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Remembering Bob Clayton, "Concentration"/"Pyramid" (1922-1979)

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  • William A. Padron
    Sadly, it was on this date thirty years ago on Thursday, November 1, 1979 that Bob Clayton, the former host-announcer of Concentration and announcer of the Bob
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 1, 2009
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      Sadly, it was on this date thirty years ago on Thursday, November 1, 1979 that Bob Clayton, the former host-announcer of Concentration and announcer of the Bob Stewart-produced Pyramid, had passed away due to a cardiac arrest he suffered in his New York City home.  Bob was age 57 at the time of his death, and had only left behind a brother and sister.  His mother, Mary Paxton, had passed away in December 1971 in Hilton Head, Georgia, also due to a heart attack.
       
      Bob Clayton was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 17, 1922, and was enrolled in that city's schools.  After graduating from high school, he enrolled as a student at Georgia Tech, but left before he graduated to join the Air Force during World War II.  When after his discharge from the Air Force, he enrolled at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1947.
       
      Bob would have a varied career in thr entertainment business, appearing in summer stock plays, as an Arthur Murray Dance School instructor, and as a staff announcer/on-air personality at a radio station in Bergen County, New Jersey.  He would later move to Florida during the 1950's, where he was to be heard on various stations (radio and TV) in the Citrus State, including hosting a late afternoon movie program in Miami.

      Bob's popularity in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area led him to a role as the frustrated bell captain in the 1960 Jerry Lewis film The Bellboy, which was shot on location there.  After becoming good friends with Hugh Downs, whom he met at a Mrs. America Pageant televised ceremony in 1959, it was said that Bob was able to pinch-hit for Hugh on Jack Paar's television shows.
       
      Bob Clayton's first game show experience came when he began emceeing the ABC-TV daytime game show Make A Face, produced at the Little Theater on West 44th Street in New York City, but which required him to commute back and forth to/from Miami.  However, after its cancellation of the program, plus his resignation from his afternoon TV show in Miami, NBC-TV hired him in 1963 to be the announcer of the highly popular TV game show Concentration with its host Hugh Downs. 
       
      Eventually, it was a great on-air relationship and close friendship that showed and lasted between Hugh Downs and Bob Clayton on Concentration During the occasions that Bob knew the format and structure of the rebus puzzle game so well, he was a great fill-in host during the times Hugh was away from the program. 
       
      In January 1969, Bob Clayton took over the reigns of as full-time host of Concentration, but was suddenly replaced two months afterward by the NBC-TV network executives with its emcee Ed McMahon, the announcer of The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.  It proved to be short-lived, because after viewer complaints to the network and declining Nielsen audience ratings, Bob was rehired by NBC-TV in September 1969 as emcee of the program, which he then continued until its last episode aired on Friday, March 23, 1973.
       
      Bob Clayton's career did not end after the cancellation of Concentration and its last episode, because he was immediately hired by Bob Stewart Productions to be the announcer of its new game show The $10,000 Pyramid.  That program would debut on the following Monday, March 26, 1973 on CBS-TV in the same 10:30am Eastern time slot as that of Concentration was on NBC-TV.

      Once again, Bob would enjoy another great relationship with Pyramid and most of the other Bob Stewart-produced shows, including those on the air plus some unsold pilots too.  The friendship between Bob and network daytime host Dick Clark was quite noticable and evident, as I had witnessed between the two of them during the tapings of the program at ABC Studio TV-15 on West 58th Street in Manhattan.
       
      Alas, Bob Clayton's health conditions including a history of ulcer and stomach problems, and it did not help matters that he was a smoker as well.  He started to miss a lot of tapings in the early part of the 1978-79 season of the ABC-TV $20,000 Pyramid, and Bob had to leave on two separate taping days when he got so sick and to seek medical attention.  His temporary replacements were Fred Foy, Alan Kalter, Dick Heatherton or anyone that was available from the ABC network announcers' pool.
       
      The news of Bob Clayton's death was so sorely felt as deep and personal amongst the staff who were working on Pyramid and at Bob Stewart Productions.  Eventually, the full-time replacement for Bob would be hired in 1980, and it was long-time popular New York City on-air personality Steve O'Brien, who is still heard on occasion on WCBS-FM 101.1 these days.
       
