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1956: 'To Tell the Truth' Debuts on CBS
June 18, 2019  | By David Bianculli
 
The quiz show To Tell the Truth — which debuted today in 1956 — outlasted most of the others of the period, especially after the 1958 quiz-show scandal, partly because it had nothing to hide. After all, this was one game show where every contestant was supposed to be untrustworthy.

The major memories from this quiz show are mostly visual, and come from the beginning and end of each game. At the start there are the silhouettes of the three contestants, standing there like statues before the scrim curtain rises to reveal their faces. And at the end, after the panelists had recorded their guesses as to which of the three contestants was really the person described at the beginning, host Bud Collyer (or, in the long-running syndicated version, Garry Moore) asked the still-famous phrase "Will the real ___________ please stand up?" — whereupon all three contestants teased the panel, and the viewers, by bobbing up and down randomly until one finally confessed and stood tall.

Orson Bean, Peggy Cass, Tom Poston, and Kitty Carlisle were the core panelists on the CBS version, but to tell the truth, those visual gimmicks, and that "stand up" query, are what really stand out today.

—Excerpted from Dictionary of Teleliteracy: Television's 500 Biggest Hits, Misses and Events



 
 
 
 
 
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