Retro Quiz Shows

The Game shows of the 1950’s were plenty! There was more than 80 at the time! Some had a short run while others lasted for years. I added twentry of the shows, some well- known and others less-known.
Keep It In The Family~ 1957 ~ 1958 ~ ABC ~
Hosted by Bill Nimmo, and announced by, Johnny Olson, The format involved, two five-member teams of families, with 200 points to start the game. Each team was shown a prize, which they were then given a category and then alternated bidding for control The difficulty of the question also increased with the amount of the bid.

The bidding was done like a auction, until one team either challenged their opponents or bid the 100 point maximum. The team who won was then asked a five-point question. The questions were asked of the younger members, then the oldest members. If a family answered all five parts of the questions correctly, they then they received the amount of their bid plus the prize.

If a team missed any part of the question, the amount of their bid was deducted from their score the game continued until one team scored 350 points and won the game.

if a team’s score fell below 100 points, that team automatically lost.,the winners then faced a new family. Regardless of the outcome, all teams kept whatever prizes they won during their stay..
Beat The Clock ~ 1955 ~ 1958
Beat The Clock began in 1950 on CBS on nighttime! and later a daytime show was added that was cancelled in 1957 and the nightime show 6 months later.
The Big Surprize~ 1956 ~ 1958
Created as a response to the $64,000.00 Question, it began on NBC and had a prize of $100,000.00. In 1959 the show also was part of the Quiz Show scandals of the 1950s.
Masquerade Party ~ 1955~ 1960
The show was viewed on a number of TV stations, The Idea was to have a panel of celebrities, who with another celebrity in disguise that would leave clues to the celebrity’s true identity
The $64,000.00 Question ~ 1955 ~ 1958
The $64,000.00 Question was a game show that began in July 1955 to August 1958 and was the first of the shows that were rigged in the game show scandals of the 1950s!
What’s The Story 1952 ~ 1955~ Dumont TV
hosted by Walter Raney. who was repaced by Walter Kienan in 1953, and then Al Capp took over untill John Mccaffery who stayed on to the end od the show in 1955. it was the last show to be made on the Dumont Station.

The format of the game consisted of a panel of well known newspaper columnists, or other celebrities who were then asked to identify famous events from clues that were given by the moderator and his assistants.
Tic -Tac ~ Dough ~ 1956 ~ 1959 ~ NBC and ~ CBS 1978 ~ 1986
The goal of the game was to complete a line of three X or O markers on a standard Tic-Tac-Dough ~ board it was hosted Jack Barry in the 1950s, Gene Rayburn, Bill Windle, Jay Jackson, and Win Elliot. and in 1978 it was hosted by Wink Martingdale. Patrick Wayne hosted it in 1990.
Jackpot Bowling~ 1959 ~ 1961~ NBC
It was a professional bowling program and was the first one nationwide. It was televised from Wayne N.J. It was hosted by Lelo Durocher and and 2 years later it was hosted by, Mel Allen.
Truth or Consequences ~ 1950 ~ 1954 ~ NBC
The show was hosted by, Raphe Edwards, followed by, Jack Baily ~ 1954 ~ 1956 ~ Bob Barker ~ 1987 ~ 1988 ~ The format of the show was, to mix stunts and elements of quiz shows to answer trivia questions.
Dotto 1958 ~ 1958 ~ CBS
The format of the game was to identify an incomplete drawing by answering with Questions and Dots. The show was cancelled without explanation and later it was revealed the show was rigged and it was one of the number of shows involved in the Quiz show scandals.
Winner Take All ~ 1946 ~ 1952 ~ 1961~ NBC
The show began on CBS radio, then as a primetime TV show on CBS with Bill Cullen as the host. The format was to have two contestants answer general Questions of knowledge from skits or discovery tests.
What’s My Line ~ 1950 ~ 1967 ~ CBS
The format consisted of a celebrity panel who asked questions to a celebrity to try and guess their line of work, the celebrity would be “Blindfolded” The show won 3 Emmy Awards.
Quick on the Draw ~ 1952 ~ 1952 ~ Dumont TV ~
Hosted by Robin Chandler, the format had a cartoonist Bob Dunn, draw sketches which a panel of celebrities would try to identify .
Twentry ~ One ~ 1956 ~ 1958 ~ NBC
The show was hosted by, Jack Berry the format had two contestants who were each in a isolation booth compete with the other, with answers to earn a total of 21 points. later on it was revealed that the show was also rigged in the quiz show scandals of the 1950s.
The Big Payoff~ 1951 ~ 1959 ~ CBS ~
The show had three hosts. Randy Merriman from~ 1951 ~1957 ~ Bob Paige ~ 1957 ~ 1959 ~ Bert Parks ~ 1959 The format of the game was where Men mailed in letters explaining why the Woman in their lives deserved to win a Vacation, or a Mink Coat.