      In closing, Bob Clayton is still remembered and missed by yours truly, and he was an important facet and a "cog" to the two all-time favorite TV game shows in my lifetime, Pyramid (#1) and Concentration (#2).  His deep warmth, concern, friendliness and folksy sense of humor is best remembered to this fan, and I was quite glad and lucky to able to see him on TV and in person.
       
      Sincerely,
      William A. Padron
      wapadron@...
      wapadron@...

       


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    • kgordonmurray
      Nice tribute, William. Thank you for reminding all of us about this special day in Pyramid history. Clayton was an all-time favorite of mine, as well. As
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 1, 2009
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        Nice tribute, William. Thank you for reminding all of us about this special day in Pyramid history. Clayton was an all-time favorite of mine, as well. As someone who also attended the ABC TV-15 tapings, I share your enthusiasm for his professionalism and good-natured persona. He was an entertainer with class.

        RIP, Mr. Clayton. We remember you with fondness.

        KGordonMurray

        (PS: Small correction in your original post: Florida is "The Sunshine State".)

        --- In PyramidGameShowFanClub@yahoogroups.com, "William A. Padron" <wapadron@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Sadly, it was on this date thirty years ago on Thursday, November 1, 1979 that Bob Clayton, the former host-announcer of Concentration
      • William A. Padron
        In reply to in part... ... RIP, Mr. Clayton. We remember you with fondness. KGordonMurray (PS: Small correction in your original post: Florida is The Sunshine
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 2, 2009
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          In reply to in part...
           
          >>Nice tribute, William. Thank you for reminding all of us about this special day in Pyramid history. Clayton was an all-time favorite of mine, as well. As someone who also attended the ABC TV-15 tapings, I share your enthusiasm for his professionalism and good-natured persona. He was an entertainer with class.

          RIP, Mr. Clayton. We remember you with fondness.

          KGordonMurray

          (PS: Small correction in your original post: Florida is "The Sunshine State".)<<


          You're welcomed, KGordon Murray.  I personaly felt that Bob Clayton was a very important part in regards to the history of Pyramid, and his contributions to the show and his involvement of his entertainment career had to be told.  From my own experience, Bob was certainly like a good-will ambassador to the program, and he always made you feel welcomed while as a guest in the audience when he spoke.
           
          Yes, I am aware that Florida is well known as "The Sunshine State", but the term "The Citrus State" was found, as I seem to recall, through my previous research on Bob Clayton when looking through a biographical sheet issued by ABC-TV, when he was starting to host Make A Face in the early 1960's.  The primary source I used for some of the information about Bob was found in the New York Public Library's Theatre Collection at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
           
          Sincerely,
          William A. Padron
          wapadron@...
          wapadron@...
           

           


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        • Bob Sewvello
          I am saddened when a family member or friend dies.  The death of a celebrity doesn t affect me that much.  Call me crazy. ... From: William A. Padron
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 2, 2009
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            I am saddened when a family member or friend dies.  The death of a celebrity doesn't affect me that much.  Call me crazy.

            --- On Sun, 11/1/09, William A. Padron <wapadron@...> wrote:

            From: William A. Padron <wapadron@...>
            Subject: [PyramidGameShowFanClub] Remembering Bob Clayton, "Concentration"/"Pyramid" (1922-1979)
            To: "Pyramid Fan Club" <pyramidgameshowfanclub@yahoogroups.com>, "Pyramid TV" <pyramid_tv@yahoogroups.com>, "gameshowrefuge yahoogroups" <gameshowrefuge@yahoogroups.com>
            Date: Sunday, November 1, 2009, 12:11 PM

             
            Sadly, it was on this date thirty years ago on Thursday, November 1, 1979 that Bob Clayton, the former host-announcer of Concentration and announcer of the Bob Stewart-produced Pyramid, had passed away due to a cardiac arrest he suffered in his New York City home.  Bob was age 57 at the time of his death, and had only left behind a brother and sister.  His mother, Mary Paxton, had passed away in December 1971 in Hilton Head, Georgia, also due to a heart attack.
             
