A ground breaking Expensively made show with motion picture quality Production, indeed this was The FIRST TV Series taken from a TV Movie pilot: "Fame is The Name of The Game" (1966)... each Series episode running at 90 minutes, a TV Movie, this show clearly paved the way for Universal's later "Mystery Movie" success... with Susan Saint James going on to "McMillan & Wife", and many "Name of The Game" guest stars later featured, including Peter Falk - "Columbo" - Dennis Weaver - "McCloud", plus Ben Murphy & Pete Duel, later of "Alias Smith & Jones"....
"The Name of The Game" Featured THREE Famous Alternating Lead Actors who were each different enough to warrant a series of their own...yet they linked together really well to give the show a Distinctive "Three Faced" identity...
Gene Barry ("Burke's Law") and Robert Stack ("The Untouchables") were very famous Established TV Faces, having also made well known films. Tony Franciosa was then more of a Film Star ("The Long Hot Summer", etc).
TONY FRANCIOSA - Portrayed The "Charismatic" Star Reporter Jeff Dillon,
Slightly younger & Trendier than his two co-stars, Franciosa's Dillon was a likable,Sharp,tireless crusading reporter who became involved in current affairs tales; Exposing a fake Doctor ("Keep The Doctor Away"), industrial spying ("The Other Kind of Spy"), even Prisoner of war training camps that become too realistic ("The Prisoner Within")
....Dillon appeared slightly less frequently than his two co-Lead stars & was normally accompanied by his "Girl Friday" Research Assistant Peggy Maxwell (Susan Saint James) ...while Gene Barry made brief cameo appearances "as Glenn Howard" for continuity purposes in a few Dillon tales ("Fear of High Places" ,"Collector's Editon", "Connie Walker", "Jesse Gil").
A Memorable "Jeff Dillon" story: "The Enemy Before Us" featured Narration by Orson Welles.
Tony Franciosa was in the first and second seasons, but later left the show, amid some acrimony, during the Final Third season after filming three of his episodes ...whatever Dillon's Tales were always excellent.
GENE BARRY - Appeared as the "Impeccable" Publisher Glenn Howard.
Millionaire Playboy Head of Howard Publications producing the two Top Periodicals; "People"(Dillon)...several years BEFORE the real "People" Magazine was first Published... & Crime" (Farrell) magazines ...
Glenn Howard moved in wealthy, influential circles, and was Mostly involved in absorbing stories in powerful circles of High level Intrigue...be it business ("The Taker") or politics ("High Card", "The Emissary", "Incident in Berlin")...yet Howard also had the most surreal & offbeat tales such as: "Tarot", "Love-in at Ground Zero" & "L.A.2017" (Directed by an emerging young Steven Spielberg)
Susan Saint James character Peggy Maxwell was also featured in some Gene Barry episodes...while Cliff Potter (Potts) played Andrew Hill, ..Howard's Assistant (who once Guested as Lead Role in "Pineapple Rose", one of a few "Guest Lead" roles put under the "Gene Barry" segments umbrella ) ...while Tony Franciosa's Jeff Dillon made one brief cameo appearance in Howard's story "The Taker", seen early on at a Staff meeting Howard calls.
ROBERT STACK - Played Ex-F.B.I. man turned Crime Reporter the "Resolute" Dan Farrell.
Editor of Howard's "Crime" Magazine. Farrell was a determined character steadfastly pursuing injustice bringing his old F.B.I. (indeed "Untouchable" ) styled approach to reporting - be it against rogue Housing agents ("A Wrath of Angels"), Drug pushers ("High On A Rainbow"), or getting involved in breaking news re spree killers ("The Bobby Currier Story"). Ben Murphy played Farrell's assistant Joseph Sample in some episodes, while Susan Saint James' Peggy Maxwell again appeared in some "Farrell" tales...
Gene Barry also made a few brief cameo appearances "as Glenn Howard" in some Farrell stories ("Ordeal", "Nightmare", "High On A Rainbow", "The Bobby Currier Story")...speaking on the phone to Farrell, etc..
Dan Farrell stories were always exciting crime capers...while they looked in a few more unusual directions such as Illegal Immigration ("Chains of Command"), Crooked Charities ("Give Till It Hurts") & Corruption in sport ("Brass Ring").
Unlike Gene Barry, who occasionally guested in a cameo role in his two co-stars episodes, Tony Franciosa and Robert Stack never appeared together in the series.
Robert Wagner, Peter Falk, Robert Culp, Darren McGavin, & Vera Miles appeared as "Special Guest Stars" heading the cast in certain episodes...as either other staff reporters or Freelance journalists Glenn Howard occasionally used.
Susan Saint James was the ONLY Supporting Cast member to appear in all three Leading actors episodes "as Peggy Maxwell", She won an Award as Best Supporting Actress, for her work in this series.
Cliff Potts (in some Gene Barry tales) & Ben Murphy (in some Robert Stack stories) plus Mark Miller (as Ross Craig) were the other main Supporting Cast members...
Many TOP Guest Stars appeared on the show...including : William Shatner, Ricardo Montalban, Steve Forrest,Jack Klugman, Dennis Weaver,Shirley Jones, Pete Duel, Broderick Crawford, Edward Andrews,Boris Karloff, Roddy McDowall, Robert Young, Van Johnson, Frank Gorshin,Pamela Franklin,Honor Blackman,Donald Sutherland, Burl Ives, Barry Sullivan, Brandon de Wilde, Julie Harris, Kevin McCarthy, Anne Baxter,Clu Gulager, Tim O'Connor, Mark Richman, Hari Rhodes, and many more...
Steven Spielberg, Steven Bochco ("Hill Street Blues", "L.A.Law"), Dean Hargrove ("U.N.C.L.E."), Gene L.Coon ("Star Trek"), Richard Irving, David Victor, George Eckstein, Richard Levinson & William Link (Creators of "Columbo") were all involved in this Award winning Colour TV show....with Dave Grusin's memorable Great Theme Tune.
"The Name of The Game" (1968-1971) 76 episode TV Series...along with the 1966 Pilot TV Movie "Fame is..." (Starring Tony Franciosa) is a most Influential, Ground Breaking TV Series, with STRONG Scripts, Top acting and Production,
After over Three Decades of being left in the NBC Universal Television Archive, apparently forgotten by Television Executives, this Classic TV Show Deserves to be recognised at last...
....and now both finally issued on DVD...and rerun on Television !