The Hosts of Concentration
According to The Encyclopedia
of TV Game Shows First Edition, the hosts of Concentration
on NBC were Hugh Downs (August 1958 to January 1969), Jack Barry (1958
prime time), Bob Clayton (January-March 1969 and September 1969 to March
1973) and Ed McMahon (March-September 1969). Substitute hosts were Art
James, Jim Lucas (both of whom had previously been Concentration
announcers) and Bill Mazer.
Downs had other jobs with NBC while
he was host of Concentration: He was the announcer for
Jack Paar on The Tonight Show and an anchor on The
Today Show. (In 1968, Downs won an Emmy® as the host of the
daytime Concentration.) Gene Rayburn was Downs’
competitor at the host audition for Concentration, but
would become more famous as the host of another NBC game show, The
Jack Narz was the host of the
syndicated Concentration, produced by the Goodson-Todman
team. (He was working on another Goodson show, Now You See It,
at the same time.)
In 1985, Goodson produced five Concentration
pilots with Orson Bean as host. In these pilots, contestants played for
cash, matching related words (such as TUNA and FISH) instead of prizes.
The bonus round involved matching prizes instead of cars.
In the late 1980s, Alex Trebek was
the host of Classic Concentration on NBC. In 1991, Trebek
distinguished himself in his field by being the host of three game shows
at once: Jeopardy!, Classic Concentration
and To Tell the Truth.
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