William T. Naud, the game show guy

Posted:  Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 8:00am

The game show host instructs the day’s contestants to write down a word that will finish the following rhyme: Dracula turned to the waitress and said …

The host then turns to the six-member Maine celebrity panel asking them to write a word they think the contestants will choose to rhyme with said.

A contestant calls on one panelist to complete the rhyme – Answer: “Your lips are a delicious shade of red.”

Did the contestant write down red as his or her word and earn one point toward the magic winning number of 5 – and then on to the bonus round?

If any of this sounds vaguely familiar – you’re right! It was the format for the ABC game show “Rhyme & Reason” from July 1975 to July 1976. The creator of this show, and many other game shows out Cali way, is William T. Naud. Now, the discerning reader may be thinking it’s highly doubtful the L.A.-filmed game show, hosted by Bob Eubanks, had a Maine focus. And, you’d be right again. But only because the plans for such a show are in the early planning stages.

Naud, actor, producer, screenwriter, film editor, director, and novelist, has just moved to the Boothbay region with his equally creative wife – author, artist, set designer, illustrator, production-storyboard artist, editor-copy editor, columnist, and cartoonist Karen Chutsky. Why move from Cali(fornia) to Maine? Turns out, Karen has roots in Ogunquit. 

Naud has been in the entertainment industry a long time. How long? Check it: Naud is one of the original cast members of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” in New York. Naud recalled, “I remember during rehearsals he (Williams) would sit in the alley by the stage door on a milk box with a little lamp and a portable typewriter doing rewrites.”

Great stuff, right? 

In the 60’s through the 80’s Naud wrote, directed and/or produced several films. His best known works are “Island of Blood” (1982) about a low budget film crew and cast filming a horror flick on a remote island who become the “real life” victims of an unknown killer who’s determined to have life imitate art, so to speak. It was, Naud noted, the #1 horror film in Europe for quite some time.

Reviewer Gene McGhee wrote for ScaredStiffReviews.com, “ … The killer leaves a tape recorder behind with everybody that plays this heavy metal tune with lyrics that describe the deaths. The whodunit is on and everyone is a suspect … The atmosphere is very good and so is the pacing and I had no idea what was going on and who the killer was. I was eagerly awaiting the reveal and it did not disappoint and the motive at the end was very original.”

“Every week it seems, someone calls me for something I might have for ‘Island of Blood’ for a convention or something,” Naud said. “I can’t believe it. It was the craziest thing.”

There’s also “Ricky 1” - a “Rocky” parody of sorts (1988), “Hot Rod Hullabaloo” (1966), “God Bless You Uncle Sam,” “Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde” “Thunder in Dixie” (1964), “Formula X,” and “Black Jack,” (TCM has this one in its catalog of classic movies), and “Wild In the Sky” (1972). Actors in Naud’s films include Marsha Mason, Keenan Wynn, Georg Stanford Brown, Robert Lansing, Bernie Kopel, Val Bisoglio, Dick Gautier, and others.

But, back to those game shows ... on NBC: “Haggus Baggus,” “Blank Check,” and a weekly series, also on NBC, “The Girl In My Life,” which ran for 18 months. On ABC was Naud’s Hide and Go Seek.

“For some reason I have a penchant for game shows and a knack for creating them,” said Naud in the new Barters Island digs. “I really think a new show like my successful Rhyme & Reason - the #1 rated game show in 1975 - here in Boothbay with local, well-known personalities who are quick-witted and clever would be a lot of fun.” “Rhyme & Reason” panelists included Richard Dawson, Jaye P. Morgan, Nipsey Russell,  Adrienne Barbeau,  Pat Harrington, Jr., Jack Cassidy, William Shatner, Joanne Worley, Meredith MacRae, Dick Clark, and others. A few clips from the show can still be watched on YouTube (of course).

Naud has had this idea in the back of his mind ever since Karen announced they were moving back east and began house hunting – and found the house she liked that just happened to be here in the Boothbay region.

Right now the Nauds are making contacts to make the game show a reality, and a staged version of Karen’s recent novel “Young Davy Crocket: The Boy From Tennessee.” What better place to be looking for youth actors than Boothbay, home of the multi-award winning Y-Arts youth theater and chorus led by actor-singer-director- choreographer Emily Mirabile? Karen has painted stunning set design illustrations for the play. In the near future, the couple will be meeting with local managers at various venues where the play could be produced. And, locations, maybe the same one, where the game show will be filmed.

“It will probably take four to five months before we’re ready to do anything,” said Naud. And when they are ready, expect to read about where and when auditions for the game show host and panel members will be held, as well as other details – including the location for the filming. Individuals interested in getting these projects off the ground can contact Bill or Karen at 626-806-8160 or email:bnaud2@aol.com

“Anybody with a sense of humor could play this game,” Naud said. “And get some laughs ... it’s fun.”

Until then ... finish this rhyme (and do make up some of your own): When visitors come to the Boothbay region the first thing they do ...