"My occupation as a game show creator/producer is a strange calling in life. However, I had visions of creating radio and television games, and so did Bill Todman, so we teamed up and took on the challenge together. We had a love-hate business partnership. If I loved an idea, he hated it, and vice-versa. If we agreed, one of us wasn't doing his job."
"If I could do it over again, I would probably not have gotten into television. I likely would have done stage theater. I never watch television myself, and when I do, it's usually PBS."
"Creating a new game show is not like creating a new film or television show. With those, you have things to work with. For a new game show, you have a completely blank piece of paper. A completely new concept comes out as often as a new sport, and think of how many new sports have been invented in time. Not many."
"A good game show invites the viewer to play along. A good game show will have the viewer shouting at the TV."
“If you can't explain a concept in one sentence, it will never work.”
"A good game show must actively involve the viewer. A good game show seeks the simplest, sparest framework. A good game show will have the viewer talking out loud to the TV."
"He's sweet, he's a great listener, he has a remarkable capacity for understanding." - Mark Goodson on Bill Cullen
"Live television was like flying without a net, we never knew what would happen. I remember Eddie Fisher as a mystery guest saying, 'Any rumors you hear that Elizabeth and I are breaking up are lies.' Another mystery guest, Judy Garland, had the show's staff chewing its nails when she wobbled in just before she was supposed to go on, with her hair in a riot of curlers, and promptly repaired to her dressing room. I was about to take her place, when she came over to me and asked, 'How much time do we have?' I said, 'Fifteen seconds, Miss Garland,' and she replied, 'So what's the rush?' and walked onstage."
"We were very poor, when I was 14 [my father] bought a chicken ranch in Hayward [ Calif.] which failed miserably and he lost it in the Depression. My memory was always of where to eat, who would pay the rent, five-day-old bread, secondhand clothes. I loathed that idea. There was a whole feeling of catastrophe right around the corner." - Mark Goodson on his childhood
"When I first went to work, if somebody had guaranteed me a job at $10,000 a year for life, I would have grabbed it because security was everything. That and never going back where you came from. Money never became to me things I could buy; nor the ability to purchase a boat or 50 watches. Money to me gave me an overwhelmingly strange sense of security. It is a symbolic sense of achievement and control of the world. There's something I must confess, although it sounds cocky. Environment controlled me; I was helpless in it. I want to control it, have authority, not be at its mercy, have dignity."
"I didn't know anything about sports, I bluffed my way through for 26 weeks. Then they told me the real money was in describing ball games. I bought a book called The Rules of Baseball." - Mark Goodson on hosting The Jack Dempsey Sports Quiz in 1941
"I was impressed that he was rich enough to live on Park Avenue and own a Buick," - Mark Goodson on first meeting Bill Todman
"What kind of contestant are we looking for? It takes a type, we want hype and we want enthusiasm, personality and a little reasoning ability. And you can't fake it. It has to be there!"
"We subject an idea to internal battering. I don't want to suddenly wake up and say, 'Oh, I forgot that.' I never get angry at people in our company who poke and poke and say that something's not going to work. Most people in the game show business settle too early. They get a concept and dash forward with that idea, and every once in a while it works. With us, by the time we are ready with something, it may not be great, but it's been through the kind of white hot heat that makes it better."
"Great games are like great sports, they are very hard to come up with."
"I'm really quite helpless at a cocktail party, a real schlepper. I feel most comfortable of all in an office or the studio I feel I belong there; I truly come to life."
"There's a vast, pluralistic society out there and the dial is its weapon. There are millions of people out there who love to watch game shows." - Mark Goodson defending himself against television critics
"We're kind of faceless celebrities. When people see us together they say, 'What? You guys actually exist? I though you were like the Smith Brothers.'"
"Sports and our type of game are very close. They are based on reality, not fiction. When you watch a game you sense this real, this is not Cary Grant cast in the role of a quarterback and I've seen this beore. It has a life sense. The unexpected is why people like games."
"A show should also be a natural, hit at a kind of chord in a person where there's an instantaneous response. The Price is Right has instant curiostity. What's something worth? It's a universal concept. What's My Line? What's a man do for a living?"
"A good game show is far better than a stuffy, pretentious, second-rate documentary. I say to hell with people who say, 'I hate those guys and I hate game shows.' It's like saying, 'I hate those music, I hate plays.' What plays? What game shows? It's almost like racial prejudice. Judge the individual show!"
"One of the secrets of our success is that we take the game show as seriously as if we were painting a Picasso, or making an ashtray."
