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You Don't Say!: Wikis


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You Don't Say!
You Don't Say!
You Don't Say! logo from the Jim Peck version.
Format Game show
Created by Ralph Andrews
Presented by Tom Kennedy (1963-1969, 1975)
Jim Peck (1978-1979)
Narrated by Jay Stewart
John Harlan
Country of origin  United States
Running time ~22-26 Minutes
Original channel NBC (1963-1969)
ABC (1975)
Syndicated (daily, 1978-1979)
Original run 1963 – 1979

You Don't Say! is an American television game show that had three separate runs on television. The first version aired on NBC daytime from April 1, 1963 to September 26, 1969 (with a nighttime run in 1963-64). Years later, ABC ran a revival from July 7 to November 28, 1975 (replacing The Money Maze). A final version appeared in syndication during 1978-79, but was cancelled after thirteen weeks. The last two incarnations were executive produced by Ralph Andrews and produced (with Gary Hunt) and directed by Bill Carruthers.

The initial NBC broadcasts were produced by Ralph Andrews-Bill Yagemann Productions in association with Desilu Productions (later Paramount Television). Ralph Andrews Productions produced both of the 1970s versions, with the ABC version produced in association with the Carruthers Company and Warner Bros. Television.


Hosts and announcers

The original version and ABC version of YDS! were hosted by Tom Kennedy; Jim Peck hosted the syndicated version. Jay Stewart and John Harlan announced for the show (Stewart, on the earliest episodes of the original; Harlan, the rest of the original and its two subsequent revivals). Stewart also served on the show's production staff during his tenure as announcer.

Similar to the announcer's function on Password, either Stewart or Harlan would whisper the name being guessed, along with a little description.


Composer Rex Koury was the musical director for the 1960s version of the show, leading a small combo in the studio consisting of organ, percussion and harp. Koury would play appropriate music after each name was guessed, or a generic "win cue" when the game was won.

Stan Worth composed the theme for the 1970s version, called "Downwind".

NBC format

Two celebrity-contestant teams competed. The object was to convey the name of a famous person by giving clues, leading to words that sounded like part of the person's name (towards the end of the NBC run, places were also used as subjects). The contestant then had to sound the words out to figure out the person in question. The celebrities were not allowed to use anything that might give away the answer or to give a clue that would lead to the proper name of the person. They also could not say the clue to the contestant, with the penalty being loss of control for any violation. Each correct guess won a point, with three points winning the game.

Example: The name is "Tinkerbell"

  • Clue #1: The part of the car that contains fuel is the gas... (tank)
  • Clue #2: The automobile is more commonly called a... (car)
  • Clue #3: George Washington is on the one-dollar... (bill)
  • tank-car-bill= Tinkerbell
  • Note that proper names could not be given as clues. So, a contestant could not say "Our president who was married to Jackie Onassis was named John F..." to get "Kennedy"
  • Clue-givers were also not allowed to describe a word that is spelled like part of the name.


  • Clue #1: A person who can't hear is... (deaf)
  • Clue #2: The fifth letter of the alphabet is... (E)
  • Clue #3: When you park your boat, you tie it to the ... (dock)
  • deaf-e-dock= Daffy Duck

Bonus Board

The winning contestant played the Bonus Board for a chance at $300. A famous name (sent in by a home viewer) was given to the celebrity, who tried to convey the name to the contestant by way of clues. Guessing the word on the first clue won $300 (plus a new car, usually a Pontiac, if the player won the front game 3-0, known as a "blitz game"). The second clue netted $200, and the third, $100. If the contestant was playing for a car, the celebrity was not allowed to help the contestant on the first clue, but was permitted to help on the second and third clues. Otherwise, the celebrity could help on all clues.

Home viewers whose Bonus Board clue led to a "blitz game" car win also won a special prize. At one point the home viewer prize was 100,000 Top Value trading stamps, later increased to one million stamps.

Players on the daytime edition stayed on until losing twice or winning seven times (NBC's limit at that time). On the primetime edition, two new players competed for the entire show, with a trip going to the player who won the most cash.

ABC format

When You Don't Say! returned in 1975, it also returned with a new format, influenced largely by the success of CBS' Match Game. The two teams were replaced by two individual players competing with the assistance of four celebrities on a panel.

The celebrities once again tried to convey the identity of a famous person or place to the contestants. One celebrity gave a clue to the controlling contestant, who had five seconds to guess who it was with a correct word guess. If it wasn't guessed, the next celebrity in line gave a clue to the next contestant. This continued until one player guessed the word, with a maximum of four clues. A correct guess on the first clue was worth $200, and decreased in $50 increments for each clue needed afterward. $500 won the game and a chance to win $10,000 more at the Bonus Board.

