Rhyme and Reason

Last Update: July 5, 2000 -- photos added.

Airing: 2:30-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, July 7-December 26; 1:30-2 p.m. December 29 on, ABC.

Personnel: Bob Eubanks, host; Jim Thompson and Johnny Jacobs, announcers. Regular panelist: Nipsey Russell. Semiregular panelists: Charlie Brill, Jamie Farr, Pat Harrington Jr., Shari Lewis, Mitzi McCall, Jaye P. Morgan, JoAnne Worley. A W. T. Naud Production.

Description: Match Game with rhymes.

Game Play: Two contestants competed. Host Eubanks read the first line of a two-line rhyming couplet (e.g. "Don’t wear white/On a cloudy day…"), and the two players wrote down logical rhyming words with the word "day." One of the contestants would then choose a celebrity, who would then say two final lines of the couplet (e.g. "…Or you may find your white/Has turned to wet gray.")

Players received two points for every time their response matched a celebrity’s, but their opponent received one point if the celebrity chosen matched their opponent’s response. If both players had the same answer, only the one who chose the celebrity received points. Three points won the game and $250; two games won the match and the right to play for $5,000.

End Game: The champion chose one player as his celebrity partner (generally Nipsey Russell, as Richard Dawson was most often used on Match Game). Eubanks revealed the first two lines of a couplet to the contestant, but not to the celebrity. The contestant then wrote down three possible rhyming words. Following that, in 30 seconds the contestant stated the couplet to the celebrity as many times as possible, and the celebrity filled in the last two lines of the couplet with a different rhyming word every time. Payoffs were $1,000 for matching one of the three words, $2,000 for two out of three, and $5,000 for all three.

Background: Rhyme and Reason debuted July 7 on ABC, replacing The Big Showdown. A distinct clone of Match Game, it even shared some of the same celebrities – Nipsey Russell, Charlie Brill, and Mitzi McCall all appeared on MG occasionally during its run. Bob Eubanks, who had previously run The Newlywed Game on ABC for eight and a half years, hosted his first game with celebrity participants. Debut guests included Barbara Feldon, Robert Morse, and Linda Kaye Henning, as well as Russell, Brill, and McCall.

Reason to Believe: R and R survived its first six months (unlike Showoffs and You Don’t Say, both of which premiered on ABC around the same time), but was moved from 2:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the end of the year. This may have been a fatal move – the show was now up against the first half-hour of As the World Turns and Days of Our Lives, both of which had expanded from 30 minutes within the previous year. Let’s Make a Deal had lost its footing in that time slot during the year (a time slot it had occupied since 1964).

A Reasonable Question: Who is W. T. Naud? R and R’s packager is rarely mentioned before this show aired, except as the cocreator of Blank Check (as William T. Naud, who I assume is the same guy).

My theory – which has no basis in fact – is W. T. Naud was a pseudonym for Dan Enright, Jack Barry’s partner in the latter versions of The Joker’s Wild and all versions of Tic Tac Dough and (most infamously) Twenty-One. Enright didn’t work in the United States for many years after the quiz show scandals, moving to Canada and working there with Screen Gems as sort of a game show "finishing school." Among those working on R and R are Barry & Enright veteran set designer John C. Mula and announcer Johnny Jacobs. Plus R and R has some of the hallmarks of a latter-day Barry & Enright show – the format was inspired by a top-rated show from another packager. (For example, The Hollywood Squares = Break the Bank, Match Game = Hollywood Connection, Family Feud = Hot Potato.) Plus Blank Check, Naud’s other series (maybe) was a Jack Barry production. I’m not saying this is all true – there’s no evidence it is – but it’s an interesting theory.

Side note: many of the behind-the-scenes people on R and R were veteran Chuck Barris staffers. Executive producer Steve Friedman, producer Walt Case, director John Dorsey, host Eubanks, and announcer Jacobs had or would work on The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and other Barris shows. By 1975, Barris’ production company was down to the weekly series The New Treasure Hunt, so they needed to work on something else to keep a steady paycheck. (Either that or W. T. Naud is really Chuck Barris.)

There Goes Rhyming… uh…: Rhyme and Reason had two different theme songs in its run. One was standard game show music, supplied by Score Productions; the other was a game show version of The Amboy Dukes’ "Journey to the Center of Your Mind," a psychedelic rock classic featuring Ted Nugent on guitar.

No Reason to Cry: Rhyme and Reason petered out July 9, 1976, replaced by Richard Dawson’s Family Feud. That show would remain in the 1:30 slot until April of 1977, when All My Children would expand to one hour to take on As the World Turns and Days of Our Lives – a spot it still holds today, 23 years later. The last show is remarkable for how the celebrities handled cancellation, as Charlie Brill, Mitzi McCall, Jaye P. Morgan, and Pat Harrington destroyed the set as the final show progressed, ripping up carpeting, breaking lights, and knocking down Eubanks’ podium.

The Home Game: None was issued. This might have worked better as a home game than, say, the latter-day Match Game, but multi-celebrity games never seem to transfer well to a game played in the comfort of one’s living room.

Reruns: To the best of my knowledge, ABC except destroyed all episodes for a handful traded around, including the final episode.

Revivals: If Match Game can’t be revived, a Match Game ripoff wouldn’t seem to stand much of a chance, would it?

Curt Alliaume, Executive Producer: Pitch the celebrities and bring on the kids. Use a choice of five kids, all on videotape (putting them in the studio is too much pressure). Identify the kids by first name only, and have the same kids for the entire match (after a bit, their personalities well come out). Game play would remain the same. Same for the bonus game, too, except the number of videotaped kids would go up to ten. This is cuteness personified, but if Bill Cosby can make a fortune with Kids Say the Darndest Things, so can I.

My Grade: B-.

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Rhyme and Reason is a copyrighted title of W. T. Naud Productions. This page is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by W. T. Naud Productions, its subsidiaries, affiliates, or successor organizations. No challenge to their ownership is implied. Photos originally appeared on eBay.

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