Tattletales is an American game show that first aired on the CBS daytime schedule on February 18, 1974. It was hosted by Bert Convy, with several announcers including Jack Clark, Gene Wood, Johnny Olson and John Harlan providing the voiceover at various times. Wood was the primary announcer during the show's first run, and Olson was announcing during the 1980s.
|Created by||Ira Skutch|
|Directed by||Paul Alter|
|Presented by||Bert Convy|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||1,075 (1974–78, CBS)|
30 (1977–78; Weekly Syndication)
|Executive producer(s)||Ira Skutch (1974–1983)|
Paul Alter (1983–1984)
|Producer(s)||Paul Alter (1974–1983)|
Mimi O' Brien (1983–1984)
Robert Sherman (1983–1984)
|Running time||approx. 22–26 minutes|
|Distributor||Firestone Syndication (1977–78)|
|Original network||CBS (1974–78, 1982–84)|
Syndicated (weekly, 1977–78)
June 1, 1984
The show's premise involved questions asked about celebrity couples' personal lives and was based on He Said, She Said, a syndicated Goodson-Todman show that aired during the 1969–70 season.
Bert Convy was awarded a Daytime Emmy for hosting the show in 1977. Bert Convy and his wife, Anne, occasionally played the game during the 1970s run, most often during weeks in which the panel was made up entirely of other game show hosts and their spouses. Among the hosts who filled in for Convy during these episodes were Gene Rayburn, Bob Barker, Bobby Van, Jack Narz and Richard Dawson. All five hosts also participated in playing the game along with other hosts such as Allen Ludden, Bill Cullen and Chuck Woolery.
The show changed its format after its first four months on the air. The second format remained for the rest of the show's run, including its later versions.
Production for Tattletales was set up at Hollywood's CBS Television City in either Stages 31, 41, 43. In both formats, the show's set consisted of two parts. One was a desk behind which three players could sit. The other was a small seating area in the rear left corner of the stage, which was used to keep the players not in the game isolated; a sliding wall covered the seating area during gameplay and each player had a set of headphones to block out any noise from the other side of the wall. Usually, the game began with the husbands isolated and the wives onstage. When needed, the offstage players would appear on monitors in front of their spouses.
The studio audience was divided into three color-coded sections: red, yellow (which Convy nicknamed "banana"), and blue, each section of 150 members rooting for one celebrity couple. Audience members in each section divided the money their respective couples won. The couple with the most money at the end of the show won the game, earning their section a $1,000 bonus. In the event of a tie, those sections split the $1,000 bonus. A member of the winning section was also randomly drawn to win additional prizes. Audience members received their winnings in checks distributed as they left the studio.
In the first format, Convy asked the players onstage two questions, which usually started with "It happened at..." or "A story involving..." and then Convy completed the question. After each question was read, a player onstage buzzed-in to answer the question. That player then gave a one- or two-word clue that the spouse would recognize. Convy then repeated the question to the offstage players, appearing on the monitors in front of their spouses, followed by the clue. The offstage player who buzzed in first answered the question, and if the couple's answers matched, they won money for their rooting section.
A correct answer was worth $100 with a one-word clue, and $50 with a two-word clue. Convy then asked another question, usually multiple choice, called a "Tattletale Quickie," to each couple in-turn. On their turn, each onstage player answered the question, and the spouse appeared and answered the same question. If the answers matched, the team won $100. The players changed places in the second round.
In June 1974, the game dropped the first type of question, and questions in the "Tattletale Quickies" format were used for the entire show (though the "Quickies" name was dropped). The scoring format also changed. Each question had a pot of $150, split among all couples who matched ($50 if all three matched, $75 if two matched and $150 if only one couple matched). If no one matched, the amount of the pot was added to the next question. The husbands were first asked two questions, after which the players changed places prior to the second round. The wives were then asked two more questions, with the value of the final question doubled to $300. The syndicated version offered the same; plus, one member of winning rooting section(s) got six different parting gifts.
