tried to memorize and recall the location of hidden correct answers on
a nine-box game board.
beginning of a new stage in Bill Cullen's career. The
Price Is Right, his most successful show, had ended its
run, and I've Got A Secret was coasting
through its last couple of seasons. The scandals had ended
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,
their hosts were no longer big stars, at least not to the degree they
been before. Aside from a four-week run of I've
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
world of first-run syndication.
Bill had changed too, of
Once introduced as the "bright young comic", he was now as witty as
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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