Mark Goodson: Difference between revisions

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The music for several Goodson-Todman shows was composed by [[Bob Cobert]]. Throughout the 1970s and '80s the bulk of the music for G-T shows was created by Bob Israel's [[Score Productions]] and by [[Edd Kalehoff]]. Announcers [[Johnny Olson]] and [[Gene Wood]] were frequently heard on Goodson-Todman shows.
 
The music for several Goodson-Todman shows was composed by [[Bob Cobert]]. Throughout the 1970s and '80s the bulk of the music for G-T shows was created by Bob Israel's [[Score Productions]] and by [[Edd Kalehoff]]. Announcers [[Johnny Olson]] and [[Gene Wood]] were frequently heard on Goodson-Todman shows.
   
==Post Mark Goodson==
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==Death==
 
Mark Goodson died on December 18, 1992 from [[pancreatic cancer]] at the age of 77 in [[New York City]]. He is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in [[Culver City, California]], where the inscription on his gravestone is designed to resemble the Goodson-Todman/Mark Goodson Productions logo.
 
Mark Goodson died on December 18, 1992 from [[pancreatic cancer]] at the age of 77 in [[New York City]]. He is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in [[Culver City, California]], where the inscription on his gravestone is designed to resemble the Goodson-Todman/Mark Goodson Productions logo.
   

Revision as of 12:14, 27 September 2008

Mark Goodson
Born January 14, 1915
Sacramento, California, USA
Died December 18, 1992(1992-12-18) (aged 77)
New York, New York, USA

Mark Goodson (January 14, 1915December 18, 1992) was a successful American television producer who specialized in game shows.

Life and early career

Mark Goodson was born in Sacramento, California on January 14, 1915. His parents, Abraham Ellis and Fannie Goodson, emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s. As a child, Mark acted in amateur theater with the Plaza Stock Company. The family later moved to Hayward, California. Originally intending to become a lawyer, Mark attended the University of California, Berkeley. He financed his education through scholarships and by working at the Lincoln Fish Market, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1937 with a degree in Economics. That year he began his broadcasting career in San Francisco, working as a disc jockey at station KJBS. In 1939 he joined station KFRC, where he produced and hosted a radio quiz called "Pop the Question" in which contestants selected questions by throwing darts at multicolored balloons. In 1941 Goodson married his first wife, Bluma Neveleff, and moved to New York City where he teamed up with partner Bill Todman. The pair's first radio show, Winner Take All, premiered on CBS in 1946. Outside of television production, Goodson and Todman went on to own several newspapers in New England as well as radio station KOL in Seattle. In the early 1980s, after the passing of Bill Todman in July 1979, the Goodsons acquired the Todman heirs' portion of the company.

Goodson had a brother, Marvin (1918 - 2007), an attorney. He had two children, Jill and Jonathan (1945 - ) by his first wife Bluma, and a daughter, Marjorie, by his second wife, Virginia McDavid. In the early 1970s he married his third wife, Suzanne Waddell, who had once been a guest on What's My Line?.

Television production

Goodson and long-time partner Bill Todman produced some of the longest-running game shows in television history. Their first television show, Winner Take All, debuted on CBS television on July 1, 1948. The long list of Goodson-Todman productions includes Beat the Clock, Family Feud, Match Game, Password, The Price Is Right, To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret, What's My Line? and Card Sharks. The shows endured through the decades, many over multiple runs, because of Goodson's sharp eye for production and presentation. While Todman oversaw the company's lucrative businesses outside of television, Goodson handled the creative aspects of producing game shows. The creative personnel who worked for the company and created most of the G-T shows were pivotal to the success of those shows. G-T executives Bob Stewart, Bob Bach, Gil Fates, Ira Skutch, Frank Wayne, Chester Feldman, Paul Alter, Howard Felsher, Ted Cooper, Jay Wolpert and others were instrumental in making the shows successful.

Many of the actual formats were created by producers working for Goodson-Todman. For example, Bob Bach created What's My Line?; Allan Sherman created I've Got a Secret; Frank Wayne created Match Game and Now You See It; Chester Feldman created Card Sharks; Bob Stewart created Password, The Price Is Right and To Tell the Truth; and Jay Wolpert created the short-lived Double Dare. Goodson-Todman was involved with the 1969 pilot of The Joker's Wild along with creator Jack Barry, but G-T severed ties with Barry by the time the series debuted.

Goodson-Todman were not as successful when they tried their hands at other types of TV shows, including the anthology-drama The Web, a talk-variety show for famed insult comic Don Rickles, and what was possibly the company's biggest failure, a sitcom titled One Happy Family. However, Goodson-Todman Productions were involved with two Westerns that, despite their relatively short runs, became TV classics: The Rebel (1959-61), starring Nick Adams as an ex-Confederate soldier who travelled West after the Civil War (Johnny Cash sang the theme); and Branded, starring Chuck Connors as a soldier who had wrongly been given a dishonorable discharge from the Army.

