6 Classic Game Shows You Completely Forgot
Not every hit quiz show endured as long as Jeopardy!.
The most popular game shows of today have been around for decades. Wheel of Fortune debuted in 1975, while Jeopardy! is even older, dating back to 1964. The Price Is Right got its start way back in 1956, meaning that it's been on the air for 67 years. But while those three shows are enduring institutions, many, many classic game shows have come and gone from the airwaves during their lifetimes. Read on to see if you remember watching these six competition series, which were hits in their time but may have faded from your memory.
Truth or Consequences
Before the The Price Is Right, Bob Barker was the face of Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975. The game itself existed even longer: It premiered as a radio show in 1940 and ended 48 years later in 1988. The main point of the show was to get the contestants to do stunts or participate in silly games. Contestants were asked trivia questions—that were purposely difficult to answer or even impossible riddles—and if they got the question wrong, they moved on to the wackier portion of the show. For example, one episode featured women racing around the studio wearing 19th century-style hoop skirts.
What's My Line?
In What's My Line?, celebrity panelists tried to guess a contestant's line of work. They were only allowed to ask "yes" or "no" questions, and each "no" got the contestant more prize money. There was also a mystery guest—another celebrity whose identity the panelists had to guess while blindfolded. What's My Line? aired from 1950 to 1975.
Beat the Clock
Another show that began on the radio was Beat the Clock, which was around on and off from 1950 to 1980. (It also briefly returned as a children's game show in 2018.) The game involved pairs of contestants—usually couples—competing to complete stunts or tasks, often with props, before time ran out on a giant clock. The stunts included the contestants balancing an item on their bodies or doing some sort of race across the stage.
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Concentration aired in various forms between 1958 to 1991. The basic concept was this: Contestants played a matching game in which they chose two cards on a board to be turned over. If the cards matched, they had a chance to win the prize shown on the cards, and the cards were removed from the board. As the cards were removed, a puzzle was gradually revealed, and the contestants were raced to make out the puzzle. Concentration also had some recognizable hosts during its run, including Hugh Downs and Alex Trebek.
Win Ben Stein's Money
The '90s also had its share of unique game shows, including Win Ben Stein's Money, which aired from 1997 to 2003. The show was hosted and named after presidential speech writer-turned-actor Ben Stein, and for half of its six-season run, his co-host was Jimmy Kimmel. The first round of the Comedy Central show consisted of three contestants competing against each other in a quiz. In the second round, Stein replaced the loser from the first round and could prevent the contestants from winning more money. In the final, bonus round, the winner of the second round faced off against Stein in trivia while they were both in isolation booths. If the contestant got more questions right than Stein, they won an additional prize.
Figure It Out
Nickelodeon launched many game shows for kids during the '90s, including Figure It Out, which was hosted by Olympic swimmer-turned-TV personality Summer Sanders and aired from 1997 to 1999. Each episode featured kids with special talents. A panel of Nickelodeon stars had to try to guess what a kid's talent was by asking questions, similar to the concept of What's My Line?. Of course, once the game was over, the kid would get to show off their skill.