Monday, February 22, 2016

Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences is an American game show originally hosted on NBC radio by Ralph Edwards (1940–1957) and later on television by Edwards (1950–1954), Jack Bailey (1954–1955), Bob Barker (1956–1975), Bob Hilton (1977–1978) and Larry Anderson (1987–1988). The television show ran on CBS, NBC and also in syndication. The premise of the show was to mix the original
quiz element of game shows with wacky stunts.

 On the show, contestants received roughly two seconds to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly, or a bad joke) before "Beulah the Buzzer" sounded (in the rare occasion that the contestant answered the question correctly before Beulah was heard, the question inevitably had two or even three parts). If the contestant could not complete the "Truth" portion, there would be "Consequences," usually a zany and embarrassing stunt. From the start, most contestants preferred to answer the question wrong in order to perform the stunt. Said Edwards, "Most of the American people are darned good sports."

Ralph Edwards stated he got the idea for a new radio program after playing the parlor game Forfeits. The show premiered on NBC radio in March, 1940 and was an instant hit with listeners.

Truth or Consequences was the first game show to air on broadcast television, airing as a one-time experiment on the first day of New York station WNBT's commercial program schedule on July 1, 1941. Truth or Consequences did not appear on TV again until 1950, when the medium had caught on commercially.

The program entered the lexicon of pop culture and has been referenced numerous times in other media.

In Action Comics #127 (December 1948), Superman was a contestant on Truth or Consequences.

The town of Hot Springs, New Mexico, was renamed Truth or Consequences after the game show in 1950, when Ralph Edwards announced that he would host the program from the first town so renamed. Edwards himself continued to make appearances at the town's annual fiesta every May until his death.

A 1950 Looney Tunes cartoon titled The Ducksters featured Daffy Duck as the host of a radio game show called Truth or AAAAAHHHH!, with Porky Pig as the contestant.

On George Carlin's 1967 debut album, Take-Offs and Put-Ons, the character Congolia Breckinridge appears on a similar show called Truth or Penalties (although at one point Carlin says the original show's name). Because she has too little time to buzz in, when she is invited to pull back the curtain, an empty stage is revealed. The host then announces, "We were going to reunite you with your sister, whom you haven't seen in 27 years, but you blew the question, so we sent your sister back to Maine."

A 1977 SCTV sketch featured the show as a news item on The SCTV Evening News when the host, Bert Parks (Dave Thomas), angry and tired of hosting the show, loses it and throws a bottle of acid in the face of the contestant (Andrea Martin), then pulls out a gun and shoots the studio audience.

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