This is the first unofficial Web site for Concentration, the longest-running daytime game show on NBC-TV. The daytime version ran on NBC from 1958 August 25 to 1973 March 23, longer than any other game show on that network. It was also one of the last NBC shows to switch to full color, in November 1966. It was formerly believed that the network had destroyed or recorded over all of its pre-1978 daytime game shows, including Concentration. Shokus Video is known to have a tournament episode from the late 1960s, and 12 Downs/Clayton episodes and a Narz episode have been found in the UCLA broadcasting archive (thanks to Aaron Handy III for the information). Therefore, television historians now think that the entire daytime run of Concentration has been preserved. Since the U.S. Department of Justice ordered the networks to get out of the TV syndication business, however, NBC may have surrendered the daytime Concentration films, along with several prime-time series, to National Telefilm Associates (now Republic Pictures, part of CBS Corporation).
NBC also broadcast two prime-time series of Concentration: a four-week run in 1958 with Jack Barry (October 30 to November 20) as a quick replacement for Twenty-One, and a five-month full-color run in 1961 with Hugh Downs (April 17 to September 18). In 1968, Downs won an Emmy® as host of the daytime Concentration.
Concentration, based on the children’s card game, was created by Jack Barry, Dan Enright, Robert Noah and Buddy Piper. NBC itself produced the original show; Mark Goodson and Bill Todman produced the syndicated show with Jack Narz. In 1985, Orson Bean was the host of 10 Concentration pilots. The latest version of the show, Classic Concentration with Alex Trebek, was produced by Mark Goodson and aired on NBC from 1987 to 1991.
I set up this site because I grew up watching Bob Clayton and Jack Narz (I am too young to have seen Hugh Downs as the host of Concentration), and Classic Concentration aired while I was a student at South Dakota State University. Even as a preschooler (1969–72) I frequently beat adults at the Concentration home game. Since NBC seems to have lost interest in its most popular game show, I offer a proposal for a new show format. If NBC ever produces its own Gameshow Marathon, Concentration should definitely be among the games.
There have been many home games of Concentration. Milton Bradley was first, putting its “Roll-O-Matic Puzzle Changer” into 24 editions of its home game (numbered 1–12 and 14–25; there was no 13th edition). BoardGameGeek.com credits Jim O’Connor as designer of this game. Pressman made a box game of Classic Concentration, and GameTek made electronic versions for Commodore 64, MS-DOS computers and the eight-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. In late 1998, Endless Games released a new home version of the game show Concentration, with (as I understand) horribly undervalued prizes. According to John Di Donato, Endless Games released a second edition of Concentration in early 2003, with better prizes. In June 1999, Tiger Electronics released a portable Concentration game; I purchased one on September 26 of that year, and it is not perfect.
Other Concentration Web sites are maintained by C. Russell Mason and David Johnson. Joytube has a browser-based Concentration game for one or two players, as does Ted O’Hara. The Concentration format has been televised in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany (as Gewußt-Wo…) and Colombia (as Concéntrese). Harold Lohner has created a dingbat font consisting of frequently used Concentration rebus symbols.
Disclaimer: Concentration is the property of the National Broadcasting Company. No challenge to ownership is implied.