|Name:||Mark Leo Goodson|
|Born:||January 14, 1915|
|Birth Hometown:||Sacramento, California|
|Died:||December 18, 1992|
|Place of death:||New York City, New York|
|Known for:||Specializing in game shows|
Mark Leo Goodson (b. January 14, 1915 — d. December 18, 1992) was a successful American television producer who specialized in game shows. He was the dominant half of Goodson-Todman Productions.
His shows continued to dominate both the Game Show Network/GSN and Buzzr lineups due to his company saving most of their shows while other shows by other companies were wiped to reuse the tapes.
It was also mostly famous with the name, logo and announcement at the end of his shows with the tagline "This is (insert announcer) speaking for (insert show), A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman/Mark Goodson Television Production!"
Life and early career
Mark Goodson was born in Sacramento, California on January 14, 1915. His parents, Abraham Ellis and Fannie Goodson emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s. As a child, Goodson acted in amateur theater with the Plaza Stock Company. The family later moved to Hayward, California. Originally intending to become a lawyer, Goodson attended the University of California, Berkeley. He financed his education through scholarships and by working at the Lincoln Fish Market. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1937 with a degree in Economics. That year, he began his broadcasting career in San Francisco, working as a disc jockey at station KJBS. In 1939 he joined radio station KFRC, where he produced and hosted a radio quiz called "Pop the Question" in which contestants selected questions by throwing darts at multi-colored balloons.
In 1941, Goodson married his first wife, Bluma Neveleff, and moved to New York City, where he teamed up with partner Bill Todman. The pair's first radio show, Winner Take All, premiered on CBS in 1946. Outside of television production, Goodson and Todman went on to own several newspapers in New England as well as radio station KOL in Seattle, Washington. Bill Todman died in 1979, and in the early 1980s, the Goodson's acquired the Todman heirs' portion of the company.
Goodson had two children, Jill and Jonathan (1945–), by his first wife Bluma, and a daughter, Marjorie, by his second wife Virginia McDavid. In the early 1970s, he married his third wife, Suzanne Waddell, who had once been a guest on What's My Line?. Goodson also had a brother, Marvin (November 6, 1918–July 7, 2007), who was an attorney.
Goodson and long-time partner Bill Todman produced some of the longest-running game shows in US television history. Their first television show, Winner Take All, debuted on CBS television on July 1, 1948. The long list of Goodson-Todman productions includes Beat the Clock, Family Feud, Match Game, Password, Tattletales, The Price is Right, To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret, What's My Line?, and Card Sharks. The shows endured through the decades, many over multiple runs, because of Goodson's sharp eye for production and presentation.
While Todman oversaw the company's lucrative businesses outside of television, Goodson handled the creative aspects of producing game shows. The people who worked for the company and created most of the Goodson-Todman shows were pivotal to the success of those shows. Goodson-Todman executives Bob Stewart, Bob Bach, Gil Fates, Ira Skutch, Frank Wayne, Chester Feldman, Paul Alter, Howard Felsher, Ted Cooper, Jay Wolpert, and others were instrumental in making the shows successful. Goodson-Todman was involved with the 1969 pilot of The Joker's Wild, along with creator Jack Barry, but severed ties with Barry shortly afterward.
The company proved itself to be masterful at games but were not as successful when they tried other fields of television programs, including the anthology dramas The Web and The Richard Boone Show, a talk-variety show for famed insult comic Don Rickles – and what was possibly the company's biggest failure, a sitcom entitled One Happy Family.
Goodson-Todman Productions were also involved with three westerns: Jefferson Drum (1958–1959), starring Jeff Richards as a newspaper editor in the Old West; The Rebel (1959–1961), starring Nick Adams as an ex-Confederate soldier who traveled to the West after the Civil War (Johnny Cash sang the theme); and Branded, starring Chuck Connors as a soldier who had wrongly been given a dishonorable discharge from the Army.
