1930's to the 1960's


The first few decades of game show development were very slow and boring. They mainly consisted of simple quiz shows where people where randomly selected out of the live audience and were asked a question. If correct, they won the grand prize of $5! (Ohhh, ahhh!) one of the most popular was 1936's "Professor Quiz," hosted by Craig Earl on CBS radio. To keep the audience fresh, the show would broadcast live from a different city each week.


As television became more and more of a common household appliance, game shows also made their transition in the medium. On January 29, 1946, John Reed King hosted "It's a Gift" - the first television quiz show. Some of the more popular show of the late 40's that followed included: "Cash and Carry," "Winner Take All," "Riddle Me This," and "Quiz Kids."

The maturation of game shows continued throughout the next several years, but didn't catch on until newsman John Daley became the moderator for "What's My Line?" On the show, a celebrity panel would ask a guest "yes" and "no" questions dealing with their occupation. The gust would receive $5 for each "no" response. After 10 "no's," the guest would reveal his occupation. For the final round, the panel would use blindfolds as a mystery guest (usually a celebrity) would sign in and play would continue in the same way. "What's My Line?" aired for over 25 years before it was pulled from syndication in June of 1975.


Another success story of the time began in March of 1950 with "Beat the Clock," with everyone's favorite clock watcher - Bud Collyer! Here, contestants would attempt to complete an array of strange stunts before the clock reached zero. As the stunts got harder, the prizes got better.


Unfortunately, the era was not to be completely incident free. Two scandals rocked the trust of a nation that it had built upon the black and white box. In 1958, it was learned that contestants on Jack Narz's "Dotto" and Jack Berry's "21," had been given answers to questions prior to the shows' airing. The show's producers had wanted to build excitement through neck and neck competition, which they controlled.



The 60's saw game shows attempting to reclaim some of their credibility lost in the scandals. Out of the shady dealings emerged a show that would last for over 15 years and would spawn several spin-off's. Let's see if you can guess. Here's your clues: Enter . . . Secret . . . Say.



In case you haven't figured it out, it's Alan Ludden's trademark show "Password."


Two teams, made of a contestant and a celebrity, would be given a password that one person would have to get the other person to say. They were only allowed to give one-word clues and time was limited. After the original "Password" went of the air in 1975, "Password Plus" showed up in 1979 and "Super Password" in 1984 with Burt Convey.



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