Bob Eubanks made his name on “The Newlywed Game,” a TV game show that pitted married couples against each other in a test of their intimate knowledge.When it debuted in 1966, Eubanks was one of the youngest game show hosts ever. Now 76, he’s seen the show through decades of incarnations and still uses his catch-phrase “makin’ whoopee,” a euphemism for lovemaking that was acceptable to 1960s censors. TV Guide named him one of the top five game show hosts of all time. Saturday at the Clearwater River Casino he’ll host “America’s Greatest Game Show,” where audience members will compete in games from a variety of classic TV shows. Earlier this week he called Inland 360 to talk about the show and his style.
360: What is the most challenging thing about hosting a game show?
Bob Eubanks: To me, and this is just my opinion, I think that when actors do game shows they’re so used to using other people’s words it’s difficult for them. Comedians are always thinking of the next line. A game show host listens and takes something from what he just heard and makes something out of it. There are shows for hosts and hosts for shows. (Alex) Trebek does great on “Jeopardy” but he couldn’t do “The Newlywed Game.” You gotta be a rascal to be a “Newlywed Game” host. It’s a comedy show that just happened to have a game with it.
360: Did hosting come easy for you?
BE: In today’s marketplace, where people are so concerned with instant gratification, I probably would have been fired the first week. When I first started this show, I would walk into the dressing room and meet four couples, scared to death, ready to bare their souls for a toaster. I figured out that if I went into the dressing room and talked to each couple individually and found out about them, things were better. People don’t want to know about you; they want you to know about them. The moment I figured that out the shows got funny.
360: Are today’s game shows different than when you started?
BE: I don’t even know what game shows are now. They’ve taken on such a different point of view. I don’t know if they’re different or not. I just think they push the envelope too far. We had a metaphor, “You never take the teddy off the girl,” which meant if you get dirty, there’s only one place to go and that’s to get dirtier, and I think that’s a mistake.
360: How does your live show, “America’s Greatest Game Shows,” work?
BE: It’s been touring for several years. We played Vegas seven months with it. We play our version of eight different games including “The Newlywed Game,” “Card Sharks” and “Name That Tune.” We have some games that we have invented ourselves. There are 42 contestants each show. Everyone has an equal chance to be contestants. Nobody is preselected. Everybody on stage wins a prize and maybe everybody that attends the show wins a prize. At the end of every show someone has a chance to win $100,000, and we hope they win it. !
if you go
WHAT: “America’s Greatest Game Shows” with Bob Eubanks
WHEN: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Clearwater River Casino Event Center, east of Lewiston
COST: $10, available through TicketsWest outlets and the casino box office