Host Bill Cullen, 1966.
|Created by||Bob Stewart|
|Presented by||Bill Cullen|
|Narrated by||Don Pardo (1966–1967)
Jack Clark (1967–1969)
|Theme music composer||Billy Sherrill and Buddy Killen ("Sugar Lips" performed by Al Hirt)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Bob Stewart Productions
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Domestic Television
Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||January 3, 1966– September 26, 1969|
Eye Guess is an American game show created by Bob Stewart and hosted by Bill Cullen, which aired on NBC from January 3, 1966 to September 26, 1969. The game combined a general knowledge quiz with a Concentration-style memory element, where the answers were shown to the players and their recall of their positions was tested.
This was the first game show by Bob Stewart Productions. Stewart, a former producer for Goodson-Todman Productions, created this series and packaged it with Filmways. Don Pardo announced for the first year, after which Jack Clark replaced him for the rest of the run.
Two contestants faced a nine-space game board, divided into three rows of three boxes. The outer boxes were numbered 1–8, and the center box contained the "Eye Guess" logo. At the beginning of the game, the answers hidden behind the outer boxes were revealed for six to nine seconds and then re-covered. Questions were asked by the host, and contestants were required to provide only the number behind which the answer was hidden. Points were awarded for a correct answer, and the contestant who responded correctly was asked a bonus question for additional points. If the bonus question was missed, that contestant's turn ended and the opponent was asked the next question.
A contestant could call for the "Eye Guess" space if they thought that the correct answer was not among the eight choices revealed at the start of the game. In such instances, the answer would be revealed only if it was correct for that question. Otherwise, a blank card would be revealed.
Questions in each round covered a wide range of topics and were assembled in such a way that choosing an incorrect number for a question could yield humorous results, which was the main appeal of this otherwise simple game.
Each game consisted of two rounds, with correct answers worth 10 points on the first round and 20 on the second. Although there were nine different answers per round, each round only featured eight questions, meaning one of the nine answers was not used (and never placed behind the "Eye Guess" space). A contestant who provided five consecutive correct answers won a bonus prize, usually a trip. Toward the end of the show's run, contestants who both missed four consecutive questions in the main game each received a series of at-home memory-improvement books.
The first contestant to reach 100 points won the game and earned the right to play a bonus round. Later, the producers changed the rules, awarding a prize for each correct answer, with seven as the winning score.
Each episode was played to a set time limit, and once that limit was reached an audible signal was played. If a game was in progress when time was called, it would resume on the next show with any unrevealed answers shuffled into different positions. If time was called during the bonus round, the board was left as it was and the contestant resumed playing on the next show from where they had left off.
There were no returning champions. Each game featured two new contestants.
The game in progress during the final installment of the series did not finish in time. Since there could be no continuation of the game on the following Monday's broadcast, host Bill Cullen explained that the contestants would play the game to its conclusion after the show was over, and the appropriate prizes would be awarded.
The first bonus round was played from January 3–14, 1966. The contestant was shown eight pairs of celebrities (a man and woman). Cullen would read a name, and the contestant would be required to locate that celebrity's spouse on the board. Each correct answer awarded the contestant $25, and a new car was awarded if the board was cleared.
The second bonus round was used from January 17, 1966 to August 30, 1968. Behind seven of the numbers on the board were various prizes; behind the remaining number, a "Stop!" card. The contestant continued to call numbers and win prizes until finding the "Stop!" card. If the contestant revealed all seven prizes, the contestant won a new car, ostensibly hidden behind the "Eye Guess" logo. The contestant kept any prizes revealed prior to the end of the round. If the "Stop!" card was revealed on the first selection, the contestant was allowed to choose another number as a consolation prize.
This bonus round was featured in all four editions of the show's home game.
Initially, prizes consisted of cash up to $100 or merchandise. By November 8, 1967, all prizes became merchandise. At some point after November 8, 1967, a new prize called "Jack's Pot" (named after announcer Jack Clark) was introduced, consisting of a cash prize that was awarded only if it was revealed on the first selection. If this did not happen, its location was revealed right away. The value started at $100 and increased by $100 each day until won.
The third bonus round was used for the entire final year of the show's run, from September 2, 1968 to September 26, 1969. Hidden behind spaces 1–3 and 6–8 were five "Go" cards and one "Stop!" sign (spaces 4 and 5 were not used in this format). Prizes of increasing value were awarded after each "Go" card was found. The contestant could stop at any point but lost all the prizes accumulated if the "Stop!" card was revealed. If all five "Go" cards were revealed without finding the "Stop!" card, the contestant won a new car.
Punch Lines (1979)
A pilot was shot for a revival of Eye Guess and was pitched to local stations by syndicator Metromedia for the 1980 season in December 1979. Called Punch Lines which was also hosted by Bill Cullen, the premise of the game is that eight comedic performers held "punch lines" which would complete statements that the host would read to the two celebrity-contestant teams. As with Eye Guess, the object was to remember where the correct punch line was located. Similar to the likes of Match Game and Hollywood Squares, The humor came out of the comically mismatched answers and over-the-top line readings given by the performers. Some of the celebrities that were featured in the pilot were Joyce Bulifant, Fred Grandy and Edie McClurg.
While the show failed to sell in America, two years later, the show was sold in the U.K. for ITV and had a successful three-year run with Lennie Bennett as its host from January 3, 1981 until December 22, 1984. In addition, Bennett would later go on hosting the U.K. adaptation of another Bob Stewart-created game show Chain Reaction as Lucky Ladders running on the same network from March 21, 1988 until May 14, 1993.
Two years later, a pilot for an Australian adaptation of the show, hosted by Jeremy Kewley was shot for the Seven Network on August 20, 1986. However, like its American counterpart, the series failed to sell later on.
Eye Q (1988)
Another pilot was shot for a revival of Eye Guess at CBS Television City in August 1988. Called Eye Q and hosted by Henry Polic II, the premise of the game was slightly different. Two couples played against each other and instead of being shown the answers at the beginning of the game, they were revealed as the game went along. This made the game more like Concentration, as instead of simply recalling where an answer was based on what was shown at the beginning of the round the couples had to remember where the answer was once revealed. The winning couple won $500 and a chance to win up to $50,000 in a bingo-based bonus game. Sixteen numbers were randomly scrambled before the bonus game, and the result of the scramble was hidden behind the winning team. They had a choice of eight of the numbers, with the object being to form a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line. Completing a line won the couple a cash jackpot, which on the pilot had reached $11,000. If the line was completed with the first four numbers the couple chose, they won $50,000.
Virtually all of the series is believed to have been destroyed due to network practices of the era, with the videotapes wiped and re-used.
One episode distributed for broadcast on November 8, 1967, in color, and the first half of a 1968 episode (before the "Stop and Go" bonus format), in monochrome kinescope, exist in the hands of collectors. Game Show Network has aired the color episode.
- "Eye Guess". The Game Show Home Game Home Page. Retrieved 16 February 2012.