I've Got a Secret
First episode: June 15, 1976
Last episode: July 6, 1976
Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS
Bill, the one-time panelist, became the emcee for this blink-and-you-miss-it revival of one of TV's favorite panel games. Just like the original show, a contestant, or several contestants, came onstage, whispered their secret to Bill, and answered the panel's yes-or-no questions. Each panelist had a turn, and the game continued until somebody guessed the secret, or until all four panelists' turns were up. This is one of the only game shows that really was "just a game." There was no prize money awarded (although contestants received a stipend for travel expenses). As on the original series, a celebrity guest dropped by with a secret for the panel on each show.
I've Got A Secret was one of three four-week summer series introduced by CBS during the same week in 1976. The others were variety shows, one featuring comic Kelly Monteith and the other featuring the Jackson 5.
The first two shows were shot in the CBS Broadcast Center on September 28, 1975, almost nine months before they aired. These two shows served as pilots, and the panel consisted of Elaine Joyce, Richard Dawson, Pat Collins and Henry Morgan. Drummer Buddy Rich was the special guest for the first show that aired, Rodney Dangerfield for the second. Two additional shows were shot in the Ed Sullivan Theater on June 18, 1976. Phyllis George replaced Elaine Joyce for those two shows, and the special guests were Charles Nelson Reilly and Loretta Swit.
Buddy Rich's secret was that he played the drums while hanging upside down. Rodney Dangerfield introduced a musician whose instrument was his own head, and another who played his hands. Charles Nelson Reilly had a group of people sing their last names, which formed the lyrics to "Yankee Doodle Dandy." And Loretta Swit gave an interview about her life & career, after which the panel had to play a memory game in which they answered questions about the information she revealed.
The show's theme music resurfaced a year later as the theme to an ABC game show, Second Chance.
The week after this series' final episode aired, panelist Richard Dawson hosted his first episode of Family Feud.
Henry Morgan wasn't the only link to the past seen on this revival. Norman Paris, who served as the leader of the original series' live orchestra, appears in the two pilots to assist with Buddy Rich and Rodney Dangerfield's musical secrets. (We suspect that he popped up for Charles Nelson Reilly's secret, too, but we can't confirm that.)
The two pilot episodes (Buddy Rich and Rodney Dangerfield) exist, but only the Dangerfield pilot is widely available among collectors. A homemade audio recording of the final episode also exists.
A knowledgeable source tells us that the master tapes of all four episodes exist; however, this series has never been seen on Game Show Network or Buzzr.