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Down You Go
Format Game show
Presented by Bergen Evans (1951-1956)
Bill Cullen (1956)
Country of origin  United States
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel DuMont (1951-1955)
CBS (1955)
ABC (1955-1956)
NBC (1956)
Original run May 30, 1951 – September 8, 1956

Down You Go is an American television game show originally broadcast on the DuMont Television Network. The Emmy award-nominated series ran from 1951-1956 as a prime time series hosted by Dr. Bergen Evans. The program aired in eleven different timeslots during its five year run. It would also be one of the few series eventually shown on all four major television networks of the Golden Age of Television: ABC, NBC, CBS, and DuMont.[1]

Contents

Format

Down You Go was similar to "Hangman", with a group of four celebrity panelists who were asked to guess a word or phrase submitted by a home viewer. The phrase "down you go" came about when a panelist would be eliminated from play for making an incorrect guess, which would be signified by the eliminated panelist pulling a handle to switch their name to "DOWN YOU GO".[2]

Among the regular panelists were comedian Fran Allison, journalist Phyllis Cerf, editor Francis Coughlin, actress Patricia Cutts, actress Carmelita Pope, actor Boris Karloff, author Jean Kerr, and athlete Phil Rizzuto.

History

The series debuted on May 30, 1951 on DuMont.[2] Down You Go aired on Wednesday nights from 9 to 9:30 until July, when it moved to Thursdays. The program was moved to Friday at the start of the 1952-1953 television season. During the Summer of 1952, it aired on Fridays at 8; in October 1952, it would be moved back to a 10:30 time slot. The series was shuffled around DuMont's schedule (Wednesdays at 9:30, then 10, and finally Fridays at 10:30) until May 20, 1955.[1]

Down You Go has been described as "one of the wittiest, most intelligent panel shows on television".[1] The popular series was nominated for an Emmy in 1953, in the category Best Audience Participation, Quiz, or Panel Program.[3]

When the struggling DuMont network cancelled Down You Go — along with most of its other series during the summer of 1955 — rival network CBS briefly picked up the series for the summer. Host Bergen Evans and some of the panelists stayed for the new CBS version, which aired from June 11 to September 3, 1955. After twelve days, Down You Go returned to network television, this time on ABC, which aired it until June 4, 1956. NBC then aired the program beginning on June 16.

This makes Down You Go one of only four programs to air on all four "Golden Age" television networks (the other three being The Arthur Murray Party, The Original Amateur Hour, and Pantomime Quiz).[4] The NBC version starred new host Bill Cullen and featured celebrity panelists Jayne Mansfield, Jimmy Nelson, Hildy Parks, and Arthur Treacher. The final program aired on September 8, 1956.[2]

Episode status

Only one episode of Down You Go is known to exist. Although various kinescope episodes of DuMont series survive at the UCLA Film and Television Archive or at Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications, there are no copies of Down You Go known to be among either of the archives.[5] In 1996, television actress Edie Adams testified at a hearing in front of a panel of the Library of Congress on the preservation of American television and video. Adams stated that little value was given to the DuMont film archive by the 1970s, and that all the remaining kinescopes of DuMont series were loaded into three trucks and dumped into Upper New York Bay.[6]

The one episode known to exist is from the 1955 CBS run, although nothing is said during the show to directly support this. In fact, only a brief promo for The Loretta Young Show, airing the following night "on another network", hints at the network of origin.

Foreign versions

The BBC aired their own version from January 1, 1953 to 1954, hosted originally by Marcus Dick and then by Roy Rich beginning in April 1953.[7] Notably, Evans-era regular Patricia Cutts was a regular on the British version as well.

No episodes are known to have survived.

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.
  2. ^ a b c McNeil, Alex (1980). Total Television (4th ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
  3. ^ "Advanced Primetime Awards Search". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 2005. http://www.emmys.org/awards/awardsearch.php. Retrieved 2007-09-24.  
  4. ^ Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). p 1045 New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1.
  5. ^ Ingram, C. (2002). "The DuMont Television Network Historical Web Site". Retrieved January 22, 2007.
  6. ^ Adams, Edie (March 1996). "Television/Video Preservation Study: Los Angeles Public Hearing". National Film Preservation Board. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/film/hrng96la.html. Retrieved 2007-09-24.  
  7. ^ UK Game Shows: "Down You Go"

References

  • McNeil, Alex. Total Television. Fourth edition. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8
  • Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1

External links

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