Concentration Rebus Artists and Prize Models

Paola says aloha to Hugh The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows first edition credits Norman Blumenthal with drawing the rebus puzzles for the original Concentration. Actually, Bernie Schmittke was a rebus artist with the show from beginning to end. Other rebus artists on the original Concentration were Charles Brio, Lou Cuevas and Jean Masse.

The Jack Narz syndicated version marked the introduction of full-color rebus puzzles. The rebuses on the Narz Concentration were drawn by Schmittke, Vern Jorgensen, Bob Owen and Kleng Rude. (Jorgensen and Owen had previously worked as animators. Owen was an animator for Paramount and Batfink creator Hal Seeger.)

For Classic Concentration, Steve Ryan designed rebuses which, when painted on 20×28-inch poster board, didn’t have to be cut apart. Ryan’s rebuses were more whimsical, more colorful and less predictable than those from previous versions of the show. On the CC rebus art staff, Schmittke and Jorgensen were joined by two women: Carolyn Hughes and Suzanne Morales.

Like most good game shows, Concentration used beautiful women to model the prizes. Paola Diva, a brunette almost as tall as Hugh Downs himself, modeled on the original Concentration. Other prize models in 1961 were Annette Cash, Liz Gardner, Marilyn Grey and Pat White (thanks to Aaron Handy III, who sent me the show’s record from the Internet Movie Database). Paola also worked with Bob Clayton, to the very end of the original show’s run. Because of budget constraints, the Narz version had no prize models. Trebek’s version had two blond models: first Diana Taylor, shown below, then Marjorie Goodson. (While working on CC, Marjorie married Tim Cutt, one of the show’s associate directors.)

Alex Trebek with Diana Taylor

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