"Password was the closest to a genuinely made-up idea. It's a grandson of the charades concept but a tremendous improvement. The trouble with charades is that tricks and techniques of communication developed which were extra-game. On TV, too, they have celebrities competing against celebrities. Who cares who wins? We've forced the celebrity to communicate with a stranger at a level shared with the public. There is an essence in that game, a reaching out, a straining to communicate. It's like the dribble in basketball. It's a painful restriction. But the straining can't be too painful. That's why I felt the big quiz shows would have played out in six months even without the scandals. They were a gladiatorial contest. You lost and they threw you to the lions. Every week they would have to hypo it up, increase the flagellation, the sweating of the forehead."
"The secret ingredient of our business is creating and developing new games and keeping them fresh and live."
"When you start out to develop a game, you must hit on some new element to work on, not merely a carbon copy. The surest way not to be successful is to try to imitate success. Oddly enough, people want to buy a brad-new, thoroughly established idea. What we did was to take the players' games and make them into watching games. Gin rummy is an excellent game, but not to watch. It's all internalized. We have to develop a game as players. The question is: Will it be amusing to watch as well? Meetings where people kick things around don't work. You must have something to start with."
"I'm a pretty good comer-upper with ideas, and I'm a shaper. In the game field I go to the workroom and become an artisan. The hydraulic machinery used on Password. The size of the printing in the words themselves. The position of the MC. The theme song. The tone of the announcer's voice. I am concerned with the smallest detail. Someone once asked me what I do in the film business. Worry, I told him. But I like to put on my suede shoes and walk through the studio."
"I'm a perfectionist who, above all, hates to be exposed in public. I am more terrified of failure than anxious for success. If anything, I'm too critical. I hate failure. I loathe it. This makes things difficult in my personal life. I don't ski or gold as a result. I don't do too many things. It may not make me such a great guy to live with. I'm an introvert. I'm really afraid that people won't like me. I'm passive. In a group I'll go off in a corner if the rest of the people are doing something I can't do, rather than blunder. What I do, I do aggressively. I'm a darn good dancer. I play the drums. What I can't do, I retreat from rapidly. I'm never satisfied. My lack of satisfaction is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness."
"If all the game shows held their prize money to $1,000, I don't think it would affect the ratings one bit. Greed plays a minimal role. The most important aspect of a game show is the person's desire to be seen."
"Goodson was in love with Showoffs, so he asked his staff to rework the idea." - Tom Kennedy
“I’ll never forget…In the beginning, Mark Goodson used to write these long memos to the producers saying, ‘What is Rayburn doing? He’s getting laughs! He’s getting laughs!' He thought that was terrible because he thought that the most important thing was the game.” - Gene Rayburn
“Mark Goodson…could take a bad idea and turn it into a good one. He could take a good idea and turn it into a blockbuster. He had that talent.” - Gene Rayburn
“My favorite (moment) was…Some time in the 1970s, Match Game hit the highest rating in the history of daytime television. And (Mark Goodson) came out…I used to do a lot of flying in those days because I lived in the east and worked (in Los Angeles). And he came out and gave me a needlepoint bag. I used to do needlepoint back in those days because flying got to be boring." - Gene Rayburn
“There was resistance from Goodson in the beginning. It was a weak format that needed to be goosed up in some way. My way was to do it with humor.” - Gene Rayburn
"I submitted a color scheme that was not being currently used for a game show - royal blue, cream and orange (shag carpet). In description it is a little garish, but used in broad, bold strokes, it still achieved a certain style and taste level that appealed to Mr. Goodson, who was personally a very stylish and tasteful man." - James J. Agazzi
"The only thing Mark enjoyed more than creating game was playing them." - Betty White
"Mark Goodson-One of a kind, and a good friend." - Betty White
"As well as being the Man in Charge, Mark was also a friend. In the begging days of Password, when Allen was going through his desperate days after losing Margaret, he deeply appreciated Mark's personal concern and support. They would often have dinner together when Allen finished taping. Successful as Mark was, he was not the happiest of men in his personal life. He was always searching for something that continued to elude him - a lasting relationship. He was very social and host a lot of parties, both company gatherings and small private groups. Sooner of later during the evening, Mark would find me, to talk out his latest romantic derailment." - Betty White
"Mark Goodson had a great talent for games and television" - Bob Barker
"Mark Goodson was a smart businessman, a generous soul, and the one who brought me to The Price is Right." - Bob Barker
"This is a very sad time for The Price is Right family. We've lost Mr. Mark Goodson, the creator of our show. Mr. Goodson, a legendary figure in television. Was respected throughout the industry and we shall miss his guidance in the years to come." - Bob Barker on the death of Mark Goodson
"In Mark Goodson, you have on of the industry's greatest picker-overs. I'm primarily involved in being a sounding board. Basically, Mark's in charge of production. I handle the contracts, sales, economy, budget; the minutiae. We complement each other. Mark's a little more pessimistic. In a negative way he makes a very positive contribution. Mark and me are very interesting chemistry. We argue constantly. If we both agree, one of us is not doing anything. I am very, very beholden to my partner."
