Mark Goodson: Wikis


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Mark Goodson
Born January 14, 1915
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Died December 18, 1992 (aged 77)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Television producer

Mark Goodson (January 14, 1915 – December 18, 1992) was a successful American television producer who specialized in game shows.


Life and early career

Mark Goodson was born in Sacramento, California on January 14, 1915. His parents, Abraham Ellis and Fannie Goodson, emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s. As a child, Mark acted in amateur theater with the Plaza Stock Company. The family later moved to Hayward, California. Originally intending to become a lawyer, Mark attended the University of California, Berkeley, and financed his education through scholarships, and by working at the Lincoln Fish Market, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1937 with a degree in Economics. That year, he began his broadcasting career in San Francisco, working as a disc jockey at station KJBS. In 1939, he joined the now defunct KFRC radio station, where he produced and hosted a radio quiz called "Pop the Question", in which contestants selected questions by throwing darts at multi-colored balloons.

In 1941, Goodson married his first wife, Bluma Neveleff, and moved to New York City, where he teamed up with partner Bill Todman. The pair's first radio show, Winner Take All, premiered on CBS in 1946. Outside of television production, Goodson and Todman went on to own several newspapers in New England, as well as radio station KOL in Seattle, Washington. Bill Todman passed away in 1979, and in the early 1980s, the Goodsons acquired the Todman heirs' portion of the company.

Goodson had two children, Jill and Jonathan (1945 - ) by his first wife Bluma, and a daughter, Marjorie, by his second wife, Virginia McDavid. In the early 1970s, he married his third wife, Suzanne Waddell, who had once been a guest on What's My Line?. Goodson also had a brother, Marvin (November 6, 1918 - July 7, 2007), who was an attorney.

Television production

Goodson and long-time partner Bill Todman produced some of the longest-running game shows in US television history. Their first television show, Winner Take All, debuted on CBS television on July 1, 1948. The long list of Goodson-Todman productions includes Beat the Clock, Family Feud, Match Game, Password, The Price Is Right, To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret, What's My Line?, and Card Sharks. The shows endured through the decades, many over multiple runs, because of Goodson's sharp eye for production and presentation.

While Todman oversaw the company's lucrative businesses outside of television, Goodson handled the creative aspects of producing game shows. The people who worked for the company and created most of the G-T shows were pivotal to the success of those shows. G-T executives Bob Stewart, Bob Bach, Gil Fates, Ira Skutch, Frank Wayne, Chester Feldman, Paul Alter, Howard Felsher, Ted Cooper, Jay Wolpert, and others were instrumental in making the shows successful.

Many of the actual formats were created by producers working for Goodson-Todman.

Goodson-Todman was involved with the 1969 pilot of The Joker's Wild, along with creator Jack Barry, but severed ties with Barry shortly afterward.

The company proved itself to be masterful at games, but were not as successful when they tried other fields of television programs, including the anthology-dramas The Web and The Richard Boone Show, a talk-variety show for famed insult comic Don Rickles – and what was possibly the company's biggest failure, a sitcom entitled One Happy Family.[citation needed]

Goodson-Todman Productions were also involved with two WesternsThe Rebel (1959-1961), starring Nick Adams as an ex-Confederate soldier who traveled to the West after the Civil War (Johnny Cash sang the theme); and Branded, starring Chuck Connors as a soldier who had wrongly been given a dishonorable discharge from the Army.

For many years, the company was headquartered in the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue, New York City, New York. Most of the company's production moved to Hollywood in the early seventies (as did many other production companies), starting with the ABC revival of Password in 1971. The Los Angeles offices were based first at 6430 Sunset Boulevard and later at 5750 Wilshire Boulevard. The company's last New York-based show was the 1980s version of To Tell the Truth, but the New York office remained open and was used for East Coast Child's Play auditions.

A few years after Bill Todman's death in 1979, Goodson acquired the Todman heirs' share of the company, and in 1982 the company was renamed Mark Goodson Productions. Traditionally, shows would sign off with "This is (announcer's name) speaking for (show name). A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production/A Mark Goodson Television Production." Today, FremantleMedia owns Mark Goodson Productions (as well as Reg Grundy Productions).


Foreign versions

Many Goodson-Todman games were produced internationally, some under different titles, and were distributed by Reg Grundy Productions – Family Feud was known in the United Kingdom as Family Fortunes, and Card Sharks went under the title Play Your Cards Right. In Germany, Match Game was known as Schnick Schnack (loosely translated, "something, anything" and used as a counterpart for the word "blank", for which there is no direct word in German).

Most Grundy-produced counterparts of Goodson-Todman games had low payouts, but made up for it with almost-identical sets (such as the 1980s Australian Feud or, in a more accurate example, Blankety Blanks) or unique sets of their own (such as Family Fortunes).

