|Mike Wallace (1956 Pilot)|
Bud Collyer (1956–1968)
Gene Rayburn (1965, sub)
Mark Goodson (1967/1991, sub)
Bert Convy (1968, sub)
Garry Moore (1969–1977)
Bill Cullen (1960s/1972/1977, sub)
Joe Garagiola (1977–1978)
Robin Ward (1979–1981)
Richard Kline (1990 Pilots)
Gordon Elliott (1990)
Lynn Swann (1990–1991)
Alex Trebek (1991)
John O'Hurley (2000–2002)
Anthony Anderson (2016–Present)
|Bern Bennett (1956–1960)|
Johnny Olson (1960–1972)
Bill Wendell (1972–1977)
Yogi Bear (voiced by Daws Butler) (1974, sub; First Game only)
Alan Kalter (1977–1981)
Charlie O'Donnell (1990 Pilots, 1991 sub)
Burton Richardson (1990–2002)
David Scott (2016–2017)
CBS Daytime: 6/18/1962 – 9/6/1968
Syndication (Daily): 9/8/1980 – 6/12/1981 (reruns aired until 9/11/1981)
Syndication (Daily): 9/18/2000 – 3/15/2002
|Mark Goodson/Bill Todman Productions (1956–1981)|
Mark Goodson Productions (1990–1991)
Pearson Television/FremantleMedia North America (2000–Present)
To Tell the Truth is a game show where three people, all of whom claim to be someone, are questioned by a panel of four celebrities. One of them is the real person, while the other two are just impostors. The panelists take turns questioning the people about their subject and then try to guess which of the three people is the truth teller. Originally, in the 1956 pilot, it was called Nothing But the Truth.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Notable Panelists
- 3 Notable Contestants
- 4 Rating
- 5 Music
- 6 Merchandise
- 7 International Versions
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Galleries
- 10 Inventor
- 11 Additional Page
- 12 Links
To start, three contestants, all of whom claim to be the same person, introduced themselves (most of the time the contestants are of the same sex, on rare occasions there would be a mixture of both sexes), then the host read the sworn affidavit of the real person. After the affidavit was read and when the challengers went over to their desk, the panelists one by one asked a series of questions to the challengers based on the affidavit in some way for an unmentioned amount of time. Once one panelist's time was up, another panelist started questioning, except in the 2016 version, where the panelists simply took turns asking one question per turn until time was up. The impostors were allowed to lie, but the real person was game bound to tell the truth (hence the name of the show). Once the entire panel's time was up, they started to vote for whoever was the real person. Each panelist showed his/her vote, and regardless of whoever they voted for, the appropriate panelist's vote for the appropriate contestant was signified by an "X" (in most versions the Xs appeared in lights, but in the 90s version only, the Xs were on flip cards), except in the 2016 version, where it was signified by a small image of their head in the first season and the panelist's name in the second season. Once all the votes were cast, the real person then revealed himself/herself by standing up by virtue of the host saying "Will the real (insert person's name) please stand up?". After the real person revealed himself/herself, the impostors told everyone their real names & occupations; then there was a brief chat (sometimes a stunt) to the real person. For each incorrect vote, the team of challengers won some money except in the 2016 version.
NOTE: In the current 2016 version, only three panelists were being used instead of four due to the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19/Pandemic issue happening in Hollywood.
Sometimes, a panelist would recognize or actually know one of the challengers, not necessarily the real person. If and when that happened, the panelist can disqualify himself/herself (later renamed recusal) causing an automatic wrong vote and giving the challengers money for that vote.
NOTE: So far, this has happened once in the current 2016 version of the show. Because of that, the panelist in question: Weird Al Yankovic has swapped chairs with Mama Doris.
In two of the versions (one of them being the original and the other the one in 2000) as well as the 50s pilot, the audience got in on the fun by making a vote themselves. The challenger with the majority vote got that vote. In case of a two-way or three-way tie, it worked the same as the panelist's disqualification; for that vote was considered wrong and the challengers picked up the incorrect vote value.
Here are the payoffs for the incorrect votes according to the version:
- Pilot – Each incorrect vote was worth $300 meaning a complete stump won $1,500.
- CBS Nighttime Version – Each incorrect vote was worth $250 meaning that a complete stump was worth $1,000. The last six episodes of this version featured the audience vote, for a top prize of $1,250. If the entire panel chose the same challenger and was correct, the challengers still won $150.
