Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 164

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 167

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 170

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 173

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 176

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 178

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 180

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 202

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 206

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 224

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 225

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 227

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 47
The Password is “Blogtitle” | The Bleat.


No movie this week: it’s old TV, which is a different continent on the Black and White World. I Netflixed some DVDs of a venerable classic I recall from the dim paleolithic era of childhood:


It’s the nighttime version, which was saved – apparently most of the daytime shows were lost. Maybe it’s me, but there’s something about this date that gives you a pang.


The end of May, 1962. Things got weird and bad down the road, but of course they had no idea. This is the last few exhalations of the post-war culture, right here.

Not to make too great a case for this, of course. It’s just Password. Our host:


Alan Ludden: buzz-cut, black frames. The sixties would do a thorough job of ridiculing this look, but compared to the hirsute eras that followed, it’s looking pretty good. It certainly looks intellectual, and Ludden had that smart-guy shine without ever having to prove it. He wasn’t the ineffably civilized John Daly, but he wasn’t one of the motormouthed pitchmen, either. He had a great breezy skill, but he wasn’t a lightweight.

The set is something else:


Never mind the big geometric shapes in the background – dig the stacked stereo consoles for the set. Now, the contestants.  This was part of the weekend Frame Grab Caption Contest:


James Mason emoting some murderous intent. He was damned good, but he’s James Mason, so no surprise. On the other team:


Recognize? She was charming and lovely and funny and sweet, albeit a bit the-AH-trical, but she was young. Climbing up on North Vietnamese armaments was still a long way off.

Another episode had the master of the deadpan non-reaction reaction, reacting:


f, like me, you grew up with the Carson “Late Night” persona, early Johnny is a bit of a surprise. He was all deadpan back then. The man had taken the lessons of Jack Benny down to the bone, but his deadpan was unique. Keaton’s deadpan said “well of course. Yes, of course.” Bunny’s said “Well I never.” Carson’s had a touch of “what the hell happened?” that added a nervous element, as if he didn’t know quite how to react. Very Midwestern.

This was a celebrity contestant. Recognize?


While you figure it out, let’s break for one of my favorite brands:


It’s a gun, it’s a shaver, it’s a typewriter, it’s computer! It’s a Remington! Different companies, sure. Right? Sort of: the firearms manufacturer went into the typewriter business in the 19th century (they backed the QWERTY standard, which in a way made them the Microsoft of their time) but sold the branch in 1886. This was the company that became Remington Rand; they started selling electric shavers in 1937. Remington Rand merged with Sperry, makers of Univac,  in 1955. They continued to make electric razors, obviously. The firm has been sold a few times – remember Victor Kiam? I liked it so much I bought the company! According to wikipedia, the company was last sold to Rayovac Batteries, another great old name that was subsequently changed to “Spectrum Brands.” Yawn. On the other hand, Marisa Miller did a YouTube ad for them, so there’s that.

(Side note: as an actress, she’s no Kathy Ireland.)

And now, back to our show. If this woman had been more on the pixie side, I think the term gamin would apply:


She’s quite dramatical:


Also quite delightful. You feel terribly sorry for the big galoot with whom she’s paired. They do very well; they’re on the same wavelength. She touches him and tells him he’s great and at one point says “We’re in love” after they blew through a 60-second challenge. The guy is so smitten he cannot believe his luck in this world. He also says he’s married, and you know it was a very, very cold ride home from the studio that night.

She’s Anne Bancroft, if you hadn’t figured it out.

A new season, a new set: much slicker.


Our first guest:


It wasn’t. She was sad, in a way – a bit confused at the start, not sure why she was here, smiling broadly when complimented for her work, unsure how the game worked.

But she did fine.


Let no one ever say Joan Crawford didn’t give one hundred percent.

Parting guests receive the following:


If you’re in my demographic, you know what color those books were; you know what the smelled like; how the pages were gilt-edged; how they had fascinating transparencies that let you study things like human anatomy; how you cracked them the night before a paper was due; how you never sat down and read them the way your parents hoped you would.

They’ve removed many of the ads, but a few remain. Here’s one for a perm product  preferred by lovely women who are not from this earth, but have come here in pod form to hypnotize you and suck your brains through their long, tentacle fingers:


Finally, scalp chemicals for the younger set:




She looks like she grew to be 47 feet tall at the age of 3, and had to be taken down by artillery fire.

Oh, the unnamed woman above you didn’t recognize? She was the daughter of this fellow. And the Password is:


He got about a minute laughter without saying a word.


(Edited to correct “Ludden” for “Ladd”)

Tagged with:

48 Responses to The Password is “Blogtitle”

  1. Chick Voice says:

    I am in your demo, and I LOVED password as a kid. I bet you know who did the whisphered voiceovers “the password is _______”. Encyclopedias….burgandy leather look, right? Or was it blue?