Music and announcers

The music for several Goodson-Todman shows was composed by Bob Cobert. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the bulk of the music for G-T shows was created by Bob Israel's Score Productions and/or Edd Kalehoff. Announcers Johnny Olson and Gene Wood were frequently heard on Goodson-Todman shows. Other announcers over the years included Rod Roddy, Bob Hilton, Burton Richardson, Rich Jeffries, John Harlan, Jack Clark, Jack Narz, Art James, Don Pardo, Bern Bennett, Bill Wendell, Lee Vines, Wayne Howell, Chet Gould, Rich Fields, and Johnny Gilbert. Ed McMahon made his network announcing debut on Two For The Money, where he succeeded Kenny Williams, who would go on to be the primary announcer for the game shows produced by Merrill Heatter & Bob Quigley.


Mark Goodson - Bill Todman Productions (1946-1982)

Winner Take All (1946-1952 for CBS Radio; 1948-1950 for CBS Primetime; 1951 for CBS Daytime; 1952 for NBC Daytime)
Spin to Win (1946 for Radio)
Hit the Jackpot (For Radio)
Rate Your Mate (For Radio)
Time's a Wasting (1948-1950 for Radio)
Stop the Music (1948 for Radio)
Beat the Clock (1949 for CBS Radio; 1950-1961 for CBS Primetime/Daytime and later ABC Daytime; 1969-1974 for Syndication; 1979-1980 for CBS Daytime)
What's My Line? (1950-1967 for CBS Primetime/Radio; 1968-1975 for Syndication, and 1975 as an ABC Primetime special)
By Popular Demand (1950 for CBS Primetime)
The Web (1950 for Radio; 1950-1954 for CBS)
It's News to Me (1951-1953 for CBS Primetime; 1954 for CBS Primetime)
The Name's the Same (1951-1954 for ABC Primetime; 1954-1955 for ABC Primetime)
I've Got a Secret (1952-1967 for CBS Primetime; 1972-1973 for Syndication; 1976 for CBS Primetime)
Two for the Money (1952-1956 for NBC/CBS Primetime/Radio; 1957 for CBS Primetime)
Judge for Yourself (1953-1954 for NBC Primetime)
What's Going On? (1954 for ABC Primetime)
Make the Connection (1955 for NBC Primetime)
Choose Up Sides (1956 for NBC Saturday Mornings)
The Price Is Right (1956-1965 for NBC Daytime/Primetime, later for ABC Daytime/Primetime; 1972-Present for CBS Daytime, originally as The New Price is Right; 1972-1980 for Syndication with Dennis James and then later Bob Barker, 1985-1986 for Syndication with Tom Kennedy, 1986 for CBS Primetime specials, and 1994-1995 for Syndication with Doug Davidson)
To Tell the Truth (1956-1968 for CBS Primetime/Daytime, 1969-1978 for Syndication, 1980-1981 for Syndication, and 1990-1991 for NBC Daytime)
Goodyear Theater (1957-1960 for NBC)
Jefferson Drum (1958-1959 for NBC)
Play Your Hunch (1958-1963 for CBS Daytime, ABC Daytime, NBC Daytime/Primetime)
Split Personality (1959-1960 for NBC Daytime)
The Rebel (1959-1961 for ABC)
Philip Marlowe (1959-1960 for ABC)
One Happy Family (1961 for NBC)
Las Vegas Beat
Say When!! (1961-1965 for NBC Daytime)
Number Please (1961 for ABC Daytime)
Password (1961-1967 for CBS Daytime/Primetime; 1971-1975 for ABC Daytime, and for a short while as Password All-Stars; 1979-1982 for NBC Daytime as Password Plus; 1984-1989 for NBC Daytime as Super Password)
Match Game (1962-1969 for NBC Daytime as The Match Game; 1973-1979 for CBS Daytime as Match Game '7x; 1975-1982 for Syndication, originally as Match Game PM; 1983-1984 for NBC Daytime as The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour; 1990-1991 for ABC Daytime)
Missing Links (1963-1964 for NBC/ABC Daytime)
The Richard Boone Show (1963-1964 for NBC)
Get the Message (1964 for ABC Daytime)
Call My Bluff (1965 for NBC Daytime)
Branded (1965-1967 for NBC)
Broken Sabre
Rider Beyond Vengeance
Blade Rider
Snap Judgment (1967-1969 for NBC Daytime)
The Don Rickles Show (1968-1969 for ABC)
He Said, She Said (1969-1970 for Syndication; 1974-1978 for CBS Daytime/Syndication as Tattletales; 1982-1984 for CBS Daytime as Tattletales)
Concentration (1973-1978 for Syndication; 1987-1991 for NBC Daytime as Classic Concentration, original format devised by Barry & Enright, format currently owned by NBC)
Now You See It (1974-1975 for CBS Daytime; 1989 for CBS Daytime)
Showoffs (1975 for ABC Daytime; 1984-1986 for CBS Daytime as Body Language)
Family Feud (1976-1985 for ABC Daytime/Primetime/Syndication; 1988-1993 for CBS Daytime, and for a short while as Family Feud Challenge; 1988-1995 for Syndication, and for a short while as The New Family Feud)
Double Dare (1976-1977 for CBS Daytime)
The Better Sex (1977-1978 for ABC Daytime)
Card Sharks (1978-1981 for NBC Daytime; 1986-1989 for CBS Daytime and Syndication)
Mindreaders (1979-1980 for NBC Daytime)
That's My Line (1980-1981 for CBS)
Blockbusters (US game show) (1980-1982 for NBC Daytime; 1987 for NBC Daytime)