For many years, the company was headquartered in the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue, New York City, New York. Most of the company's production moved to Hollywood in the early seventies (as did many other production companies), starting with the ABC revival of Password in 1971. The Los Angeles offices were based first at 6430 Sunset Boulevard and later at 5750 Wilshire Boulevard. The company's last New York-based show was the 1980s version of To Tell the Truth, but the New York office remained open and was used for East Coast Child's Play auditions.
A few years after Bill Todman's death in 1979, Goodson acquired the Todman heirs' share of the company, and in 1982 the company was renamed Mark Goodson Productions. Traditionally, shows would sign off with "This is (announcer's name) speaking for (show name). A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production/A Mark Goodson Television Production." To pay off a massive inheritance tax, Goodson's family sold the rights (except for Concentration/Classic Concentration, which had been licensed from NBC) to All-American Television, which was subsequently taken over by Pearson Communications, and, in turn, was acquired by Fremantle which now owns the rights to the library from Mark Goodson Productions. At the close of each episode of The Price is Right since then, the announcer credits the show as "a FremantleMedia Production.". However, the tagline has now been changed to "a Fremantle Production" since 2018.
In 1990, Goodson received the Emmy Award "Lifetime Achievement Award for Daytime Television", which was presented to him by Betty White.
Goodson died of pancreatic cancer on December 18, 1992, in New York City. He is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California, where the inscription on his gravestone is designed to resemble the Goodson-Todman/Mark Goodson Productions logo.
On June 3, 2000; an episode of the A&E series Biography called Will the Real Mark Goodson Please Stand Up? where it profiled his life and career along with featuring many of its hosts, panelists and co-workers such as Betty White, Bob Barker, Gene Rayburn, Kitty Carlisle, Majorie and Suzanne Goodson.
2009 Game Show Awards
On June 6, 2009; an award special that aired on Game Show Network (GSN) called the The 2009 Game Show Awards featured a brief tribute to Goodson presented by Alex Trebek as his daughter Majorie held the Innovator Award.
Commemorative speeches on the death of Mark Goodson
"This is a very sad time for The Price is Right family. We've lost Mr. Mark Goodson, the creator of our show. Mr. Goodson, a legendary figure in television, was respected throughout the industry, and we shall miss his guidance in the years to come". - Bob Barker (1992)
“Folks, we have some sad news to give to you. We’ve lost our creator and producer, Mark Goodson. Mark created several game shows, including The Price is Right, Match Game, and of course, Family Feud. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have had this great show. From all of us here at the Feud, you’ll be missed, Mr. Goodson. We won’t forget you.” - Ray Combs (1992)
Aftermath of Mark Goodson Productions
Three years after Goodson's death, his family sold the rights to the library of shows to All American Television to pay off an estate tax. AATV acquired 50% of the company that year and acquired the rest a year later. AATV was bought out by rival communications company Pearson Television in 1998, which, in turn, was acquired by RTL Group subsidiary Fremantle four years later (at one time, one of the company's predecessors, Fremantle International, was the distributor of Goodson-Todman game shows internationally). Fremantle now owns the rights to the Goodson-Todman library of game shows. While The Price is Right and Family Feud continues in production to this day, other Goodson-Todman shows have found a new life and a new audience in reruns on cable TV's Game Show Network (GSN) and Buzzr. The only omissions from the library are the 1973 and 1987 versions of Concentration, which were licensed from NBC but both version can be seen daily on Buzzr.
Goodson's son Jonathan has continued with new game show concepts. He joined the company in 1973 as legal counsel, but began production work with the company's shows, including the original version of Card Sharks (1978-81); eventually producing the 1990 version of Match Game. He stayed through corporate takeovers until 1998. He left to begin his own production company, Jonathan Goodson Productions, which produces both state lottery game shows and original game show concepts, with 2003's Dirty Rotten Cheater is the newest Goodson game, having already been sold internationally. Another Goodson game, Cram, was produced for GSN (a.k.a Game Show Network) and ran for two seasons.
