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|Starring||Rod Serling (1969)
Bill Armstrong (1976)
Allen Ludden (1977–79)
Eric Boardman (1988–89)
|Narrated by||Jim Isaics (1969)
Bill Berry (1976–79)
Joe Seiter (1976–79)
Bill Armstrong (1988)
Ted Friend (1989)
|Country of origin||United States (1969–79)
|Producer(s)||Ralph Andrews (1969–79)
Blair Murdoch (1988–89)
|Running time||approx. 26 Minutes|
|Original channel||Syndicated (1969, 1976–79, 1988–89)|
|Original run||1969 – 1989|
Liar's Club is an American game show, originally produced by Ralph Andrews, featuring a panel of celebrity guests who offered explanations of obscure or unusual objects. Contestants attempted to determine which explanation was correct in order to win prizes.
Liar's Club was first seen during the 1969–70 season with Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame) as host, and returned for a three-season run from 1976–79, after airing as a local series on Los Angeles' KTLA during the 1974–75 season. Bill Armstrong briefly hosted the program during the first season in 1976–77, but was soon replaced by Allen Ludden, better known for hosting the first few versions of Password. Bill Berry and Joe Seiter shared the announcing duties. Celebrity attorney/actress/producer Vicki Roberts was a regular researcher on the show, and brought in herself many of the strange or unusual objects on the show, many of which were found by scouring local antique shops in the Los Angeles area.
Another version of the show aired during the 1988–89 season as The New Liar's Club; Chicago native Eric Boardman hosted the program, and former emcee Bill Armstrong originally served as announcer, but was later replaced by Ted Friend. This version was produced by Blair Murdoch at CKVU-TV in Vancouver, Canada.
A panel of four celebrity guests was presented with an unusual object, with each celebrity providing an explanation of the object's use. Contestants then attempted to guess which panelist was providing the accurate description. Two contestants competed on the 1969 version, while the first season of the 70s version and the 1988 revival featured four contestants, and the two seasons (1977-79) with Ludden had three.
On the 1969 version, the contestant who made the most correct guesses during the episode won $100. For all later versions, contestants began the game with a set amount of money and made wagers before attempting to guess the correct object, which were then paid out at various odds if the contestant was successful.
From 1976–77, contestants were spotted with $100 at the start of the game, and wagered up to $100 (in $10 increments) for each prediction. Correct predictions were paid out at odds of 1:1 in Round 1, 2:1 in Round 2, 5:1 in Round 3, and 10:1 in Round 4. When Ludden took over as host in 1977, the game format largely remained the same, but the maximum in each round wager was increased from $100 to half of the contestant's current bank. On the 1988–89 version, contestants played for points, wagering between 10 and 90 points, in 10 point increments; in the first three rounds, contestants were limited to betting half their current points but in the final round, the contestants could wager all their points, but the largest wager tag given was 90 points, so the contestants could not bet more than that.
Except from 1977–79, the last round of the game featured artwork presented before the panel and contestants. Each celebrity would then offer his/her own title for the art, and contestants attempted to predict which title was correct. During the 1977–78 season, the final round consisted of each celebrity describing his/her own unusual item instead of just a single object or piece of art. During the last Ludden season, as a reversal in the rules of the first three rounds, contestants attempted in the final found to predict which of the four celebrities was lying in his/her description; the betting limit was removed for this round only.
The contestant with the highest score won the game and a bonus prize, with (from 1977–89) an additional prize awarded to any contestant who made a correct prediction in all four rounds. If two or more contestants were tied at the end of the game, ties were broken first by the amount wagered in round four. If contestants were tied in that criteria, the winner was determined by the number of correct predictions during the game. If this did not break the tie, the contestants then revealed predictions each had made regarding their final score prior to the start of the game. The contestant with the prediction that was closest to his/her final score without going over was declared the winner.
Regular panelists on the Rod Serling version included Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith on Lost in Space) and Betty White. Frequent panelists on the 1970s version included White (then Allen Ludden's wife), Joey Bishop, Dick Gautier, Fannie Flagg, David Letterman and Larry Hovis.
Canadian comedian John Barbour was a regular panelist throughout the 1980s version, and the three other panelists originally changed from week to week. Jimmie Walker, Shannon Tweed and Pete Barbutti later joined Barbour as permanent panelists.
The Next Line
In 1991, a show titled The Next Line and hosted by Kevin Frank, was produced in Canada. The format had many similarities to The New Liar's Club: both shows were taped at the same studio, and featured similar gameplay elements. However, contestants instead attempted to predict which celebrity was providing the correct next line in a video clip or song. Like The New Liar's Club, the show was produced by Blair Murdoch and featured Pete Barbutti as a regular panelist.
- "Vicki Roberts". IMDb. Retrieved 1 October 2013.