And the couple who scored the highest won the prize. NBC aired the show as a replacement to “Miss Susan” a 15 minute show.
Dough Re Mi ~ 1958 ~ 1960 ~ NBC ~
Hosted by Gene Rayburn, the show was similar to the format of “Name That Tune” a game that began in 1953. This game began with three songs worth $100.00 ~ $300.00 and $500.00.

The three contestants had a bankroll of $200.00 to start the game, and was given a chance to guess the song title after the first three notes,. If the song was guessed correctly the contestant won the value of that song.
The Price is Right ~ 1956 ~ 1963~ ABC ~ 1963 ~ 1965 ~
The show was hosted by, Bill Cullem on NBC then moved to ABC in 1965. The format consisted of a returning champion and three contestants that were from the audience, who bid on items like in a auction.

The contestants bid on a prize, and continued to bid higher than the previous bid. If the contestant believed they were close to the current bid they could freeze to win the bid.
On Your Way~ 1953 ~ 1954 ~ Dumont TV ~
Host unknown, the format of the game consisted of a pair of contestants who got a chance to win a trip to anywhere in th United States by answering questions and the more questions they answered, the further they would get to travel.

And sometimes they won the full prize even if hey didn’t win, if it was decided their story was sad enough for them to get the prize! The show moved to ABC later on in the year.
Who Do You Trust~ 1957 ~1963~ ABC
The show was hosted by, Johnny Carson, and the announcer was Bill Nimmo. who was replaced by, Ed McMahon a year later. Johnny Carson left to host The Tonight show in 1962 with Ed McMahon, Woody Woodbury then took over as host and Bill Nimmo returned as the announcer, the format consisited of three couples, almost always a Man and a Woman who had unique backgrounds.

The announcer would introduce the couples one at a time. In the the quiz section the host would then tell the male contestant, the upcoming category question, who in turn would have to answer the question or trust the woman to do so.

Each couple was asked three questions, worth $25.00, $50.00, and $75.00. They were asked a question that involved a numerical answer, the couple who came the closest to the correct answer, went on to the bonus round.
Musical Chairs~ 1950 ~ 1950 ~ NBC ~
Hosted by, Bill Leyden with guest regulars, Mel Blanc ~ Johhny Mercer ~ Bobby Troup ~ and his Orchestra, who were regular panelists, with the assistance of a chreeleaders group singing, and the band providing the music.

The format of the game was to have viewers mail in questions to the network about the music to challenge a panel of four people with their knowledge of any aspect of music such as, words, music, arrangements, composing, to performing. Any viewer who stumped the panel was awarded a new 21- inch TV from the RCA company.
High Finance ~1956 ~ CBS ~
The show was hosted by, Dennis James, the format had contestants answer questions about current events, each player was asked five questions from newspapers they studied before the start of the game. With each correct answer the contestant won $300.00.

If all three questions were correct, the player went on to the investment segment where they could wager any amount of money and the correct answer won the prize. And they had the option to return the following week or risk the prize they won in another “investment segment”.
The Quiz Show Scandals of the 1950s changed what began as fun exciting enterainment for the country into disaster after a number of the shows were found to be rigged by the producers as the contestants were given answers to the questions in advance to have the edge on the others.!
This led the United States Senate to begin investigations into these shows. Shows that were found to be rigged were, Twentry – One ~ The $64,000.00 Question – Tic~ Tac~ Dough ~ Dotto ~ The 64,000 Challenge ~ You can learn more facts about the Quiz Shows, and the Quiz Show Scandals at
Thanks to Mike for his help with this page