Goodson-Todman shows continued the Mark Goodson Productions name, logo and announcement at the end of each episode, even though the original production company no longer existed. This practice was ended in 2002 with two of the three programs still in production at the time, To Tell the Truth and Family Feud, and ultimately ended in June 2007 when The Price Is Right stopped using the logo with the retirement of the host Bob Barker.
- From the 1950s until 1967, some shows have the show's title preceding the usual spiel with "This has been a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production, (insert announcer) speaking!".
- Despite being produced by them, the original version of I've Got a Secret hosted by Garry Moore and later Steve Allen never featured the name, logo and announcement of "A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!". Although later on both the shorter-lived 1972 and 1976 versions did.
- The 1954 pilot of Take Your Choice had the Goodson-Todman logo. However, its name nor announcement were never said in the end.
- In the 1956 test episode of The Price is Right hosted by Bill Cullen. Neither the logo, name nor spiel were never said by Don Pardo in the end.
- The 1966 pilot of It Had to Be You (a.k.a the original He Said, She Said & Tattletales) had the tagline that said "This has Been a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production" however, Olson said behind the camera that "It Had to Be You is a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production, this is Johnny Olson speaking! This program has been pre recorded".
- The 1968 revival of What's My Line? had an alternate version of the tagline by saying that "What's My Line? is a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!" said by announcers Wayne Howell & Chet Gould from 1972 until 1975.
- The 1970 pilot "It's Predictable" had the Goodson-Todman logo at the end but the name nor announcement were never said by Olson.
- The 1971 revival of Password (and Password All-Stars) can be heard on some episodes with the spiel saying that "Password/Password All-Stars is a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production, John Harland speaking!"
- For Showoffs, Gene Wood never uttered the word "speaking" in his closing credits, but rather saying that "This is Gene Wood for Showoffs, a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!". However, the standard announcement is presented in pilot #2.
- The original 1976 pilot of Double Dare hosted by Alex Trebek (which aired on Buzzr as part of their "Lost and Found" week on September 9, 2015) did not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement. However, those elements were incorporated later on in the short-lived series until its end on CBS in 1977.
- Occasionally, the announcement is modified for special occasions or a series finale. For example, on a December 31, 1982 episode of The Price is Right, Olson says that "This is Johnny Olson speaking, wishing you a happy new year for The Price is Right, a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!" or on a January 1, 1986 episode of Body Language, Wood says that "This is Gene Wood saying so long for Body Language, a Mark Goodson Television Production! This program has been edited for broadcast!"
- The Mark Goodson Productions logo made its debut on Family Feud hosted by Richard Dawson on August 17, 1982 while on The Price is Right hosted by Bob Barker it debut on March 22, 1984.
- In one of the 1982 pilots of the shorter-lived game show Child's Play hosted by Bill Cullen, the Goodson-Todman logo appears but in the series, the Mark Goodson Production logo made its debut on September 20, 1982 until the end of its run on September 16, 1983.
- In the 1984 pilot of Trivia Trap, a blue commercial card cue that just simply says "Commercial" on it (as you can see down below for details) resembles its background to that of A "Mark Goodson Television Production" logo.
- In the 1985 pilot of Concentration hosted by Orson Bean. Though the logo was still in tact, the name and announcement were never used during the end.
- In a few episodes of the short-lived, 1990-91 ABC Daytime revival of Match Game, longtime panelist Charles Nelson Reilly (sometimes abbreviated as CNR) would sometimes wear a red sweater with A Mark Goodson Production logo on it (as you can see down below here for details).
- The Price is Right was the last surviving show that used the Mark Goodson (& Bill Todman) Production name, logo, and announcement until Bob Barker retired in 2007. The first episode of the 2007–2008 season (Oct 15, 2007) featured the FremantleMedia name, logo, and announcement as in "A FremantleMedia Production!" until 2018, the show now ends with the tagline as in "A Fremantle Production!". All CBS press releases for the show currently refer to the show as "A Mark Goodson Production, in association with FremantleMedia".
