Act It Out
First episode: February 20, 1949
Last episode: August 7, 1949?
Seen Sundays on WNBT-TV New York (Dumont)
Two teams of actors & actresses from current Broadway shows competed against each other in a game of charades. The winning team won a trophy dubbed "the Din-Oscar-Saurus" and returned the following week to compete against a team from another show. The puzzles used on the show were submitted by home viewers; viewers received free tickets to shows if their submissions were used.
This was almost certainly a local NYC series, although nearly every reference book that mentions it offers conflicting information. Sources have it airing as early as 1947 (unlikely), as a NBC network series, and under a variety of different names. The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows says the show began January 19, 1949 as Look Ma, I'm Acting before changing to Act It Out on February 20. That same source also says the show changed its name to Say it With Acting on May 22, and continued under that title until October 22, 1950. A trade ad in August 1949 refers to it as "Say It with Acting (formerly Act It Out)." That ad seems to regard the local show as a test run for a series in search of a network. Say It With Acting was also the name of the 1951 network version that Bill did not host.
We don't know exactly how much of the original run Bill hosted, but in any case, this appears to be his first television series even if it wasn't a network program. Strangely, no vintage newspaper or magazine profiles of Bill make mention of the show.
No episodes are known to have survived.