  2. Covvie says:

    I laughed for about a minute on that last shot, too.

  3. Mikey NTH says:

    burgundy covers, blue spine

  4. Benny & Carson. I was born in 1967, and even I got Benny. They’re both timeless. I doubt many of today’s comics (personalities) could translate to another time so well.

    So don’t knock me for wanting the Dean Martin Variety Show & the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts on DVD.

  5. Dave says:

    Except for the Stooges, the best comedians by far, are those that are understated. It’s almost like they don’t get their own jokes.

    Jack Benny
    Bob Newhart
    And the original guy from MST3K….Joel Hodgens?

  6. CharlesH. says:

    Ditto with the last shot. Makes me wonder if it was intentional….

  7. Jeff says:

    Someone was making fun of the graphics when you posted one of these frames before… but at the time, that was fairly advanced stuff.

    There was no such thing as electronic graphics back then: no Vidifont, no Chyron. (Heck… Ampex sold CBS the very first production videotape recorders only five years before this episode!) Your art department would hand-draw the graphics in white on a black art card, and it would be set in front of an easel and shot with a studio camera. The technical director would do a “non-additive mix” to incorporate it into the live video.

    We used to have a special typewriter in the control room with a white film ribbon: you would type whatever you wanted to roll (credits, for example) onto a roll of black plastic; then this would be put onto a motorized belt that moved it past a camera at a regular speed. You could also rig the whole thing to do a crawl (the same idea, but the text would go horizontally).

    It used to be very difficult to accomplish very little… nowadays it’s very easy to accomplish very little. ;o)

  8. Lars Walker says:

    I actually did read the encyclopedias at our house (they were a different, inferior brand), for lack of much else available in the reading material department. I’ve still got a fair amount of trivia stuck in my head from all that.

    And if my parents hoped we’d read them, I’m pretty sure they eventually regretted it.

  9. DrBear says:

    What I never understood was where the little folders with the passwords went when they were dropped down the slots after each game. Was there some conveyor belt or long series of slides sending them to who knows where to be reused? Or did they just pile up on the floor next to the midget who pushed the words up during the Lightning Round?

    PS – after the laughter over “MISER” died down, Jack still managed to top it with his inevitable clue: “ME!”

  10. GardenStater says:

    We had the World Book, from the late 60s. IIRC, my mom bought them from a door-to-door salesman. Remember them? I can still remember the Fuller Brush Man, and a vacuum salesman who demonstrated the Electrolux by spilling a bag of dirt on the rug and vacuuming it up. Amazing!

    And the cover of the World Book was off-white and dark green, with gold foil lettering.

  11. roger h (bgbear) says:

    I probably said this before but, I watched that show daily before I was even started school, I could not of understood it completely.

    I believe Password introduced me to Betty White long before the Mary Tyler Moore show and of course Betty was married to Allen Ludden.

    I love Jack Benny, I saw “It’s a Mad, mad. . .World” again the other night and I laugh every time he makes his cameo. So that was Joan, adopted I believe.

  12. Bryan says:

    On fire today, James – I laughed a bunch.

    Our World Book Encyclopedias were from 1972. I used them for tons of stuff, including a paper on Zebulon Pike.

    That first Password set looks like the Daleks should be chasing Ian and Barbara through it.

  13. Ryder Duncan says:

    In the shot of the first set, it does look as though Alan is coming out of a warp pipe. “Hello! Its-a-me! Alan!”

    Hello? Nobody? *crickets* Maybe I’m a little too young for all you folks. ;)

  14. Rob says:

    We had the 1964 World Book. I did read it. I think my reading the encyclopaedia probably spoke more to my lack of friends than to my quest for knowledge. Yeesh! I had to be a real nerd to consider the World Book escapist literature. Well, if the shoe fits…

  15. Irish Al says:

    My parents still have our 1960s World Book, and I *did* read them all, out of interest rather having to for schoolwork.

    And Childcraft too.

  16. Anon Anon says:

    Our World Book Encyclopedias were green as well. Although the supplementary books were black. My mom must have bought the whole shooting match. We got Annuals which were like yearbooks for national and world news and a series that looked like slimmed down encyclopedias but were topical: dogs, math, dinosaurs, arts and crafts, childrens stories from around the world. I did read the main encyclopedias and liked them but I loved the topical series. I never cracked open a second Annual.

  17. At my house, somehow we ended up with Encyclopædia Brittanicæ, whose little Britishisms bollixed up my spelling programme for yærs.

  18. roger h (bgbear) says:

    Anne Bancroft could never fall in love with such a geeky guy like that after all she married Mel Bro. . .oh, never mind.

  19. Those kinescopes must have been done from a circular screen. Too bad about the other shows being lost; I guess nobody thought too much of posterity caring about current game shows. Makes you wonder what legacy we’re currently leaving for people in 2050. Is there enough archiving going on?

