Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Forgotten TV: THE NAME OF THE GAME




The name of the game starred Robert Stack, Gene Barry, Tony Franciosa, and Susan St. James in a terrific little show circa 1968-71.

From Wikiepedia

The series was based on the 1966 television movie Fame Is the Name of the Game, directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Tony Franciosa. The Name of the Game rotated among three characters working at Howard Publications, a large magazine publishing company — Jeff Dillon (Franciosa), a crusading reporter with People magazine (before there was a real-life People magazine); Glenn Howard (Gene Barry, taking over for George Macready, who had originated the role in the earlier film), the sophisticated, well-connected publisher; and Dan Farrell (Robert Stack), the editor of Crime magazine. Serving as a common connection was newcomer Susan Saint James as Peggy Maxwell, the editorial assistant for each.

Each series, within the series, had a slightly different feel to it. Susan Saint James was a breakout star in the series and went on to MCMILLAN AND WIFE, another series within a series and finally to KATE AND
ALLY. Like Mary Tyler Moore, a generation earlier , she caught the attention of everyone.

FAME seemed very sophisticated at the time. After three years Franciosa was let go in favor of a rotating third star. And the show ended shortly after that.


10 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I remember this one well.

Al Tucher said...

Twilight Zone moment! I was just thinking about this show, for no obvious reason.

Todd Mason said...

A rather good sf episode of this one...

George said...

I really liked THE NAME OF THE GAME back in the day.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I would love to see some of these, especially the one directed by Spielberg (LA 2017 is the title I think, back when that seemed so far away in the future ...).

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Hey, Sergio: You can actually buy Spielberg's episode, "L.A. 2017," from a Web site called Modcinema: http://www.modcinema.com/

Cheers,
Jeff

michael said...

This was one of those series that credits can read like a who's who in 60s-70s TV. Writers and producers such as William Link and Richard Levinson (Columbo), Robert F. O'Neill (Mission Impossible, Murder She Wrote), Richard Irving (Quincy), Leslie Stevens (Outer Limits, Search), Dean Hargrove (McCloud, Matlock) George Eckstein (The Fugitive, Banacek), etc.

While Susan St. James was the breakout star in her supporting role, she was not in all the episodes. Early in the series Gene Barry's Glen Howard had his own assistant Andy Hill played by Cliff Potts and Robert Stack worked with Joe Sample played by Ben Murphy. But they were soon gone.

While the three rotating stars was not a new idea, (I think Warner Presents was the first wheel series and Wire Service may have been the first to rotate stars) Name of the Game was the first success at it and encourage networks to try it again with Search, Four In One, Bold Ones, and NBC Mystery Movies.

Yvette said...

Well, you got me, Patti. I don't remember this one at all. I must have seen it - I loved Tony Franciosa. But my brain is blank today. BLANK!

Anonymous said...

We watched the original tv movie and we watched the series. Good stuff.

Jeff M.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Oh, I haven't thought of this show in absolutely years! Thanks for bringing it back for me.