Buggin' On Shorts: William Castle's Game Show -The Plot Thickens (1963)

While William Castle, the King of Gimmicks, is best known for his movies like 13 Ghosts, Straight Jacket, and The Tingler, he also dabbled in television. He directed many episodes of the '50's TV show The Men of Annapolis, produced the supernatural anthology series Circle of Fear in the early '70's, and he even created a game show. That's right you heard me right, a William Castle gameshow! Like most of his projects, The Plot Thickens is a high concept affair. A panel consisting of a real detective, an average contestant, a guest celebrity and Groucho Marx watch a ten minute mystery film, put the suspects from the film to question, and determine the perpetrator of the crime. If the detective and a contestant both get it right you win $500, but if the actors stump the gumshoe and a contestant gets it right, they win a cool thousand bucks.

Unfortunately, Castle's game show didn't make it to the air and only this pilot episode remains. It's too bad because it's a pretty entertaining show. Plus if you watch closely you'll see that the mystery in this episode was penned by Psycho scribe Robert Bloch and it featured James Callahan (Grandpa William Powell of Charles in Charge) as the assistant Arthur, Arthur Batanides (Officer Kirkland in Police Academy 4 through 6) as the fake Swami, Jack Linkletter (Host of Hootnanny) as the host (or D.A. as they call him), Jan Sterling (High School Confidential, The Human Jungle) as the celebrity guest, and Warrene Ott (The Phantom Planet, Undertaker and his Pals) as the bailiff in a cat costume.

This thing is as rare as it comes, and it wasn't even on YouTube until I put it up there. So check out Mr. Castle's The Plot Thickens and wish that we had shows like this to enjoy now instead of Minute to Win It or Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

And come back tomorrow for the first Guest Post this month for Hitch on the Hump where the indomitable, vivacious Ms. Christine of Paracinema is going to have a real treat for us all! 

This show is the rarest of the rare, but I split it up into four bite size pieces and got it up on YouTube. Check it out now just in case it gets yanked.


  1. Thanks Pax. As a Castle, Bloch, and Groucho fan it was wonderful to find something they were all involved in. I would never have imagined.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...