  20. SCOTTtheBADGER says:

    Childcraft was cool, I did read all of them!

  21. Chrees says:

    Just finished watching “Lolita” which was released in 1962. Interesting to compare his look here to his role as Humbert…very different.

  22. Mikey NTH says:

    The Red Green Show (CBC – and PBS) had a segment based on this. Always funny.

    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati.
    (When All Else Fails Play Dead)

  23. Mikey NTH says:

    Robber: “Your money or your life!”
    Benny: Deadpans.
    Robber: “Well?”
    Benny: “I’m thinking, I’m thinking.”

  24. GardenStater says:

    “…Ladd had that smart-guy shine …”

    Alan Ladd apparently took over hosting duties at “Password” after Allen Ludden left.

  25. lkh says:

    Allen Ludden was a native Wisconsinite, born and buried in Mineral Point. I wonder if Betty ever visits.

  26. CecileG says:

    Oh, I loooved Password! I think I watched mostly in the afternoons, I still love words and word games. Bought a home version of Password but no one in the family will play with me. Also watched 20,000$ Pyramid in college. Thinking about my childhood TV viewing, it was probably Password that offset the brain damage caused by Gilligan’s Island, F Troop, Petticoat Junction, etc. Password and the old movies shown on The Million Dollar Movie at 4pm in the nyc area. I can still see the opening credits. Also watching the horse racing from Aqueduct and Belmont with my grandfather, I knew all the jockeys names. Remember What’s My Line? Kitty Carson, Orson Bean, etc. I don’t remember any celebs on Password, though.

  27. ChristaC says:

    Ah, Password…and the days when things were delivered. We lived in the juncture between the suburbs and the country, so we were fair game for everyone who sold door to door. We had (besides Fuller Brush) an Avon Lady, a Cook Coffee Man, Omar Bakery, Golden Guernsey Milk Delivery, Charles Chips (delivered in returnable cans), Culligan Water softener (delivered huge tanks which he carried to the basement) and a Prudential Insurance man with a big ledger in which he would write down my parents’ premium payments each month.

    My children and grandchildren don’t believe that all of these people brought stuff to our house!

  28. Gina says:

    I seriously need to work on my facial recognition skills. I thought Jane Fonda was Ann-Margret and Johnny Carson was Don Adams. And I didn’t recognize James Mason at all behind that mustache!

  29. Ag80 says:

    Ah, Password. Loved it as a kid, love it now. Being the victim of the economy, I’ve been watching the newer versions on GSN while trying to secure my future. Elizabeth Montgomery and Robert Foxworth were on today. With a little sleuthing, I probably can figure out the year.

    And World Book. One of my greatest memories as a child. I absolutely loved World Book. I read everyone from the 1966 edition, A to Z, until I was about 11. I really liked the Yearbooks with the updates on the articles and recent events.

    Also, Childcraft. I consumed those books. Even tried, unsuccessfully, some of the crafts.

    I guess my parents must have sprung for some extras, because I also had this contraption that came with the encyclopedias. If I remember correctly, it was a device that you loaded paper discs into. A question would appear in an impossibly small window. Then, with a click of a lever, a question would appear. Click again, and you could answer if you had very small handwriting. Click again and you got the answer.

    I loved that thing. It’s a wonder I’ve never been on Jeopardy.

  30. Dave (in MA) says:


  31. George says:

    My father was a contestant on Password at about this era. His celebrity partner was Van Johnson and they lost. It’s a favorite family story.

    My other Password memory was when Felix and Oscar were on.


  32. mpbk says:

    So what are the names of the people in 8 & 20? I was born a few years after this was aired, so I have no clue.

  33. grs says:


    The “miser” is Jack Benny. The earlier one is his daughter, although she wasn’t really a celebrity in her own right. Was it some celebrity-and-child special episode, James?

    Jack Benny’s schtick (or part of it) was that he was very cheap. Check out Mikey NTH’s post up above for one of Jack Benny’s famous lines.

  34. Ross says:

    I love the old Password and the panel shows: they completely explode the myth that good manners and civilty are necessarily “stiff” and “phony”. Paradoxically, these old kinescopes also show celeb’s making gaffes that a modern, supposedly “real” show(or the celeb/their publicist) would _never_ allow.
    On encyclopaedias, we did read them for fun(I also loved the dictionaries that had occasional paragraphs explaining the nuances of meaning/usage among a group of synonyms). Can’t recall the brand: they were smallish, gold bound with(I think) a burgundy panel on the spine, and included a yearly almanac that kept coming even years after we’d all stopped using them much.

