Showoffs (partially lost unaired pilots of ABC game show; 1975)
The logo from the pilot.
Status: Partially Found (Pilot 1)
Found (Pilot 2)
Date found: 19 Jan 2021 (Pilot 2)
Found by: Wink Martindale (Pilot 2)
Showoffs was an American game show that aired between June 30th to December 26th, 1975, on ABC. It was hosted by actor Bobby Van and was created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. The show would be revived for a short time between 1984 and 1986. This show was also the last game show hosted by Larry Blyden before his death two weeks after filming the pilots.
The show's format is two teams of two celebrities, and one contestant competes in a game of charades. One person is guessing what his/her teammates are acting out in 60 seconds, one point per subject, while the other team is in an isolation booth. If the guesser is stuck on a word, they can pass on that word. When the current team runs out of time, the other team comes out of the booth and try and act out the same words the other team got. This happens twice, and the first team with the most points at the end of the two rounds wins the game and goes onto the payoff round.
The payoff is similar to the regular game. Only all four celebrities participate. All four celebrities alternate turns to act out a series of words that the winning contestant has to guess in 60 seconds. Each correct guess is worth $1. When time expires, one celebrity is chosen to act out three words in 30 seconds. Each word added a zero to the winning contestant's score from the previous rounds. Guessing one word correctly is worth ten times the amount of the money, two words are 100 times, and all three words is 1,000 times the money earned. A maximum cash prize that could be won is $10,000.
The show was originally hosted by actor Larry Blyden (who host another Goodson-Todman game show, What's My Line?), and he hosted the pilot that was taped on May 25th, 1975 (originally thought to be May 24th) and the show was picked up by ABC for their daytime lineup.
Sadly just two weeks after filming the pilot, Blyden was killed in a single-vehicle car crash in Morocco; his family was not reached at the time of the crash since Blyden didn't have any identification with him at the time of the crash; he was 49. After his death, the show premiered on ABC with actor Bobby Van hosting.
Out of all the pilots Goodson-Todman made over the years, the Showoffs pilot is the most sought after and for the longest time, it has never been seen by the public, most likely due to Blyden's death. The only footage from the pilot to be released was in an ABC daytime promo for the show that edited out Blyden.
In 2005 as part of VH1's Game Show Moments Gone Bananas, a snippet from the pilot was shown. It was the infamous Honeymoon round.
On December 27th, 2012, 55 never before seen seconds of the pilot was uploaded to YouTube by YouTuber Kookah.
On January 19th, 2021, entertainment veteran Wink Martindale announced on Facebook that the pilot had been found and will be uploaded to YouTube in 13 hours. The pilot was shown to the public at 3:00 pm EST.
In the production slate of the second pilot, it states the pilot as "Show #2", meaning that this pilot is only the second pilot used to pitch the show to ABC. The clips used in the ABC daytime promo may actually be from the first pilot due to different contestants between tapings. However it's unknown when the first pilot was taped and the whereabouts of the first pilot is unknown.
- U.S. Game Shows Wiki page on the unaired Showoffs pilot. Retrieved 19 Jan '21
- Wikipedia page on Game Show Moments Gone Bananas. Retrieved 19 Jan '21
- Archived Larry Blyden's obituary page. Retrieved 19 Jan '21
- Wink Martindale's Facebook page announcement on finding the pilot. Retrieved 19 Jan '21