- The unsold 1994 lottery-themed pilot of Cash Tornado hosted by Jim Perry had the Mark Goodson Productions logo (similar to Illinois Instant Riches) in gold with a purple background. But the name and announcement were not used.
- Both the MG2 (a.k.a. MG2: The Match Game) and Card Sharks unsold pilots from 1996 hosted by Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing from the 80's primetime soap opera Dallas) and Tom Green (sportscaster and host of ESPN's Sports on Tap) respectively had the Mark Goodson Productions logo intact, however, their name and announcements were not used. The only difference between them while in MG2, the logo was seen as a background for the set, Sharks had a black background instead.
- The 1998 pitch film for the revival of Match Game with Michael Burger featured the Mark Goodson Productions logo in blue but not the name and announcement.
- Although the shorter-lived 1998-1999 revival of Match Game used the Mark Goodson Productions name and logo, an alternate version of the announcement was said by Paul Boland as "This has been a Mark Goodson Television Production for...", followed by the appearance of a Pearson Television logo at the end.
- In the first three seasons (1999–2002) of the current production of Family Feud hosted by Louie Anderson along with the 2000–2002 version of To Tell the Truth hosted by John O'Hurley, The logo was used, but not the name nor announcement.
- The shorter-lived 2001–2002 revival of Card Sharks hosted by Pat Bullard used the "Mark Goodson Productions" name, logo and announcement. However, the pilot from 2000 did not.
- Newer versions of other Goodson-Todman/Goodson properties such as I've Got a Secret (2000-01 & 2006), Beat the Clock (2002-03 & 2018) Celebrity Family Feud (2008 & 2015), Million Dollar Password (2008-09), To Tell the Truth (2016), Match Game (2016-21), Card Sharks (2019-21) and Password (2022) however, did not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement.
- In 2006, the short-lived CBS series Gameshow Marathon, which featured six celebrities playing seven classic game shows for charity hosted by former Actress/Talk Show Host Ricki Lake along with Rich Fields as the announcer and Todd Newton as the Prize Delivery Host featured five classic Goodson-Todman/Goodson properties such as The Price is Right (1972 Version), Beat the Clock, Card Sharks, Match Game and Family Feud along with their recreated sets from their respected original series did not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement.
- In 2006, a short-lived, six-episode reality web series called Road to Price (which originally aired on CBS' Innertube broadband channel from September 20 until September 27, 2006) did not incorporate elements of the logo, name and announcement.
- From 2014 until 2015, the online YouTube channel called Buzzr featured four revivals of Goodson-Todman/Goodson properties such as Family Feud, Password, Beat the Clock and Body Language did not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement.
- In 2014, a short-lived five-episode webisode series The Price is Right Male Model Search (which aired at priceisright.com) did also not incorporate elements of the logo, name or announcement.
- In 2015, during the debut of the show's 44th season of The Price is Right called "Decades Week", the 1970s (Sep 21, 2015), 1980s (Sep 22, 2015) and 1990s (Sep 23, 2015) episodes used both the name and announcement as in "A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production" in the '70s episode and as "A Mark Goodson Television Production" in both the '80s and '90s episodes respectively said by current announcer George Gray. However, its logo was absent as it still uses the "FremantleMedia" logo instead.
Mark Goodson in Popular Culture
The long-running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) spoofed the logo not once but three times.
In 1994, a spoof of the Combs era Family Feud featured a recreation of the logo. However, its name and announcement were not said by the late Don Pardo as it was humorously replaced by saying "This has been Saturday Night Live's 300th Game Show Parody. Congratulations, guys!"
In 2006, a 1970s game show parody called Charades incorporated its very own elements of the logo, name, and announcement with "This has been a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!" despite not being a real game show.