Mark Goodson Television Productions (1982-1995)

Child's Play (game show) (1982-1983 for CBS Daytime)
TV's Funniest Game Show Moments (1984 Two Specials for ABC)
Trivia Trap (1984-1985 for ABC Daytime)

The Price is Right is still on the air, but is now being produced by different production companies (All-American Television from 1995-1997, Pearson Television from 1997-2001, and Fremantle Media from 2001-Present)

Family Feud is also still on the air, but is now being produced by different production companies (Pearson Television from 1999-2001, and Fremantle Media from 2001-Present)

Post Mark Goodson


Mark Goodson died of pancreatic cancer on the morning of December 18, 1992 at the age of 77 in New York City. He is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California, where the inscription on his gravestone is designed to resemble the Goodson-Todman/Mark Goodson Productions logo.

Aftermath of Mark Goodson Productions

Three years after Mark Goodson's death, his family sold the rights to the library of shows to a company called All American Television in order to pay off a hefty estate tax[citation needed]. AATV acquired 50% of the company that year, and acquired the rest a year later. AATV was bought out by rival communications company Pearson Television in 1997, which, in turn, was acquired by RTL Group subsidiary FremantleMedia four years later (at one time, one of the company's predecessors, Fremantle International, was the distributor of Goodson-Todman game shows internationally). FremantleMedia now owns the rights to the Goodson-Todman library of game shows. While The Price Is Right and Family Feud continue in production to this day, other classic Goodson-Todman shows have found a new life and a new audience in reruns on cable TV's Game Show Network. The only omissions from the library are the 1973 and 1987 versions of Concentration, which were licensed from NBC.

Goodson's son Jonathan has continued with new game show concepts. He joined the company in 1973 as legal counsel, but began production work with the company's shows, including the original version of Card Sharks; eventually producing the 1990 version of Match Game. He stayed through corporate takeovers until 1998. He left to begin his own production company, Jonathan Goodson Productions, which produces both state lottery game shows and original game show concepts, with 2003's Dirty Rotten Cheater being the newest Goodson game, having already been sold internationally. Another Goodson game Cram was produced for GSN and ran for two seasons. Jonathan has the distinction of being the most successful lottery game show producer in the country, with games such as Illinois Instant Riches/Illinois' Luckiest (Illinois), Flamingo Fortune (Florida), Bonus Bonanza (Massachusetts), NY Wired (New York), and The Big Spin (California).

For the sake of tradition, and through special permission from FremantleMedia, certain revivals and/or continuances of the Goodson-Todman shows continued the Mark Goodson Productions name, logo and announcement at the end of each episode, even though the original production company no longer existed. This practice was ended in 2002 with two of the three programs still in production at the time, To Tell the Truth and Family Feud, and ultimately ended in June 2007 when The Price Is Right stopped using the logo with the retirement of host Bob Barker.

  • The Price Is Right was the last surviving show that used the Mark Goodson Production name, logo, and announcement until Bob Barker retired in 2007. The first episode of the 2007-2008 season (15-Oct-2007) features the FremantleMedia name, logo, and announcement. All CBS press releases for the show currently refer to the show as "a Mark Goodson Production, in association with FremantleMedia".
  • The 1998 Match Game revival used the Mark Goodson Productions name and logo, but used an alternate announcement: "This has been a Mark Goodson Television Production for...", followed by the Pearson logo.
  • On the first three seasons (1999-2002) of the current production of Family Feud, along with the 2000-2002 version of To Tell the Truth, the logo and name were used, but not the announcement.
  • The 2001-2002 Card Sharks revival used the Mark Goodson Productions name, logo and announcement.
  • Newer versions of other Goodson-Todman properties such as Beat the Clock (2002) and Password (2008, as Million Dollar Password), however, did not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement.

External links


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