Letters to Laugh-In
is a daytime game show
A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...
's popular nighttime comedy series at the time, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In is an American sketch comedy television program which ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to May 14, 1973. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and was broadcast over NBC...
, that aired on the network from September 29 to December 26, 1969. The show was hosted by Gary Owens
Gary Owens is an American disc jockey and voice actor. His polished baritone speaking voice generally offers deadpan recitations of total nonsense, which he frequently demonstrated as the announcer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Owens is equally proficient in straight or silly assignments and is...
, the announcer for Laugh-In
Home viewers mailed their jokes to the program, during which they were read by a panel of four celebrities – two of them Laugh-In
regulars. Each joke was rated on a scale of zero to 100.
The highest-rated joke that day won the home viewer a prize (such as a trip to Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...
), while the lowest-rated joke won a trip to "beautiful downtown Burbank
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States, north of downtown Los Angeles. The estimated population in 2010 was 103,340....
One particularly notable joke from the program asked the question, "What's the difference between a sigh, a car, and a jackass?" When the other person answered that he did not know, the questioner said, "A sigh is 'oh dear,' and a car is 'too dear.'" When pressed what's a jackass, the questioner responded, "You dear."
Letters to Laugh-In
debuted on September 29, 1969 at 4:00 PM (3:00 Central). It replaced The Match Game
Match Game is an American television game show in which contestants attempted to match celebrities' answers to fill-in-the-blank questions...
, which had been canceled after a seven-year run in that slot. Like Match Game
, Letters to Laugh-In
faced the popular Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows is a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. The show was created by Dan Curtis. The story bible, which was written by Art Wallace, does not mention any supernatural elements...
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...
and reruns of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.The show renders the title as Gomer Pyle - USMC. is an American situation comedy that originally aired on CBS from September 25, 1964, to May 2, 1969. The series was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show, and the pilot was aired as the finale of the fourth season of The Andy...
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...
. Letters to Laugh-In
was soundly beaten in the ratings. As such, unlike the nighttime Laugh-In
(which enjoyed a five-year run on NBC), Letters to Laugh-In
lasted only three months before being canceled on December 26. Its replacement was Name Droppers
, an equally short-lived game that was replaced on March 30, 1970 by the soap opera Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...
Also unlike the nighttime series, the entire run of Letters to Laugh-In
is rumored to have been destroyed
Wiping or junking is a colloquial term for action taken by radio and television production and broadcasting companies, in which old audiotapes, videotapes, and telerecordings , are erased, reused, or destroyed after several uses...
as per network practices of the era.