GAME SHOW TAPES
One of favorite pastimes of game show enthusiasts is videotape trading. Rare collections of episodes not available on Game Show Network are a lightning round enthusiast's delight.
S O U R C E S
Shokus Video and Video Yesteryear are two sources of rare game show episodes. The Shokus catalogue features compendiums of three and four shows to a tape in SP speed. Many of the episodes are from the "live" era of prime time network games in the 1950s. Video Yesteryear offers several single-show tapes, including one of the few surviving episodes of It's News to Me, the Goodson-Todman panel show hosted in the summer of 1955 by Walter Cronkite on CBS.
G U I D E L I N E S / T I P S
A few guidelines for videotape trading: videotaping episodes of game shows (such as those offered on GSN) for the express intent of operating a for-profit resale business is a clearly illegal enterprise and a violation of copyright law. Trading of episodes in which money is exchanged to cover the costs of videotape and mailing has been upheld by the courts and Video magazine has, for several years, offered a tape-trading section for collectors to advertise desired episodes to swap.
Another tip: never, ever, ever send cash to even your most acquainted trader. A history can be written (including one by me from two years back where I was without my checkbook and made the foolish mistake of sending cash to a trader whom I never heard from again) of traders who lost dollars in lost mailings or at the hands of dishonest people.
Finally, never cash a trader's check which has arrived in your hands until you have delivered the goods and are sure it has arrived in their hands. Ask for e-mail or snail mail conversation that your tape has been received by the other party.
P A S T _ C O N T E S T A N T S
With the advent of the World Wide Web and Game Show Network, a host of people are searching for episodes in which they or perhaps their parents or grandparents appeared on shows of the past. Even celebrities and their children or close friends have sought some of these long-thought forgotten shows.
In some instances, I have been able to search my collection and find these episodes---with great pleasure. Nothing is any more exciting than bringing together people with their past. In one instance, the son of a much-beloved emcee of the past---who has now passed on---made contact with me and I had a rare episode of his father's work. The host's granddaughter had never seen her grandfather perform. Those are priceless matchups.
However, for past contestants (or children of past contestants) seeking such episodes, let me offer this advice:
- Game Show Network will not make copies of its episodes. Those shows are the property of Pearson TV or GSN's other suppliers. Pearson or the other distributors will not make copies either, no matter what you offer.
- In some rare instances, if you know the approximate date/year in which you or a loved one appear, GSN may be able to tell you the air date of that episode. However, be patient. Their library notes do not include who specific contestants were who appeared. If you or your relative appeared on a celebrity game show, let GSN know that information.
- A number of the other websites with links in the Convention Center are owned by enthusiasts with large tape collections. Check with these webmasters via e-mail to see if they may be of help.
- Some series are lost and gone forever, with the exception of some scattered episodes which have turned up in traders' collections. Among them are most of the Chuck Woolery Wheel of Fortune episodes, the 1971-75 ABC version of Password, the black-and-white CBS daytime episodes of Password from 1961-66, most of the NBC library from the 1970s, and the Tom Kennedy Name That Tune shows from the 1970s. NBC has never released any kinescopes of the Hugh Downs version of Concentration and will not license it or any of the Goodson-Todman versions of Concentration to Game Show Network. Why? Only NBC knows.
M Y _ C O L L E C T I O N
My game show collection now consists of more than 2,400 episodes. They date all the way back to the early 1950s. The collection includes a massive number of shows from GSN's five years on the air---enough to drive my wife crazy.
When possible, I do my best to accommodate people seeking trades or episodes where they or relatives have appeared. Here is where the collection is located:
Steve's Game Show Collection
Here are my guidelines and suggestions:
GSN has brought back many of our memories. However, a few golden gems are circulating among rabid game show enthusiasts. Good luck in your search!
- The tape list is being recompiled this summer.
The one currently listed is only a partial catalogue.
- I love helping people reconnect with their pasts in this way. However, I am a college professor, not a teenager, nor a person with a lot of idle time. During the university year, I will likely not be prompt in processing requests. Please be patient, even if the request takes weeks to determine if I have the show or the time to duplicate it.
- If you are seeking a show with a relative or you from the past, please let me know the exact year and approximate month of the appearance. If you know a specific celebrity who was on the show, that may help (such as a celebrity partner on Password or a mystery guest on What's My Line?).
- Please don't offer me huge fees for research time in my archive. It's tempting and one party once held out the figure of $500 for me to search. That would be crossing the line into illegality for this type of venture. Second, I'll either tell you if I think I have it or I don't. And I'm a very pleasant person.
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