John Leonard "Johnny" Olson (May 22, 1910 – October 12, 1985) was an American radio personality and television announcer. His work spanned 32 game shows produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman from the late 1950s through the mid 1980s. He was also the announcer of The Jackie Gleason Show from 1962 to 1970.
Beginning in 1960, Olson announced the CBS prime-time panel game To Tell The Truth (on which he greeted each team of challengers with the question, "What is your name, please?"). The following year, he added duties on sister show What's My Line?, and in 1962 began announcing in the original Match Game (hosted by Gene Rayburn) in daytime on NBC until that series ended in 1969.
Olson was also announcer for The Jackie Gleason Show from 1962 until its cancellation in 1970. The first few seasons of the variety show were recorded in New York City, while the last few seasons were produced in Miami Beach, Florida (as Olson would say at the beginning of each show, "The sun and fun capital of the world").
Olson continued to announce Line? and Truth after both shows moved from CBS to syndication in the late 1960s; his involvement with both of them ended when he was designated announcer of the 1972 revivals of The Price Is Right and I've Got a Secret, both of which were taped in Hollywood.
While Name That Tune, To Tell the Truth, What's My Line, and The Match Game put Olson in the upper echelons of television game show announcers, the revival of The Price Is Right cemented Olson's fame. From the first show (airing September 4 1972) to his passing in 1985, his role transcended that of an announcer.
In addition to serving as Barker's sidekick, Olson was a beloved and valued member of the cast. He often "warmed up" the audience prior to taping; during taping, he often had much on-camera exposure (occasionally bantering with Barker) prior to calling out the contestants' names; he also appeared in many of the episodes' Showcases.
Olson's best-known Showcase appearance occurred on November 3, 1975, where he appeared as superhero Captain Klutz. The superhero was supposedly very clumsy, but still managed to rescue Janice Pennington from the evil Swethlana Swilt (portrayed by Anitra Ford), as Janice was roped to a recliner by Swethlana. After that, Klutz foiled Swethlana's retreat in her 1976 Ford mustang . After the skit was done, Barker commented, "I must say, before I ask for your [contestant Elenor Emerson] bid, I must say that is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen, and I loved it!"
During the 1970s and early 1980s, while going strong with his announcing duties on Price and Match, he announced nine other shorter-lived game shows, including Now You See It, Mindreaders, Double Dare, a revival of Tattletales, and his final non-Price assignment, Body Language.
Olson's name was occasionally the solution to clues and puzzles on shows he announced for; this happened on both Now You See It and Body Language. Additionally, when "Come on _______" was used as a question in the "Super Match" portion of an episode of Match Game 78 (with Price host Bob Barker serving as a panelist), host Gene Rayburn called Olson to center stage to read the top answer ("Come on down!").
Olson spent his off time on his spacious farm located at Buckingham Acres in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
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