  35. John F. Opie says:

    Hi -

    I got into trouble in school with three other kids back when (ok, 4th grade) as we were in the back of the classroom with an Enyclopaedia Americana (Frick Grade School in Pittsburgh…1965 or so) and read that instead of paying attention to the teacher, who had something like 40 kids to watch over and was immensely relieved that we were so quiet in the back. We got terrible grades and were all sent to the school psychologist for testing. Turned out we were all just fine, and I remember how disappointed I was that the teacher moved us away from that corner and I was only on volume 11…

    And Jack Benny rulez. Carson is God, but let’s not forget some of the other brilliant comedians of the age: Don Rickles was absolutely frackin’ brilliant…

    And finding these on the internet almost makes it worthwhile putting up with penis enlargement spam. Nope, take that back: it is worthwhile.

  36. Hilda says:

    It looks like Barry Nelson was the other celebrity with Joan Crawford. He was one of my favorites. “Mary, Mary.” “To Tell the Truth.”

  37. C. Wingate says:

    Dark green and cream with gilt lettering, and our edition was 1969. We also had three year books and a Childcraft set, AND my father’s old 1941 Compton’s too. I devoured them all, but then I was a hypernerd, dorky glasses and all.

  38. Karen says:

    Wow — I must be really old. Our World Books were bound in dark red (leather?). My favorite visuals were the flags of other nations and the ethnic dress of other nations. I really wanted to move to ..Romania?…and wear those gypsy outfits.

  39. Cuneo says:

    C. Wing, you are correct. Our World Books were that color, though around 62-63., and the Childcrafts were were gray. I think Jackie Child’s law office in Seinfeld has a set of these on his shelf that are being passed off as law books.

  40. ncastlen says:

    Ag80 – you’re referring to the “Cyclo-Teacher”. I still have ours!

    Our family had the cream/dark green World Book set. The Childcraft series was my favorite part.

  41. Thom says:

    We had the early 60s version of the World Book Encyclopedia (with the dark green/white cover). I was one of the geeks that DID sit around and read them. We upgraded to the mid-70s version (with the dark brown/ivory cover) and I then read all of them. We also collected the World Book Year Book series. I wish I still ahd those! After my father passed, I collected the set of encyclopedias before the evil stepmother could get rid of them and still have them and still read them.

    Sometimes, you just gotta have a book to hold…

  42. Patty D. says:

    Dave, it’s Joel Hodgson. Close.

  43. MacSmiley says:

    How interesting the capture of Jane Fonda is, now that she’s blogging and all a-twitter at the ripe young age of 71.

    I’m a little confused about whom these sentences refer to:

    “Oh, the unnamed woman above you didn’t recognize? She was the daughter of this fellow.”

    If you meant Jane Fonda, then certainly Jack Benny was not her father. Are you missing a link or another image for “this fellow” in your post?

    Or are you referring to little girl in the Tonette commercial? I doubt she was Jack Benny’s adopted daughter, either. Joan Benny was old enough to stand in for her mother, Mary Livingstone, when stage fright prevented her from performing. Livingstone retired from show business in 1958, whereas this show aired in 1962.


    One more thing. If, by gamin, you mean to say Ann Bancroft looked like a street urchin, then yes. If you meant to say she was impish and tomboyish, then the word you’re looking for is ‘gamine’. You see, instead of the encyclopedia, I read the dictionary. :-)

    Otherwise, thank you for a wonderful trip down memory lane, Mr. James. See you around Twitter.

  44. MacSmiley says:

    Doh! I get it now. The OTHER unnamed woman (#8) was Joan Benny? Jane Fonda was the unnamed woman in #6.

  45. Larry says:

    The World Book came in 3 grades or binding. The premium binding was white. The middle grade was red (I believe) and the lowest grade (the one in the school library) was blue.

  46. LudoRex says:

    Go back and look at the Anne Bancroft episode. At the 14:50 mark, she uses sign language to sign “C-O-Z-Y.” Her attempt to cheat goes unnoticed by everyone. “60-second challenge?” Have you forgotten? It’s called the Lightning Round!

  47. ykw says:

    Jack Clark was the sotto-voce announcer (who occasionally filled in for Ludden when he was busy acting or with College Bowl activities or whatnot).

    And Joan Benny was =something= of a celebrity — although more famous for being famous and having famous relatives than for any personal achievements. A little bit of modeling, a little bit of acting, performing the live version of the Benny radio show after her mother began refusing to attend tapings (Mary’s voice was later dubbed in, although at least one episode — the final original broadcast — circulates with Joan’s voice undubbed), and an recurring gig on the daytime network To Tell The Truth — that’s about the extent of her “celebrity”.

  48. Tonette says:

    As a young boy from ages 5-11 in the 1950′s, my mother gave me numerous home permanents, for which TONETTE was her favorite for me, and kept my shortish blonde hair curled with pins, clips and rollers. Everytime I saw a commercial such as this one, I felt flushed with panic and degradation. I still feel a shake and shivers as I sweat even looking at the pictures.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!