Beat the Clock (1979-1980)

This was a revival of an earlier Goodson-Todman show — one that, as I mentioned here, I never liked. I didn’t like the original with Bill Collyer. I didn’t like the 1969-1974 revival hosted by Jack Narz and later by Gene Wood. I didn’t like this version, which was hosted by Monty Hall. And though I never saw the short-lived 2002 revival hosted by Gary Kroeger, I’m pretty sure I didn’t like it, either; not if it consisted of people having to do silly stunts before a clock ran down.

Audiences didn’t warm to the 1979-1980 version either — not on TV and not even in person. You can see the desperate attempt to bolster ratings in the above tickets. The show changed from Beat the Clock to All-Star Beat the Clock, which it did by bringing celebrities in to attempt the stupid timed feats. Needless to say, “all-star” was a bit of an overstatement. You don’t get real stars to go on television and attempt to catch marshmallows in their ears while sitting on a skateboard and balancing a bowl of live guppies…in 45 seconds. The show also tried the Tattletales gimmick of having the putative celebrities play for the studio audience, thereby helping to fill the seats. Rumor has it they still had trouble filling the house. Even the homeless folks decided they’d rather go hungry.