Bonus Board

In this new bonus game, a contestant was faced with the task of giving the clues to four famous names or places to the celebrities. The contestant had a maximum of six (originally five) clues to give to the stars. If a celebrity guessed one name correctly the contestant won $500. The contestant won $1,000 if two names were guessed correctly and $2,000 if three names were guessed correctly. If four names were guessed correctly the contestant won $5,000, however if each of the celebrities guessed the name after only one clue (four clues in total) the contestant won $10,000 (which only happened once during the show's brief run, on its last episode). Players competed until either losing twice or exceeding ABC's winnings limit of $20,000 (but contestants were allowed to keep winnings up to $25,000).

Syndicated format

Two contestants on the Peck version.

Peck's version was played very similar to the ABC version, but with a few changes to accommodate the syndicated series (since the then-standard process of "bicycling" tapes shuffled the airings from city to city and made returning champions impractical). Two contestants played on Monday and Tuesday of a particular week, while two more played on Wednesday and Thursday. In a tournament fashion, the highest scorers from those games played each other on Friday. Instead of cash being awarded on a scale for each correct answer, every answer scored only one point, regardless of the number of clues necessary, with five winning the game. Correct answers were worth $100 apiece on the Monday-Thursday shows and $200 on Fridays, but these payouts were not reflected in the scoring.

If the game ended in a tie due to time running out, the player who needed fewer clues during the course of the game was declared the winner. The Bonus Board was played for a flat $5,000 in cash on Monday-Thursday, with the Friday game being played for $10,000 in prizes. The Friday one was harder than the ones used for from Monday-Thursday.

Scheduling history

YDS! joined the network's afternoon lineup in spring 1963 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern/2:30 Central. For most of its run, it competed against the popular CBS soap The Edge of Night, which led it in the ratings. However, weak competition from numerous ABC soaps helped keep YDS! afloat for a solid five years. This changed, however, when ABC started a hit soap at 3:30/2:30 in July 1968, One Life to Live. In what may have been the largest housecleaning of its daytime schedule ever, NBC dropped YDS! and three other games, Personality, Eye Guess, and the original Match Game before the begininng of the 1969-70 season. Taking its place on the lineup was a soap titled Bright Promise, which ran until 1972.

Six years later, with CBS' revival of Match Game bringing celebrity games back into popularity, Andrews managed to interest ABC in a similar revival of YDS! Kennedy, ten days after ending a three-year stint helming ABC's Split Second, once again stepped up to the podium on July 7. However, the 4 p.m./3 Central timeslot, at which many affiliates either tape-delayed the network feed until the next morning or preempted entirely, garnered low ratings for the show, despite facing NBC's soap opera Somerset and two low-rated CBS games, Musical Chairs and Give-n-Take.

The Edge of Night had been CBS' lowest-rated soap since its 1972 move to 2:30 Eastern/1:30 Central. With As the World Turns set to expand to a full hour, CBS decided to get rid of the 19-year-old show (which debuted on the same day in 1956, and was packaged by the same company, Procter and Gamble Productions, as ATWT). In the first instance of a daytime serial moving to another network, P&G agreed to CBS' terms, and sold Edge to ABC, who decided that the only viable slot for that show, given its long history of attracting audiences other than housewives, was 4/3. Desperate to get some affiliates back on board, ABC banked on the show's instant familiarity. Therefore, on November 28, YDS! ended its five-month run, giving way to Edge the next Monday (as a result, a special Christmas week of shows with children playing, which Tom even plugged on-air, was never seen).

The Peck version did not sell to many markets. The few stations which did buy it ran it in non-peak slots, never in proximity to primetime (save for WPIX in New York, which aired it at 8:30 p.m. as part of a primetime syndicated game show block, as did KHJ-TV in Los Angeles). With little if any promotion, the show folded up after about a half season.

Local versions

Before its NBC premiere, You Don't Say! was given a trial run as a local show on Los Angeles station KTLA from November 1962 to early 1963, with Jack Barry as host. Barry was still in exile from the networks in the wake of the 1950s quiz show scandals and was replaced by Tom Kennedy when NBC picked up the show.

The 1975 revival was also given a trial run on KTLA, airing on Sunday nights from April to June 1975, originally with L.A. radio personality Clark Race as host and Kennedy as a regular panelist; Kennedy replaced Race – and Race became a regular panelist – later in its brief run.


Goodson-Todman Productions sued YDS! packager Andrews-Yagemann during the NBC run because they thought that the format was too similar to G-T's Password. Although Goodson-Todman did not win the case, they did win an unusual concession from Andrews-Yagemann: Kennedy's podium on You Don't Say! had to be moved to the end of the playing table from the center where it originally stood, since the original set layout did indeed look very similar to that of Password.

Episode status

The 60's Kennedy version status is rumored to be destroyed as they were recorded over by NBC with new programming in the 70's when videotape was expensive. The show always aired in color. A monochrome kinescope of the 5th daytime episode, and a handful of color episodes, are all known to exist. The 1975 versions more than likely suffered the same fate as the 60's version, but a few episodes of that version also exist.

The syndicated version was recently found to exist in its entirety (it had been presumed lost), and is in the possession of television producer Mark Phillips' company, Mark Phillips Philms and Telephision.

External links


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