panelists stayed for the new version, which aired from June 11 to September 3. After twelve days, Down You Go returned to network television, this time on ABC, where it aired until June 4, 1956.
NBC picked up the program on June 16 and made Down You Go more comedy-oriented, with new host Bill Cullen and a regular celebrity panel of Jayne Mansfield, Jimmy Nelson, Hildy Parks, and Arthur Treacher. The series ended on September 8, 1956.
The BBC aired their own version from January 1, 1953 to 1954. Originally hosted by Marcus Dick, Roy Rich took over the position beginning in April 1953, coinciding with a "refreshing" of the programme. Notably, Evans-era regular Patricia Cutts was a regular on this version as well.
One episode is known to exist from the 1955 CBS run (featuring a panel of Francis Coughlin, Patricia Cutts, Jerome Weidman, and Laraine Day), although nothing is said during the show to directly support this; only a brief promo for The Loretta Young Show, airing the following night "on another network", hints at the network of origin. This episode is held by the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, circulates among collectors, and is available for viewing at the Internet Archive (albeit mistakenly dated September 26, 1951).
No episodes are known to have survived of the British version.
- List of programs broadcast by the DuMont Television Network
- List of surviving DuMont Television Network broadcasts
- Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.) p 1045. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.
- McNeil, Alex (1980). Total Television (4th ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
- "Advanced Primetime Awards Search". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- UK Game Shows: Down You Go
- David Weinstein, The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004) ISBN 1-59213-245-6
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, Fourth edition (New York: Penguin Books, 1980) ISBN 0-14-024916-8
- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Third edition (New York: Ballantine Books, 1964) ISBN 0-345-31864-1