Bamboozle

an old word for a horrible pilot

Unsold Pilot: (1986)

Chuck Barris Productions in the 1980s was pretty much a non-factor when it came to creating new formats.  His 4 shows that he had in the 80s were revivals of arguably his 4 best shows from the 70s in Treasure Hunt, The New Newlywed Game, The All-New Dating Game & The Gong Show with "True" Don Bleu.  Pilots for other shows were made, but never came to fruition.  Two pilots from this era are floating around in the trading circuit.  One of them is a revival of Dollar A Second, an old 50s stunt show where contestants do various stunts in order to keep the clock going and to make more money.  I'll talk about this pilot later, since it was god-awful.  However, this week I have the second pilot floating around the circuit.  It combines the art of ripping off a very successful show, a hideous logo, set & a host who's better off as an announcer.  It's the pilot simply known as Bamboozle.

Hosting this pilot is Bob Hilton.  Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy Bob Hilton.  I enjoy him as an announcer for great shows in Blockbusters, The New Newlywed Game among other things.  As a host, he's way below par.  He doesn't seem to get the basics right.  He also doesn't seem to gel with the format, nor the others on the show.

But to be perfectly fair, it's easy to see why.  The format is nothing more than a gigantic To Tell The Truth rip-off.  Three panelists, comprised of two celebrities and one contestant ask three people claiming to have done something amazing or is something amazing.  One is telling the truth and the other two are trying to, not fool but bamboozle the contestant.  How do they determine who's the truthful player and who's trying to bamboozle the contestant?

Well, like that other show that Bamboozle is ripping off, the panelists ask the subjects questions.  Now, there's no buzzer or sound that ends the questioning.  Or at least any sound that wound up on the finished product.  The pattern the way the questions are asked is that Panelist #1, or in this case Stuart Pankin asks Subject #1 a couple questions, then it passes onto Panelist #2, or in this case the contestant asks Subject #2 a question or two, then it goes to Panelist #3, or in this case Elaine Joyce and she asks Panelist #3 a couple questions.  After one round of questioning, Panelist #1 asks Subject #2 a question, then Panelist #2 asks Subject #3 a question and finally Panelist #3 asks Subject #1 a question.  Finally, the panelists ask the subjects they haven't questioned yet a question.  Now if you were confused just by reading that, then watching the actual show would give you a migraine and dizzy spells. 

So, basically, there's nothing that sets this show apart from Goodson's superior show.

After all of the questioning, the two celebs give their opinion on who is telling the truth instead of Bamboozling them.  Then after that, the contestant gets the last word on who is telling the truth.  Then after, an admitted cool reveal, we see who's telling the truth and who's been bamboozling them.  If they are right, then they get $1,000 and get to continue playing.  If they get bamboozled or i.e. fooled, then the person who fooled or i.e. bamboozled the contestant wins $1,000 and the contestant must leave the show.  Bob Hilton also said that if a contestant correctly guesses 5 times in a row, they win the car.  But still, if this was the format they decided to go on, it's just outright pathetic.

Let's get to the set quickly before I give my final thoughts.  It's flash, and hideous.  It's ghastly, it's just ugly.   And if you take away all of the neon lights that surround the Subjects, it's just a cheap, basic set that is completely unappealing.  Not only that, the logo for the show is nothing more than a light on the Panelists side.  It just reeks of cheapness.  Oh, I forgot the center light in the middle of the floor that looks like it was ripped from the old Bullseye Logo.  And the music, oh god the music.  Now, if Chuck Barris were to create the music, it would have sounded good.  This just sounds more like pathetic march through the vaudeville stage music than a game show theme from this era.  Hell, even though Break the Bank from 1985 might have stunk, but the theme sounded good.

There ya go.  Bamboozle.  If you're still bamboozled about the pilot, then you're not the only one.  Even watching it back several times again for this induction still leaves my head aching.  Hilton doesn't work as a host, the format is a blatant To Tell The Truth Rip-off, the set is hideous and that's about it really.  Bob would continue to announce The New Newlywed Game before he was replaced by Charlie O'Donnell (R.I.P.), who ironically was the announcer for this pilot and the best thing about this pilot.  When the announcer is the only good thing about a pilot, then you need to go back to the drawing board and try again.