Letters to Laugh-In

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Letters to Laugh-In
GenreGame show
Directed byAlan J. Levi
Presented byGary Owens
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions in association with Romart Inc.
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 29 –
December 26, 1969
Related showsRowan & Martin's Laugh-In

Letters to Laugh-In is a daytime game show and spin-off of NBC's nighttime comedy series, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, that aired on the network from September 29 to December 26, 1969. The show was hosted by Gary Owens, the announcer for Laugh-In.


Home viewers mailed their jokes to the program, during which they were read by a panel of four celebrities – two of them Laugh-In regulars. Each joke was rated on a scale of minus-100 to plus-100 by a randomly selected audience panel.

"Morgul, the friendly Drelb" (who Owens always referred to on Laugh-In, but who was never seen) would hand Owens the categories for each round, in the form of a hand or puppet reaching through the top of the podium, usually with added sound effects

The highest and lowest rated jokes each day won the viewers a prize. Trips were awarded for the highest-rated Joke-of-the-Week (such as a trip to Hawaii), while the lowest-rated joke-of-the-week won a trip to "Beautiful downtown Burbank". A Grand Prize (a '69 convertible) was awarded for the highest rated joke of the entire 13-week run (see below)

One particularly notable joke from the program asked the question, "What's the difference between a sigh, a car, and a jackass?" When the other person answered that he did not know, the questioner said, "A sigh is 'oh dear,' and a car is 'too dear.'" When pressed what's a jackass, the questioner responded, "You dear."

The eventual Grand Prize winning entry was a joke read by actress Jill St. John: "What do you get when you cross an elephant with a jar of peanut butter? A 500-pound sandwich that sticks to the roof of your mouth!"

Broadcast history[edit]

Letters to Laugh-In debuted on September 29, 1969 at 4:00 PM (3:00 Central). It replaced The Match Game, which had been canceled after a seven-year run in that slot. Like Match Game, Letters to Laugh-In faced the popular Dark Shadows on ABC and reruns of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. on CBS. Letters to Laugh-In was soundly beaten in the ratings. As such, unlike the nighttime Laugh-In (which enjoyed a five-year run on NBC), Letters to Laugh-In lasted only three months before being canceled on December 26. Its replacement was Loman & Barkley's Name Droppers, an equally short-lived game that was replaced on March 30, 1970, by the soap opera Somerset.

Episode status[edit]

One episode of Letters to Laugh-In was uploaded to YouTube in July 2012. The episode featured a celebrity panel of Jo Anne Worley, Dan Rowan, Angie Dickinson and Jack E. Leonard.


  • The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television, Wesley Hyatt (Billboard Books, 1997)