First episode: January 3, 1966
Last episode: September 26, 1969
Seen weekday mornings on NBC
(10:00-10:30 through 1966, 12:30-1:00 thereafter)
 
Contestants tried to memorize and recall the location of hidden correct answers on a nine-box game board.

Eye Guess represented the beginning of a new stage in Bill Cullen's career.  The Price Is Right, his most successful show, had ended its nine-year run, and I've Got A Secret was coasting through its last couple of seasons.  The scandals had ended big-money quizzes years earlier, but now even the untainted game and panel shows had fallen out of favor.  Game shows were no longer a big deal, and their hosts were no longer big stars, at least not to the degree they had been before.  Aside from a four-week run of I've Got A Secret in the summer of 1976, Bill would never again host a network game show in prime time.  Game shows were now relegated to the networks' daytime schedule, as well as the profitable but lower-profile world of first-run syndication.

Bill had changed too, of course.  Once introduced as the "bright young comic", he was now as witty as ever, but a seasoned veteran with two decades of game show experience.  (He was almost 46 years old when Eye Guess premiered.)  As a younger generation of hosts got by mostly on looks, Bill had talent to spare.  It wasn't just that he made it look easy.  To him, it WAS easy, and his less-is-more approach would serve him well over the next two decades.
 

Read the original Variety review from 1966, and note the remarkable factual error about Concentration, which was not created by Goodson-Todman.

A late-night producer once described Johnny Carson's devil-may-care style as "sitting back in the seat and driving with one hand on the wheel".  In the less competitive world of daytime and syndication, Bill worked in much the same way, finding he could operate just as well at the edge of the spotlight as in the middle of it.  In his own words, "I hope never to be a big, really big star. I may never be one in any case, but I've seen too many big names burn themselves out on television."


Nowhere was his relaxed style more evident than on Eye Guess.  The preposterously simple format created its own humor with comically mismatched answers, and Bill added to the fun with irreverent (by 60s standards) shenanigans that showed he wasn't taking any of it seriously, least of all himself.  In the one color episode that survives today, he's seen joking around with off-screen announcer Jack Clark, kidding the contestant who returned from "yesterday" even though it's obvious that they're taping multiple shows, arbitrarily givng extra prizes to players who fared poorly and even bringing humor to the mundane home game plug by showing the camera a Password box instead.

       
The home version of Eye Guess is the only home game that features a picture of Bill on the box.

This was the first game that an independent Bob Stewart produced for network television.  It continued his relationship with Bill that began with The Price Is Right, which Stewart produced for Goodson-Todman, and went on to include seven more games Bill would host for Stewart over the next fifteen years.

 
NBC introduced two new daytime shows the week of October 17, 1966 (The Pat Boone Show and The Hollywood Squares).  As part of the hoopla surrounding their debut, Eye Guess had a special celebrity week with different stars playing the game each day.  Monday's guests were Joan Fontaine and Darren McGavin, Tuesday's stars were Betsy Palmer and Barry Nelson, Wednesday featured Julia Meade and Mel Brooks, Tuesday saw the comedy team of Marty Allen and Steve Rossi, and on Friday, Jack Clark stepped in to host so that Bill could play the game against his wife Ann.
VIDEO        
A single color episode (which aired on GSN) and a black-and-white kinescope of an additional fifteen minutes from another episode are all that are known to have survived.
 
Watch the surviving episode:  

FOR MORE INFORMATION  
The Eye Guess page at Tim's TV Showcase
The Eye Guess page at Adam Nedeff's Bill Cullen's World
The Eye Guess page on Wikipedia
Home game information at The Game Show Home Game Home Page