TVs Greatest Game Shows is a fun and fascinating must-read for any game show fan! Highlighting over 50 of the greatest game shows ever shown on TV, it also features biographies of everyone's favorite hosts, plus hundreds of rarely-seen pictures, show trivia, and behind-the-scenes stories.
You'll find just about everything you ever wanted to know about TV game shows in this 224 page compilation including:
- More than 50 years of questions and answers, panel shows, wacky celebrity fun,big-money winners, trivia, and behind-the-scenes stories!
- Stories of top-notch contestants, including the player who won more than $2.5 million dollars...and the player who discovered the secret patterns of a TV game board using his VCR and remote control, then used that knowledge to win...BIG!
- Hundreds of photos of the game shows, the hosts, the stars, and the players! - A visual timeline of the best game shows in television history! Includes an easy to find index to all the fun from the most popular shows to the most obscure, whatever it is, you re likely to find it here!
Let the Games Begin! The Early Days of TV Game Shows
It should come as no surprise to note that many of television’s first game shows were extensions of those that had originated on radio. Many broadcasting historians acknowledge that the first radio quiz show (referred to as an “audience participation program”) was broadcast in October of 1936, as CBS offered Professor Quiz. Featuring the affable and highly intelligent Dr. Craig Earl, contestants would ask Earl the questions and, if they could stump him, they collected $25. The popularity of these quiz shows grew rapidly, with programs like Doctor IQ, Pot O’Gold, and the highly successful Information, Please. A 1940 program known as Take It or Leave It established the “$64 question” as an icon for an important challenge (later to become TV’s $64,000 Question.)
Before World War II temporarily halted television’s development, broadcast networks were hard-pressed to provide any semblance of a programming schedule. In Jeff Kisselhoff’s marvelous book on TV history, The Box, CBS producer Gil Fates states that fifteen hours a week were tough to fill. Staffers talked about doing some sort of quiz show, coming up with the CBS Television Quiz in July of 1941 – making it network TV’s very first game show. Fates hosted the one-hour weekly show that lasted for a year.
By the late 1940s, a mustachioed, cigar-smoking movie comedian named Groucho Marx had turned his rapier wit into the basis of a radio quiz show called You Bet Your Life. Marx would chat with contestants (getting huge laughs at their expense) then ask questions in exchange for prize money. With the advent of video, You Bet Your Life made an easy transition to the NBC television network in 1950. The popular quiz show would stay in the Top 20 of the Nielsen ratings for most of the 1950s.