In 2009, a game show parody called High IQ which was merely an academic quiz show with three Brainiac contestants who are being distracted from working out their final answer by crazy sideshow theatrics of the host's acquaintances (played by Tracy Morgan). During the quick end credits, it is briefly mentioned (and seen) by the announcer that "IQ is a Mark Goodson Production, Go Beth Go!".
Shows invented and/or produced
- Beat the Clock (1950-1961, 1969-1974 and 1979-1980 versions only)
- The Better Sex
- Body Language
- Body Talk (Unsold pilot)
- By Popular Demand
- Call My Bluff
- Card Sharks
- Catch Me if You Can (Radio)
- Child's Play
- Choose Up Sides
- Classic Concentration (1987-1991 version only)
- Concentration (1973-1978 and 1985 pilot versions only)
- Double Dare (1976-1977 version only)
- Family Feud (1975 pilot, 1976-85, 1988-95 & 1999-02 versions only)
- Get the Message
- He Said She Said (Original prototype of Tattletales)
- Hit the Jackpot (Radio)
- It Had to Be You (Unsold pilot; later reworked into He Said She Said)
- It's Predictable (Unsold pilot)
- I've Got a Secret (1952-1967, 1972-1973 and 1976 versions only)
- Make the Connection
- The Match Game (1962-1969 version only)
- Match Game (1973-1982, 1990-1991 and 1998-1999 versions only)
- The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour
- Missing Links
- The Name's the Same
- Now You See It
- Number Please
- Oddball (Unsold pilot)
- On a Roll (Unsold pilot)
- Password Plus
- Play for Keeps! (Unsold pilot)
- Play Your Hunch
- The Price is Right (1956-1965, 1972-2007, 1972-1980, 1985-1986 & 1994-1995 versions only)
- Puzzlers (Unsold pilot)
- Rate Your Mate (Radio; also an unsold television pilot)
- Say When!!
- Snap Judgment
- Spell Binders (Unsold pilot)
- Spin to Win (Radio)
- Split Personality
- Star Words (Unsold pilot)
- Stop the Music
- Super Password
- Take Your Choice (Unsold pilot)
- TattleTales (Reboot of He Said, She Said)
- Time's a Wastin' (Radio; later renamed Beat the Clock)
- TKO (Unsold pilot)
- To Tell the Truth (1956-1968, 1969-1978, 1980-1981, 1990-1991 & 2000-2002 versions only)
- Trivia Trap
- TV's Funniest Game Show Moments (1984 TV Special)
- TV's Funniest Game Show Moments #2 (1985 TV Special)
- Two for the Money
- What's Going On?
- What's My Line?
- What's My Line? at 25 (1975 TV Special)
- Winner Take All
Shows based on Goodson-Todman formats
- Beat the Clock (2002-2003 & 2018 versions)
- Celebrity Family Feud (2008 & 2015 versions)
- Gameshow Marathon (2006 special featuring five Goodson-Todman formats with: The Price is Right, Beat the Clock, Card Sharks, Match Game & Family Feud)
- I've Got a Secret (2000-2001 & 2006 versions)
- Road to Price (2006; a short-lived, six episode web series)
- Million Dollar Password (2008-2009 version)
- The Price is Right Male Model Search (2014; a short-lived, five episode web series)
- Dame la Pista (Spanish language version of Child's Play)
- Philly Pheud (local version of Family Feud)
- ¿Que Dice la Gente? & 100 Latinos Dijeron (Spanish language versions of Family Feud)
- You Lie Like a Dog (Animal themed version of To Tell the Truth)
- To Tell the Truth (2016- version)
- Match Game (2016-2021 version)
- Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much (a 2017 TPIR documentary film about Ted "Theodore" Slauson)
- Card Sharks (2019-2021 version)
- About Last Night (a reboot of Tattletales, 2022-present)
- Password (2022- version)