0 22 min 7 mths

Welcome back to THE INTERVUE as we conclude the second and final part of my interview with Shelley Herman, author of the book “My Peacock Tale: Secrets of an NBC Page” – now available on Amazon through BearManor Media!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled interview, already in progress!

As I read through this book, Shelley, I must admit, I was very amazed, shocked, stunned but definitely tickled pink about the game shows especially that you were a contestant on the original Dating Game with Jim Lange. And we got to talk about that experience because Jim Lang to me is one of the most underrated game show hosts of all time. He has a quick wit, amazing smile, always rooting on for the contestants, no matter the game format – if it’s Dating Game or “The $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime” to “Name That Tune”? Talk about that experience of being on “The Dating Game”.

Well, I was 17 when I did the first Dating Game, I actually did two Dating Games – one daytime version, one primetime syndicated version. And both times Jim like said to me, “I had beautiful green eyes”. So, I liked that. And there actually was a soundproof booth that I waited in as the three bachelors were being introduced. It was just it was like kind of a prefab little building. It was nothing special. And they walked out there and the first trip I want was to San Diego, California, which is about a two-hour drive from where I live. The chaperone that I was with when you were under 21 You needed a female chaperone. And she was hot, she looked like Cher when Cher was doing her variety show. So, a lot of attention was going in her direction.

The second trip I won, and it was funny. The guy comes around the corner they said, “you won a trip to the Bahamas”, and I hugged the guy, and I whispered in his ear, “where are the Bahamas? I had no idea if I needed a passport, I had to scramble or something”. So, I went on this trip and the woman who was the chaperone was about 150 years old. And she liked her wine, and she snored a lot because we shared a room and I tried to sleep on the balcony, but there was lightning and thunder. I wound up taking all the bedding and putting it in the closet and sleeping in the closet with the door closed because I couldn’t get a decent night’s sleep the whole time I was there. And then the P.S. to the story is I wound up dating somebody on the staff of Chuck Barris Enterprises. A really great guy. He’s still a friend to this day named Vince Longo. And on our first day, we went to see “The Rocky Horror Show” Live at the Roxy with Tim Curry.

Ooooooh! Wait, was this before the movie or during his heyday? I got to ask!

Way before the movie.


1973 on the Sunset Strip, baby. The play was a lot of fun and it had some of the interaction in the show. It wasn’t nearly as dark as the movie. It was just a lot of fun. And it’s on the Sunset Strip and I’m 18 and I’m getting drinks at the bar, and it was a lot of fun.

I love it! Now you have one of the very good distinctions in game show community. Not only have you been a contestant, as you mentioned just a moment ago on “The Dating Game”, but you’ve written for some of the classic game shows of the time including “Love Connection”, and the amazing popular “Supermarket Sweep”. How in the world did you get to write for those two amazing shows? And what was it like working with Chuck Woolery and David Ruprecht?

The way I got in on the game shows was primarily because of having to hang around the Chuck Barris organization as much as I did. I would do all kinds of game show run throughs, where they were testing different concepts for shows. At a certain point, as I was going through the page program, people who started saying, “you know, we need a woman’s point of view on the show and women questions like, you know, are they going to ask questions about uteruses or something?” You know, we all have the same pop culture references. So, I started getting in that way. With “Love Connection”, which we lovingly refer to as “love and affection”. I had known Chuck as a page because he was doing “Wheel of Fortune” at the time at NBC.

Ah, yes. For those who do not recall, Chuck Woolery was the very first host of “Wheel of Fortune” back when was on NBC daytime from ’75 to ’81. So, he hosted it for six years before Pat Sajak.

And with Susan Stafford was the first woman to be nominated as a host for an Emmy Award because she got a microphone and got to talk. Susan has remained a good friend of mine to this day. So, the friendships you make along the way, it’s lovely. And when I was working on “Love Connection”, the idea of the show was I was supposed to interview the girl and the guy separately after their date to find out how it went. And usually, the women were pretty smitten with the guy and the guys a lot of times we’re like, “She was boring. She was bad”. It was kind of hard to kind of come up with a little segment that way that didn’t make her look like a slut or him look like a jerk. So, it was it was kind of tough to do but one guy was really sweet. I asked,” Well, did you guys have any whoopee on your date?” And he said, “No, I had a game the next day and the coach said it would make my knees weak”. I remember him.

And for “Supermarket Sweep”, I interviewed for it. I am a pretty good cook and chef myself. I was able to speak the food speak that they needed and was well versed. David is such a dear man and so talented. And such a great guy that Chuck Woolery, I knew is not the same Chuck Woolery that presents himself now. He’s kind of a conservative pundit.