"Mark had an idea for a show called Winner Takes All. I changed it to Winner Take All. We auditioned the show for $15 including breakfast at Longchamps. And we went our way. In 1946 I called Mark. 'I got a sale,' I told him. Winner Take All was on for three 15-minute periods a week and $150."
"The game show, is television's only unique, creative contribution to American culture."
"We're not a dictatorship. The dial is as democratic as a vote. You don't have to like it, but to attack us...."
"Americans loves games."
".... is that the audience can identify vicariously with the dynamic few [the panelists], as the baseball fan identifies with Mantle or Mays. There is a continuity of recognizable players. They don't always have to be successful. Casey Stengel still has enormous appeal. The audience also has to be for certain people, against others, as in sport, the negative quality becomes positive." - Bill Todman, adding another reason for the popularity of game shows.
"The sign of a good game, is when you don't have to explain it every day. The key is not simplicity, but apparent simplicity. Password looks like any idiot could have made it up, but we have 14 of our people working on that show. There is a great complexity behind the screen. It requires great work to keep it simple."
"I'm basically complex, multifaceted. I have an exaggerated concern for our people. I'm troubled when they come in with their problems. Knowing a little about medicine has helped me. If the other guy has pain, sorrow, he needs a pat on the back. I don't think the only time you should talk to anther person is when he's done something wrong."
"I love the challenge of translating and transmitting an idea of ours to the uninitiated person on the outside. A game show is never a bound book. It is a loose leaf, rather. We are always adding and subtracting pages. A live program is kind of an amoeba. It has the same genetic strain, but the highlights are constantly changing."
"I have a fantastically scientific mind, both environmentally and genetically. I come from a methodical background. I'm terribly, terribly orderly. This job is not easily put away. You go nowhere, meet no one who isn't an expert on what's good and bad in television. You're in the water spigot business; you close shop and you're not in the water spigot business. Here you're always in the office.
“He was always a writer, even in college, he wrote plays, and for the newspaper. His creative calling got the best of him.” - Bill Todman, Jr.
“Bill was the guy who would talk to the agents, to business affairs. The ability, in those days, to negotiate with the networks was a very special skill. When we approached them with an idea, there was a real open atmosphere. They welcomed us in nicely. Once they showed an interest in something we pitched, Bill would come in and do the negotiations. He was very instrumental in that company becoming very, very wealthy. He was also a great guy to be with socially.” - Bob Stewart
“Bill is kind, generous, somewhat dismayed by me. We have our own groups, but we are certainly friends. He would be the man I’d come to instantly in time of trouble. My tendency is to give a man a raise according to his merit. The way to get a raise from Bill is to need it.” - Mark Goodson
“He was a delightful man. He personified a man you might aspire to be: a gentleman, personable, successful, handsome and very intelligent. He had the attributes to sell you anything, and the intelligence to sell it beautifully. On one of my first days there, we chatted alone. His kindness and flattering remarks, that he’d admired my work [as host of Truth or Consequences] made me feel very comfortable, very much at home.” - Bob Barker
“With the original group of programs, it was always answering questions, he was like a sponge. No matter what the topic was, if there was knowledge, he was interested. He had a marvelous sense of humor, and he liked fun, that also drew him. But it was mainly answering questions — and you were probably out of luck if you thought you were going to beat him at it.” - Lisa Todman on why game shows appealed to her father
“You could talk to him [Bill Todman] any time, he was there if we needed something. And the Goodson-Todman accounting was impeccable. We never went over budget, and we made a lot of money from their honest bookkeeping. They were very, very fair-minded partners.” - Andrew J. Fenady
“They were incredibly entertaining mental exercises, you could not watch a Goodson-Todman game show without finding yourself participating — you just had to. They were the class act of the western world.” - Betty White on Goodson-Todman shows
"Goodson-Todaman's position as the number one game factory didn't happen by chance."Devloping" a new game to sell to a network (hopefully) and making sure the game worked. From my standpoint, those practice session were invaluable, to get easy with the game. I soon discovered there was a major difference between playing a game and being the guy in the middle. I had the best tutor in the business, Mark himself." - Betty White
"Mark Goodson and Bill Todman built game shows into such a major industry that they became almost an art form" - Betty White