            Bob Clayton was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 17, 1922, and was enrolled in that city's schools.  After graduating from high school, he enrolled as a student at Georgia Tech, but left before he graduated to join the Air Force during World War II.  When after his discharge from the Air Force, he enrolled at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1947.
             
            Bob would have a varied career in thr entertainment business, appearing in summer stock plays, as an Arthur Murray Dance School instructor, and as a staff announcer/on- air personality at a radio station in Bergen County, New Jersey.  He would later move to Florida during the 1950's, where he was to be heard on various stations (radio and TV) in the Citrus State, including hosting a late afternoon movie program in Miami.

            Bob's popularity in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area led him to a role as the frustrated bell captain in the 1960 Jerry Lewis film The Bellboy, which was shot on location there.  After becoming good friends with Hugh Downs, whom he met at a Mrs. America Pageant televised ceremony in 1959, it was said that Bob was able to pinch-hit for Hugh on Jack Paar's television shows.
             
            Bob Clayton's first game show experience came when he began emceeing the ABC-TV daytime game show Make A Face, produced at the Little Theater on West 44th Street in New York City, but which required him to commute back and forth to/from Miami.  However, after its cancellation of the program, plus his resignation from his afternoon TV show in Miami, NBC-TV hired him in 1963 to be the announcer of the highly popular TV game show Concentration with its host Hugh Downs. 
             
            Eventually, it was a great on-air relationship and close friendship that showed and lasted between Hugh Downs and Bob Clayton on Concentration During the occasions that Bob knew the format and structure of the rebus puzzle game so well, he was a great fill-in host during the times Hugh was away from the program. 
             
            In January 1969, Bob Clayton took over the reigns of as full-time host of Concentration, but was suddenly replaced two months afterward by the NBC-TV network executives with its emcee Ed McMahon, the announcer of The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.  It proved to be short-lived, because after viewer complaints to the network and declining Nielsen audience ratings, Bob was rehired by NBC-TV in September 1969 as emcee of the program, which he then continued until its last episode aired on Friday, March 23, 1973.
             
            Bob Clayton's career did not end after the cancellation of Concentration and its last episode, because he was immediately hired by Bob Stewart Productions to be the announcer of its new game show The $10,000 Pyramid.  That program would debut on the following Monday, March 26, 1973 on CBS-TV in the same 10:30am Eastern time slot as that of Concentration was on NBC-TV.

            Once again, Bob would enjoy another great relationship with Pyramid and most of the other Bob Stewart-produced shows, including those on the air plus some unsold pilots too.  The friendship between Bob and network daytime host Dick Clark was quite noticable and evident, as I had witnessed between the two of them during the tapings of the program at ABC Studio TV-15 on West 58th Street in Manhattan.
             
            Alas, Bob Clayton's health conditions including a history of ulcer and stomach problems, and it did not help matters that he was a smoker as well.  He started to miss a lot of tapings in the early part of the 1978-79 season of the ABC-TV $20,000 Pyramid, and Bob had to leave on two separate taping days when he got so sick and to seek medical attention.  His temporary replacements were Fred Foy, Alan Kalter, Dick Heatherton or anyone that was available from the ABC network announcers' pool.
             
            The news of Bob Clayton's death was so sorely felt as deep and personal amongst the staff who were working on Pyramid and at Bob Stewart Productions.  Eventually, the full-time replacement for Bob would be hired in 1980, and it was long-time popular New York City on-air personality Steve O'Brien, who is still heard on occasion on WCBS-FM 101.1 these days.
             
            In closing, Bob Clayton is still remembered and missed by yours truly, and he was an important facet and a "cog" to the two all-time favorite TV game shows in my lifetime, Pyramid (#1) and Concentration (#2).  His deep warmth, concern, friendliness and folksy sense of humor is best remembered to this fan, and I was quite glad and lucky to able to see him on TV and in person.
             
            Sincerely,
            William A. Padron
            wapadron@hotmail. com
            wapadron@alumni. pace.edu

             


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