Mark Goodson

Q & A with Marjorie Goodson

Q. Is there anything in your background that could have predicted you doing something like this?

A. My father was an incredibly loving, generous and hard working man. His philosophy about life was honest and true. He came from nothing, worked hard to achieve his success, never took anything for granted and was a huge proponent of self-discipline.

I never applied his life lessons as a child, but today I live and breathe them.
Q. Who are your role models and why?

A. My Father is my biggest role model. A loving father who was generous, hard working, reliable, kind, insightful, humble, gracious, fair, practical and smart as whip. He believed that talent was only a small part of the equation and without hard work it ultimately got you nowhere. He was a man of action and his word was his bond. I miss him.


— Myrna Oliver in the Los Angeles Times Dec. 19, 1992

Mark Goodson was a television pioneer who produced 42,000 half-hour television shows and created such game show staples as “The Price Is Right,” “Family Feud,” “What’s My Line?” and “To Tell the Truth.”

With his partner, Bill Todman, Goodson gave birth to the prototype of the television game show. In 1990, Goodson received the award that capped his 46-year career: the Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in Daytime Television. He also won a National Television Award in Britain, the Sylvania Award and three other Emmys.

Goodson began his radio career as a disc jockey at KCBS in San Francisco. In 1939 he became an announcer, newscaster and station director of Mutual Broadcasting System’s KFRC in San Francisco. There he originated his first game show, “Pop the Question,” in which contestants threw darts at multicolored balloons to audibly determine the stakes of the game.

In 1950 Goodson and Todman ventured into the new world of network television with a panel show created by Goodson called “What’s My Line?” The popular show, with host John Daly, remained on CBS 17 years and included such mystery guests as Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carl Sandburg, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Barbra Streisand and Elizabeth Taylor. At the time the program left the air in 1967, it was television’s second-longest-running show, surpassed only by “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Within 10 years, the duo became the largest packagers of game shows in the United States. Their stable included “I’ve Got a Secret” with Garry Moore, “Two for the Money” and “Judge for Yourself” with Fred Allen.

They also ventured into drama, establishing a new California division that produced such series as “Branded” starring Chuck Connors, “The Richard Boone Repertory Theater,” “The Rebel” and “Jefferson Drum.”

In 1956, Goodson developed one of his greatest successes, “To Tell the Truth,” which appeared on CBS for many years with Bud Collyer as host. Goodson considered the show the best game concept he ever created. It featured a panel of celebrities cross-examining three contestants who claimed to be the same person.

In the 1960s, Goodson created and Todman marketed “Match Game” and “Family Feud” as well as “The Price Is Right.”