Pantomime Quiz

"Pantomime Quiz" was an American television game show produced and hosted by Mike Stokey. Running from 1950 to 1959, it has the distinction of being one of the few television series -- along with "The Arthur Murray Party", "Down You Go", and "The Original Amateur Hour" -- to air on all four TV networks in the US during the Golden Age of Television.


Based on the parlor game of Charades, "Pantomime Quiz" was first broadcast locally in Los Angeles from 1947 to 1950, and in that format won an Emmy Award for "Most Popular Television Program" at the first Emmy Awards ceremony. The competition involved two teams of four contestants each (three regulars and one guest). In each round, one member acts out (in mime) a phrase or a name while the other three try to guess it. Each team had five rounds (in some broadcasts, there were only four); the team that took the less amount of time to guess all phrases won the game.

Home viewers were encouraged to send in suggestions for phrases to be used in a telecast. Those that were actually used earned cash for the people who sent them; a bonus was given if the team trying to solve it could not do so within two minutes.

U.S. national broadcast history

The program aired on ABC, CBS, DuMont and NBC from July 3, 1950 through October 9, 1959, mostly as a summer replacement show.

On September 17, 1962, "Pantomime Quiz" returned to the air, this time on CBS as "Stump The Stars", with Pat Harrington, Jr. as the emcee. Stokey replaced Harrington on December 10, 1962, and held onto those duties (as well as being the program's producer) until the end of the series on September 16, 1963. The next year, Stokey hosted a short-lived syndicated version of the game show.

The durable game show returned for a fourth broadcast run, this time in syndication as "Mike Stokey's Stump the Stars", from 1968 to 1970. Once again, it was hosted and produced by Stokey.

A decade later (1979) came another short-lived attempt at reviving the format, but with a few tweaks and a new name, "Celebrity Charades". Jay Johnson was the host. The syndicated series lasted only one year.

Yet another variant (also named "Celebrity Charades") was presented by Hilary Swank and husband Chad Lowe on AMC in 2005. Swank, Lowe, and director Bob Balaban were the producers; Lowe doubled as the host. In the AMC version, each team has its own room in which to compete. One player from each team is sent to midstage (actually the middle of a New York City loft apartment) to retrieve a phrase to be acted out in his/her team's room. When the team guesses the phrase correctly, the person making correct guess is sent out to midstage for another clue, and so forth, until five phrases are guessed. The first team that guesses the phrases' common theme wins the game.

Regular panelists

Some of the "stars" who were regularly "stumped" on "Pantomime Quiz" or "Stump the Stars":

* Carol Burnett
* Sebastian Cabot
* Robert Clary
* Jan Clayton
* Hans Conried
* Jackie Coogan
* Peter Donald
* Diana Dors
* Beverly Garland
* Rocky Graziano
* Dorothy Hart
* Adele Jurgens
* Stubby Kaye
* Milt Kamen
* Richard Long
* Ross Martin
* Vincent Price
* Elaine Stritch
* Dick Van Dyke

External links

*imdb title|id=0042130|title=Pantomime Quiz
* [ "Stump the Stars" episode guide] at Classic TV Info.

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