Well, that’s good to hear. I really missed the classic Chuck especially; this was the guy who hosted “Scrabble” & “Lingo”.  “Supermarket Sweep” with David is still an amazing show that I always watch the reruns. I’ll always feel like competing every time I go to a supermarket. Thinking like, “okay, what am I going to grab in the next two or three minutes?”

Well, it was a real supermarket that we used on the show, too. It wasn’t some phony baloney set, all the food was real, to the point that we had to be very careful before taping to go through the breads and things like that to make sure there were no bugs or cockroaches or anything crawling in the food when we were doing the show. Then they would donate the food to like a food bank or a charity group or something once the run of the show was over.

And how long did you work on “Supermarket Sweep” & “Love Connection”?

I worked for probably about four years on “Supermarket Sweep”. I was actually working on it during 9/11 was Al Howard, who was the producer and owner of the show. He called us at home and said “no, come into work” and it’s like “ah I think we’re supposed to stay home today”. I was at NBC Burbank is where we were taping it and we’re offices work and they kept having announcements every five minutes. “All non-essential personnel should leave the building now” because they were afraid that the terrorists were going to target media companies. And I kept thinking, “writing questions about which of these is a real WishBone salad dressing is an essential job!?!”

Now the other question I would like to ask since we are talking about Sweep. A good friend of mine, Randy West, was an announcer for the series. Did you also have to write the announcer script of the play-by-play action?

Everything that Randy West said was scripted. He used his own personality into it. Al Howard was very specific about certain language about “Hugo, he went down for the bitterly oil and came up with…” There were certain key phrases that he wanted to help reinforce the rhythm of his show and the rhythm of Randy’s pattern. So, what would happen is they would shoot the sweeps, they would edit them. And then Randy would go to a post-production facility, and he would lay down the recordings for like 10 or 12 at a time. And although he was welcomed to come by the studio, he really didn’t have that much to do on tape day.

But at the same time, some days he was working as a warmup announcer over “The Weakest Link”. So sometimes it would overlap, and we’d see him. And Randy to this day is still a friend of mine. We bumped into each other all the time, sometimes on the picket line. He’s very active with the Screen Actors Guild strike right now. So yeah, and I hope people know about his book, “TV Inside-Out – Flukes, Flakes, Feuds and Felonies”. But yeah, Randy’s got a book out there, too.

And it’s funny that you mentioned him during the warmup for “The Weakest Link, for that’s how Randy and I met, on my first trip to Los Angeles in 2002. I was working forward to Bureau of Engraving & Printing, and he interact with me. And he said, “Oh you’re at the place where we get all the money” and I said, “Yep, definitely the place”. And we have been good friends ever since.

Anytime The Price Is Right Live was in DC or Baltimore and he’s there, we’re always chatting, we’re having a good time. The last time I saw Randy was actually in Burbank promoting his book at the Hollywood Show in January. And I got a copy of his book. I just recently read a chapter a couple days ago, talking about Peter Tomarken and since it’s the 40th anniversary of Press Your Luck this week.

I had worked for Peter too and I known him as being a really great guy. I didn’t know any of the things that Randy’s written about Peter in his book. I just knew him as a really nice guy.

Absolutely, we all miss Peter especially, he gave us so much energy towards that show. And it’s stood the test of time for we’re about to get a brand-new season with Elizabeth Banks. We’re gonna be talking about game shows for a bit more. Oh, my goodness.

We could talk about game shows all day. I’m fine.

You mentioned before we did our interview, that there is going to be an exhibit dedicated to game shows as part of the Museum of Play but we’re not going to see it for another few years. And for those who are gameshow aficionados or former game show contestants, tell us about the museum.

Well, there is a glorious museum in Rochester, New York. That’s named The Strong National Museum of Play. And it presently houses every children’s toy ever created on the face of the earth. It is a magnificent collection. And they’ve got you know, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and all kinds of dollies, the little girls just to play with and trucks, and trains and all kinds of things. Then they expanded the museum to include video games and arcade games. So that’s a lot of fun. But we’re hoping by the end of 2025, that this new 5000 square foot extension to the museum will be completed. And it’s going to be The National Archives of Game Show History and it’s all going to focus on television game shows. I’m not sure if you know the name Bob Boden.

Oh, yes, I definitely know the name too well!

Bob Boden has donated a lot of his collection to the museum. Adam Nedeff, who’s the author of several books on game shows, has not only donated items, but is lending his expertise to help him to curate and get the historical significance of so many of these items. Then I’ve donated several items, but the best one so far….. Again, put the Lucy Ricardo thinking cap on I had to do this. Several days after Betty White had passed away, I called her assistant and said, “Listen, I knew Betty back when I used to write on the show called “Liar’s Club”. In my book, I have a photo of Betty White’s mom, Tess, and these sitting together in the audience. I explained my connection to Betty and Allen. I said, “Listen, I know you’re probably auction off a lot of Betty’s personal belongings but when you come across some boxes of game show stuff, and you think it’s junk, and nobody wants it, we would like it.”