The guest couples on the premiere episode of Tattletales were Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Bobby Van and Elaine Joyce, and Dick Gautier and Barbara Stuart. Among other celebrities that played the game were Bobby Troup and his wife Julie London, Bill Cullen and his wife Ann, Allen Ludden and his wife Betty White, Orson Bean and his second wife Carolyn Maxwell, Charlie Brill and his wife Mitzi McCall, Scoey Mitchell and his wife Claire Thomas, George Hamilton and his first wife Alana Stewart, Jay Leno and his wife Mavis Leno, Michael J. Fox and his girlfriend Nancy McKeon, John McCook and his second wife Juliet Prowse, Tommy Lasorda and his wife Jo, William Shatner and his second wife Marcy Lafferty, Patti Deutsch and her husband comedy writer Donald Ross, Phyllis Diller and her husband Warde Donovan, James Brolin and his wife Jane Cameron Agee, and As the World Turns co-stars Meg Ryan and Frank Runyeon.
Neither version had a hard rule that the celebrity couples were in fact married or romantically involved, although the 1982 version more frequently featured non-romantic couplings than the original run; the 80s version occasionally aired special weeks with teams consisting of TV couples, best friends, parent-child, and other combinations. On a March 1982 broadcast, Linda Blair stated on-air, in response to a question about romantic preferences, that her playing partner for that week, Jim Atcheson, was a close friend rather than a romantic interest. For one week in February 1975, gay comic actor Dick Sargent and lesbian comedian/author Fannie Flagg appeared on the show as a couple; Flagg was not introduced as Sargent's wife or girlfriend, or even friend, but rather "his lady". Gay actor and director Charles Nelson Reilly was booked on Tattletales during both CBS runs; his playing partner in 1977 was Elizabeth Allen, a long-time friend from his days on Broadway, and his partner on the show in 1982 was Julie Harris, another old friend from Broadway who was married to her third husband, Walter Carroll, at the time the program was produced.
CBS placed Tattletales at 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central) when it premiered, replacing the long-running soap opera The Secret Storm. It formed the last third of an afternoon game show block that also included The Price is Right and Match Game '74.
The show changed time slots three times in 1975. On June 16, CBS moved it to 11:00 AM Eastern time (one hour earlier in other time zones). On August 11, after The Price Is Right returned to the morning, Tattletales moved to 3:30 PM Eastern (one hour earlier in other zones). On December 1, it returned to its original time slot.
On December 12, 1977, CBS moved Tattletales to the 10:00 AM Eastern Time slot (one hour earlier in other zones) in a scheduling shuffle with The Price Is Right and Match Game '77. Tattletales gradually began to lose viewers and ran its 1,075th and final show of the original version on March 31, 1978. It was replaced by Pass the Buck. A weekly nighttime version, syndicated by Firestone aired during the 1977–78 season, but was not renewed.
In 1981, CBS asked Mark Goodson to bring Tattletales back, and it returned on January 18, 1982. It aired at 4:00 PM Eastern (one hour earlier in other zones) until June 1, 1984, when it was replaced by another Goodson show, Body Language.
Both versions of Tattletales remain intact, but only a portion have been seen on GSN: episodes of the CBS run from 1974–77, selected episodes from the CBS run from 1977–78, and several months of the 1982–84 run. GSN never reran the nighttime syndicated version. Episodes of the 1974–1977 daytime version of Tattletales can currently be seen on Buzzr.
Although there was never a home game released to the public, Hasbro did promote a home version of the show in their 1978 catalogue that was sent to retail stores nationwide, but was later scrapped when the show was cancelled in the same year.
An Australian version of Tattletales aired on the Seven Network as Celebrity Tattle Tales, hosted by Ugly Dave Gray for a brief time from 1979 to 1980, and was produced by Reg Grundy. The show was cancelled after being on the air for only three months.
- Braodcasting Individual Issues Guide (02-21-1977 issue)
- "Shows–CBS Television City". Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Ottinger, Matt. "The Game Show Home Game Home Page". Retrieved 25 October 2016.
- "Celebrity Tattle Tales". 1 March 1980. Retrieved 25 October 2016 – via IMDb.