|Created by Ira Skutch|
Presented by Bert Convy
|Directed by Paul Alter|
Country of origin United States
|Narrated by Jack Clark (1974)John Harlan (1974)Gene Wood (1974–78)Johnny Olson (1974, 1982–84)|
Composer(s) Edd KalehoffJonathan Segal
Tattletales is an American game show which 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, with Olson announcing during the 1980s.
- Format 1
- Format 2
- Broadcast history
- Episode status
- International versions
- In popular culture
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 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 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 the other celebrities that played the game were Jay Leno and his wife Mavis, Michael J. Fox and his girlfriend Nancy McKeon, Leslie Nielsen and his wife, Tommy Lasorda and his spouse, 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 later version more frequently featured non-romantic couplings than the original run; the later 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.
A pilot was produced in 1972 titled Celebrity Matchmates and was hosted by Gene Rayburn, who at the time was hosting CBS's Amateur's Guide to Love. By the time the show was sold to the network in early 1974, Rayburn was already hosting Match Game (also a Goodson-Todman production). Bert Convy became host of Tattletales, while Rayburn and his wife were frequent guests on the show, and Rayburn filled in as host when Convy and his wife Anne played the game.
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. Back to back episodes of the 1974-1977 version of Tattletales can currently be seen on Buzzr Wednesday mornings at 7 & 7:30 ET.
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 1979–80, and was produced by Reg Grundy. The show was cancelled just after being on the air for three months.
A Brazilian version of Tattletales ran on SBT from 1975–86 under the name Ela Disse, Ele Disse ("She said, He said") hosted by Silvio Santos.
In popular culture
Tattletales was satirized in a first-season episode of SCTV as 'Celebrity Tattletales', with Prince Phillip (Joe Flaherty) and Queen Elizabeth (Catherine O'Hara) being asked questions by Bert Convy (Eugene Levy) about their personal lives.