Game Shows Wiki
Robert Q. Lewis (1951–1954)
Dennis James (1954–1955)
Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding (1955)
Clifton Fadiman (1955)
Lee Vines
Bob Shepard
Lee Goodman
Glenn Riggs
Broadcast (ABC Primetime)
12/5/1951 – 8/31/1954
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10/18/1954 – 10/7/1955
Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions

The Name's the Same was a game show where people with the name of a famous person are questioned by a celebrity panel.


Each standard round featured a contestant who had a "famous name"; i.e., their full name was the same as either a famous person, place or thing (with the latter usually taking the first initial "A.", such as "A. Table"), or occasionally an action (such as "I. Draw", or "Will Kiss"). The contestant was introduced and referred to throughout the game as "Mr. X" or one of two variations ("Miss X" or "Mrs. X" for a woman; "Master X" for a young boy as was the standard at the time). A small curtain was opened to the audience, showing a placard with the contestant's name, along with a drawing depicting the namesake; famous people were often caricatured.

The panelists were allocated 10 questions each, with the number remaining denoted in running tally on the wall behind them. The questions had to be yes or no questions, and were posed to the contestant as if they were the person, place, or thing their name represented with the contestant answering as their namesake. The panel could pass to save some of their questions for later on in the game. Any member of the panel who failed to identify the contestant's name wrote the contestant a check for $25, meaning each contestant won either $50 if their name was guessed by a panelist, or $75 if it was not.

When a fourth panelist was added on February 9, 1954 (making the show similar to What's My Line?), the check amounts were decreased to $20 per panelist, making the prizes $60 for a correct guess and $80 if the panel was stumped.

Sometimes a contestant's celebrity namesake was brought out at the end of the round to surprise the contestant; other times, a celebrity was the guest without pretext. The celebrity then played a special round called "I'd Like To Be…" in which the panel tried to guess, in the same fashion as with civilians, who the celebrity would like to be if they could be anyone else.

On September 15, 1953, "I'd Like To Be…" was dropped and a week later was replaced with "Secret Wish", in which the panel attempted to guess something that the guest would secretly like to do or have happen (for example, Kirk Douglas wished to coach the Vassar lacrosse team, and Van Johnson wanted Marilyn Monroe to sit on his lap). The celebrity's winnings went to their favorite charity.

A few times near the end of the run, host Clifton Fadiman would welcome the panel, and then reveal the episode's guest to the studio and home audience. The curtain would pull back with the guest standing behind it in place of the usual caricature.

A typical episode contained four rounds - two standard rounds, the celebrity round, and then a final standard round; some episodes would feature one less or one more standard round. At the end of each episode, each panelist would tell how much money they "lost" followed by a good-night.

International Versions[]

A British version was made for radio (BBC Home Service) and TV (BBC Television) with British namesakes of famous people, buildings and things. It originally aired on radio with Raymond Glendenning hosting in 1953, and then ran on television from 1953 to 1954 with Bernard Braden as the original host, later replaced by Peter Martyn.

A one-off revival edition was produced for BBC Four in 2005 (with Hugh Dennis serving as host) as part of a season of programs detailing the "lost decade".


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  • 1st Main - "Shooting Star" by Sidney Torch
  • 2nd Main - "Meet Me in Saint Louis, Louis" by Kerry Mills


Elysee Theater, New York City, NY


Mark Goodson & Bill Todman


The Name's the Same @ Gene Rayburn's World
The Name's the Same @ Bill Cullen's World
Episode guide (August 6, 1952-October 7, 1955), by Matt Ottinger