You're In The Picture (lost second episode of CBS game show; 1961)
You’re In The Picture is a CBS game show that aired for a single episode on January 20th, 1961. The show, hosted by comedian and actor Jackie Gleason, was instantly panned for its poor quality, being ranked as one of the worst television shows ever produced.
The premise of the show was that a life-sized illustration of a pop-culture reference or famous historical scene would be brought out for a panel of four celebrities to place their heads in. They took turns asking yes or no questions to Gleason to figure out what scene the illustration was representing. If they successfully guessed the scene 100 CARE Packages were sent for relief under their name, and if they didn’t the Packages would instead be sent under Gleason’s name. The show was instantly poorly received, going as far as Time Magazine mentioning it as one of the main reasons they viewed the 1960-1961 television season as the "worst in the 13-year history of U.S. network television."
A second episodewas produced and ready for airing, presumably as a pilot or for the following week’s broadcast on January 27th. Instead of the scheduled episode, Gleason did a thirty-minute apology for the poor quality of the series, mocking the format and failure of the show. The apology, while angering sponsors and the network, was a tremendous success and is often looked upon as a highlight of Gleason’s career. Despite attempts to revamp the show, Gleason revived his talk show The Jackie Gleason Show for 8 episodes to fill the rest of You’re In The Picture’s scheduled run.
While both the first episode and apology are available both archived at the Paley Center For Media in Los Angeles, the unaired episode has never surfaced. Given the expensive nature of videotapes at the time and that the episode would not be aired it is assumed that the episode was wiped. However, it has been rumored that Gleason had held a copy.
When Gleason appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on October 18th, 1985, Carson mentioned that he appeared on a taped episode. He also stated that he filmed with Arthur Treacher and Milt Kamen (who also was not present in the first episode). The interview provides the only known information about the lost episode.
- CBS article on the worst television shows; 12 Jul 2002. Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- Time Magazine article mentioning the show; 31 Mar 1961. Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- A SplitSider article on the show and it's archiving at the Paley Center; 20 Jan 2012 Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- Television Obscurities article on the show Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- Paley Center listing for the first episode Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- Paley Center listing for the apology episode Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- Jackie Gleason interview on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Retrieved 22 Oct '17