For many years the company was headquartered in the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue, New York. Most of the company's production moved to Hollywood in the early seventies (as did many other production companies), starting with the ABC revival of Password in 1971. The Los Angeles offices were based first at 6430 Sunset Boulevard and later at 5750 Wilshire Boulevard. The company's last New York-based show was the 1980 - 1981 version of To Tell the Truth, but the New York office remained open and was used for East coast Child's Play auditions.

A few years after Bill Todman's death in 1979, Goodson acquired the Todman heirs' share of the company, and in 1982 the company was renamed Mark Goodson Productions. Traditionally, shows would sign off with "This is (announcer's name) speaking for (show name). A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production/A Mark Goodson Television Production."

Many of the company's game shows were produced internationally, some under different titles, and were distributed by Reg Grundy Productions. Family Feud, for example, has run in the United Kingdom as Family Fortunes and in Mexico under the name of 100 mexicanos dijeron. Today, Mark Goodson Productions, along with Reg Grundy Productions, are part of FremantleMedia.

The music for several Goodson-Todman shows was composed by Bob Cobert. Throughout the 1970s and '80s the bulk of the music for G-T shows was created by Bob Israel's Score Productions and by Edd Kalehoff. Announcers Johnny Olson and Gene Wood were frequently heard on Goodson-Todman shows.

Death

Mark Goodson died on December 18, 1992 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 77 in New York City. He is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California, where the inscription on his gravestone is designed to resemble the Goodson-Todman/Mark Goodson Productions logo.

Three years after Mark Goodson's death, his family sold the rights to the library of shows, in order to pay off a hefty estate tax. In 1995, a company called All American Television was the purchaser. AATV acquired 50% of the company that year, and acquired the rest a year later. AATV was bought out by rival communications company Pearson Television in 1997, which, in turn, was acquired by RTL Group subsidiary FremantleMedia four years later (at one time, one of the company's predecessors, Fremantle International, was the distributor of Goodson-Todman game shows internationally). FremantleMedia now owns the rights to the Goodson-Todman library of game shows. While The Price Is Right and Family Feud continue in production to this day, other classic Goodson-Todman shows have found a new life and a new audience in reruns on cable TV's Game Show Network. The only omissions from the library are I've Got a Secret, the rights to which were acquired by Carsey-Warner Productions, (in an attempt to pair the show with what became the ill-fated, Bill Cosby-hosted revival of You Bet Your Life), and the 1973 and 1987 versions of Concentration, which were licensed from NBC.

Goodson's son Jonathan has continued with new game show concepts. He joined the company in 1973 as legal counsel, but began production work with the company's shows, including the original version of Card Sharks; eventually producing the 1990 version of Match Game. He stayed through corporate takeovers until 1998. He left to begin his own production company, Jonathan Goodson Productions, which produces both state lottery game shows and original game show concepts, with 2003's Dirty Rotten Cheater being the newest Goodson game, having already been sold internationally.

For the sake of tradition, and through special permission from FremantleMedia, certain revivals and/or continuances of the Goodson-Todman shows continued the Mark Goodson Productions name, logo and announcement at the end of each episode, even though the original production company no longer existed. This practice was ended in 2002 with two of the three programs still in production at the time, To Tell the Truth and Family Feud, and ultimately ended in June 2007 when The Price Is Right stopped using the logo with the retirement of host Bob Barker.

  • The Price Is Right was the last surviving show that used the Mark Goodson Production name, logo, and announcement until Bob Barker retired in 2007. The first episode of the 2007-2008 season (15-Oct-2007) features the FremantleMedia name, logo, and announcement.
  • The 1998 Match Game revival used the Mark Goodson Productions name and logo, but used an alternate announcement: "This has been a Mark Goodson Television Production for...", followed by the Pearson logo.
  • On the first three seasons (1999-2002) of the current prodution of Family Feud, along with the 2000-2002 version of To Tell the Truth, the logo and name were used, but not the announcement.
  • The 2001-2002 Card Sharks revival used used the Mark Goodson Productions name, logo and announcement.
  • Newer versions of other Goodson-Todman properties such as Beat the Clock (2002), I've Got a Secret (2001 and 2006) and Password (2008, as Million Dollar Password), however, did not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement.

List of Mark Goodson-Bill Todman productions

Game Shows

  • * These revivals of Goodson-Todman shows gave no reference to the company.
  • ** These revivals of Goodson-Todman shows originally gave reference to the company but no longer do. Family Feud had ended the practice in 2002, and The Price Is Right had ended the practice in 2007.

Other Shows

External links