- CBS Daytime Version – Each incorrect vote was worth $100 meaning that a complete stump was worth $400. When the audience vote was instituted in this version, the maximum prize was raised to $500. If all of the votes were correct, the challengers split $75.
- 1969–1978 Version – Each incorrect vote was worth $50, and a complete stump was worth $500.
- 1980–1981 Version – Each incorrect vote was worth $100, and a complete stump was worth $500.
- 1990–1991 Version – Each incorrect vote was worth $500 with a guarantee of $1,000. So therefore zero, one, or two incorrect votes won the team $1,000, three incorrect votes was worth $1,500. But if the panel was stumped, then the team of challengers won $3,000. The pilot did not guarantee $1,000 per game.
- 2000–2002 Version – Each incorrect vote was worth $1,000 meaning that a complete stump was worth $5,000. In earlier weeks, the grand prize for stumping the panel was $10,000.
- 2016–Present Version – No money was awarded for incorrect votes, as the panelists received one point (later 10) for correctly identifying central characters. In the final round, for which two points (later 20) were awarded. While no mention is made for compensation for the impostors or central characters, the losing panelist(s) is/are subjected to punishment. In the event of a tie, Doris chooses the loser. Starting in season four, a special prize known as “The Doris” (named after the host’s mom) is given to the panelist who sweeps the game without missing, unless there is a tie; every correct answer gets them closer to earning the reward.
One on One
On two versions after two regular games of To Tell the Truth were played, one special game was played called "One on One". There were two versions of "One on One" on both versions.
Impostors from both games played the "One on One" game. In this game, an interesting fact about one of the impostors was revealed to the panel for the first time. Each panelist asked a series of questions to the impostor across from them. After 20 seconds of questioning, each panelist decided if the impostor across from each one had the fact or not. When all said & done, the impostor with the fact stood up, and each incorrect guess was worth $100, with a complete stump paying off $500.
In this version, a member of the studio audience faced a brand new contestant who told two stories (which appeared in single words to the home viewers), one of them being the truth. All the audience member had to do was spot the true story. To help out, the panel would each ask a single question about each story. When the cross-examination was done, the audience member made his/her decision as to which was the true story afterwhich the contestant revealed the true story by saying "To tell the truth… (insert correct story)". A correct decision won the audience member $500, but an incorrect decision won the contestant $1,000 (except on the pilot).
New 2016 Elements
These are the elements that were being used in this version.
Before You Go
In the 2016 version, the third game of the show features the imposters from the previous game. As with the 1980 One on One, an additional fact is revealed, and the panel has to guess who it applies to.
The panelist with the fewest points is subject to punishment. In case of a tie, Mama Doris makes the final decision by choosing the loser.
Tweet A Lie
For the first two seasons of the 2016 version, the one panelist who's done the worse of the four has to tweet a lie made up by host Anderson and post it for 24 hours.
In season three, the losing panelist became the subject of a "Fake News" story read by Anderson.
King of the Losers
In season four And five, the losing panelist, wears a crown, given by Mama Doris.
In season four And five, any panelist who guesses right in all five rounds, s/he receives a special trophy called "The Doris".
David Niven Jr.
Morton Downey Jr.
Kermit the Frog
Melody Thomas Scott
- Berry Gordy Jr. – Founder of the famed Detroit record company "Motown".
- Farley Mowat - Canadian author of Never Cry Wolf; actor Charles Martin Smith had impersonated him in its film version.
- Bill Anderson – Country singer and host of The Better Sex & Fandango.
- Ted Geisel aka Dr. Seuss – Famous writer of children's books including The Cat in the Hat. NOTE: A clip of his introduction was used in his biographical movie called In Search of Dr. Seuss starring Kathy Najimy.
- Alex Haley – Author of the book Roots.
- Gordie Howe – Famous professional ice hockey player who underwent the nickname "Mr. Hockey". He was most remembered for playing with the Detroit Red Wings for 24 years, capturing four Stanley Cup championships with the team.
- Sissy Biggers – The television personality who went on to host the cooking game show Ready... Set... Cook!.
- Ally Sheedy – Prior to her work in the successful film The Breakfast Club, she wrote a kids' book called She Was Nice to Mice, about Queen Elizabeth I Tudor's refusal to allow her game-keepers to kill any of the mice then infesting the Royal Castle in London. A daughter of the show's staff was one of the impostors in that game.