Kristen put this wonderful list together for me. And then she said, “Oh, and by the way, would you like one of Betty’s Emmys?” We went “Uh, yeah!” Yeah. So presently on display, the only thing on display right now announcing the National Archives of Game Show History is that Emmy with a little pin light on it saying, “coming soon”. And I’m very, very happy I was able to get that for everybody to enjoy.

And is this the Emmy for her work in “Just Men”, is that correct?

That’s the one. Yeah, they were so kind about it. And then there’s what I consider to be a famous photo of Betty and her assistant. It was the last picture that was published of Betty and Adam Nedeff’s book is sitting on Betty’s coffee table. Its very lovingly dog eared and there’s little post-it notes that are put between the pages. Adam, for the longest time, tried to get Betty White’s cooperation when he wrote the book. And it’s a loving book for both Betty & Allen but she just wasn’t well enough to cooperate. Kirsten also asked me if Adam would like his copy of his book back as he had sent it to her. So, in addition to that Emmy, Adam now has Betty’s copy of his book that he wrote. It makes my heart so warm when I think about that.

Now, it’s warmed my heart to hear that. It’s such a great story. I’ve read that about the favorite people you have met. I met two of the ones that really stood out for you – astronaut Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 and the late great comedian, Robin Williams. I got a chance to interview Robin at my very first red carpet back in 2009, here in Washington, DC. I’m almost getting teary eyed just thinking about it now because I cannot believe it’s my first red carpet and I almost been doing my news outlet for 15 years now. What was it about that, that stood out for you as among your favorite celebrities that you’ve met and talk to and interact with?

Well, I met Robin, when he was doing a version of Laugh-In that they tried to rebuild laugh in. And it wasn’t very successful. This would have been ‘76, ‘77-ish before Mork. And so, I got to hang with him. And he was just a really nice guy, genuinely kind man. I detail the story a little bit more in the book, but I had gone with my friend to an audition, she wanted to try to be a part of an ensemble group at The Comedy Store. I went with her as moral support. Robin was there and he goes “come up on stage and play with me too, this will be fun”. I got asked to be in the group and my friend didn’t. So it was kind of an awkward time.

There was a restaurant in Beverly Hills called The Ginger Man that Carroll O’Connor was one of the owners, he & Patrick O’Neal. A very popular place with Robin and Tony Danza, you know a lot of the guys hung out there. Like Elvis, Robin was always kind of sweating, and kind of hairy. He was a hugger, and it was always like a nice big hairy hug from Robin. He was always very, very nice.

And as far as Buzz, I went to school with Buzz’s children. His son, James was in my grade. Jan and Andy were a few years younger. It was interesting because one day we were we were at the house and Buzz was talking and he said, this has stuck with me my whole life about the lessons we learned along the way. He says “there’s two ways you can live your life. You can either grab for the brass ring or grab the brass ring”. My problem is I grabbed the brass ring, meaning he just didn’t have any future goals that he had considered at that time. I was like, “Oh, so you always have to kind of keep creative, you got to keep mentally stimulated”. And eventually Buzz went on and really became such an iconic figure within the space program as a civilian, even to the point of changing his real name from Edwin E. to Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr, because of Toy Story. I was with him and his family earlier this summer when the Space Force promoted him to Brigadier General, which is the highest rank. It was a glorious afternoon; he was so happy.

I’m so glad you’re able to share both the stories of Robin and Buzz, I feel honored. Well, now that we know that the NBC page program is going on 90 years old, what advice would you give someone who wants to be part of the NBC Page Program?

Well, aside from being somebody who’s reliable and knowledgeable about NBC history, if that’s the job you want to target of being with NBC, I did go to the library at the time and study up on NBC history of taste there was going to be a pop quiz. What are the things I like to tell people not just in the entertainment industry but anytime you’re going for a job is trying to find a way to make it, so they want to meet you not have to meet you. So, in your cover letter to them, say something intriguing. Say something that might be said, things that you have in common with the person you’re interviewing with. Look like the kind of person this person would want to hang around with. And you know, don’t just be a cut and dry person. And again, be knowledgeable, be ready. And hopefully, if you get the opportunity, fasten your seat belt. It’s gonna be a great ride.

Oh, yeah. And it’s been a successful ride for you!

Shelley’s book is now available on Amazon.com

For more information on My Peacock Tale, go to

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