Thursday, June 28, 2007

So What Was This "Cross-Wits" Like, Anyway?

Ralph Edwards Productions struck gold in the late 70's with the one-two punch of the weekly "Name That Tune" and the daily "The Cross-Wits". Based on Jerry Payne's busted "Crossword" pilot you may have seen online, it paired contestants with teams of two celebrities, solving crossword puzzles (more like kris-krosses) that all had a subject. If you or your celebrity partners guessed a word (off some really clever clues and sometimes daffy ones too) you got ten points per letter and additional points if you solved the puzzle. The winning contestant got to pick one celebrity as partner to try to guess ten words in a crossword to win a car.

The late Jack Clark hosted the program, which ran for five years and in many markets (including New York) replaced an earlier Clark-hosted show, "Dealer's Choice". The show was briefly revived in the 80's as "Crosswits".

Copies are very hard to find, but they're in Ralph Edwards Productions' vaults. The company has made brief clips from the program available; so go over there and watch some "Cross-Wits".

1 comment:

RomanHans said...

I was a contestant on Cross-Wits in 1977. I remember little about it except I won (I believe) all three games, which meant I moved on to the bonus round. There I was paired up with Elaine Joyce, who was wonderful. When I won the bonus round we went to hug and I accidently hit her in the bosom. Needless to say, that part didn't air.

Jack Clark was also terrific -- made me feel very comfortable, and extremely good at ad libbing.

I won every prize on offer except a Singer sewing machine: a Brother stereo (more like a table, with a plastic base in classic 70s-futuristic design), Skyway luggage on wheels, a Polaroid camera from Spiegel, an Amana Radar Range, and a trip to London.

Should note that all the trips given away on the program were for one. Total value of all prizes: $1,662. (This was one of the cheaper game shows around.)

My opponent left with a case of motor oil.

Anyway, thanks for the memories!