- Frank Abagnale Jr. – The famous con artist whose game appeared in the movie Catch Me If You Can which was about Frank's life story.
- Jack Mercer – The voice of Popeye the Sailor Man in the animated cartoons.
- Tom Carvel – Founder of his namesake ice cream shop franchise.
- Jennifer O'Neill – American actress
- Garry Trudeau – Creator of the comic strip Doonesbury.
- Orville Redenbacher – The famous popcorn maker & entrepreneur. He stumped the panel in his appearance.
- Carroll Spinney – Better known as Sesame Street’s Big Bird.
- Rosa Parks – The lady who would not give up her seat during segregation times.
- Gene Roddenberry – The creator of Star Trek.
- Stan Lee - The founding writer-editor of the Marvel Comics Group. (He was the central character for one round each in two editions.)
- Larry King – The future host of his CNN primetime talk show.
- Mary Kay Ash – Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
- John McLaughlin – Future host of The McLaughlin Group
- Chuck Jones – Famous cartoon animator and director
- William Hanna – Co-Founder of Hanna-Barbera Productions
- Cynthia Nixon - Actress who played Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City.
- Anderson Cooper - Former host of the reality series The Mole and CNN anchor who also hosted The CNN Quiz Show.
- Vicki McCarty – Playboy nude centerfold and a fill-in hostess of Wheel of Fortune before Vanna White.
- Thom McKee – Tic Tac Dough's big time champion.
- Warren Murphy – The former husband of Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson.
- Dawn Miller – One of the two impostors who posed as a gilted/homeless bride. She was previously the first ever contestant & champion on CBS's Child's Play. She helped stumped the panel and collected $1,000 (her share of $3,000).
- Randy West – Game show contestant turned announcer. He was one of the impostors who posed as the Scandal Tours founder. He helped stumped the panel and collected $1,000 (his share of $3,000).
- Josh Pais – Actor who portrayed Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was a One on One contestant who also posed as a laid off chauffeur for Donald Trump; he appeared on the 1990 premiere.
- Sherri Lynn Stoner – Cartoon voiceover & writer; at the time she appeared on the show, she was the body model for Ariel, the Little Mermaid.
- Hank Ketcham – The creator of the comic strip Dennis the Menace. He was a One on One contestant who also posed as Johnny Marks, composer for the song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer; he appropriately appeared on the Christmas 1990 episode. Previously, he was a challenger in May of 1962.
- Paul Alter – The show's director who was also a One on One contestant; he posed as the writer for Frank Sinatra's New York, New York. He appeared in the 90s version's last episode. He managed to stump the audience member playing that day, but he was not allowed to keep the $1,000 all to himself. Instead, he donated half to charity, and gave the other half to that audience member. You could say it was a 50/50 tie.
- Mikki Padilla – The dealer for GSN's Catch 21.. She was one of the impostors.
- Willie Aames – A former child star best known for starring in Charles in Charge & Eight is Enough, who, at the time of his appearance, was acting out a character called Bibleman. At one time, he was hosting a revival of The Krypton Factor.
- Yvonne Craig – TV's Batgirl; She came in her Batgirl attire, and so did the two impostors. One of those impostors was Melody Thomas Scott of The Young and the Restless.
- Rhonda Shear – Former host of USA Up All Night and inventor of the Ahh Bra.
- Victor Willis – Cop/lead singer of the disco group The Village People. (The two impostors were both actual police officers and still actively maintained their physical-training regimens; Willis himself had allowed himself to fall out of shape physically.)
- Bob Bergen – Voice of Porky Pig. In 1998, he hosted Jep!, the kid's version of Jeopardy!
- Anitra Ford – One of the earliest models on The Price is Right.
- Hunter S. Thompson – Author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hells Angels author and writer for Rolling Stone ESPN. Founding Gozo writing style in which journalist is part of the story.
- William Peter Blatty – Writer best known for the 1971 novel (which was later made into a critically acclaimed horror film in 1973) The Exorcist. Panelist Florence Henderson disqualified herself because she knew him from other shows.
- Lori "Ice" Fetrick – One of the original American Gladiators. She posed as a record planker.
- Robbie Rist – Voice artist, known for voicing Michaelangelo in the three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. He was also Cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch.
- David Gould – A contestant from the first season of The Apprentice, who was the first to get fired.
- Billy Steinberg – Famous songwriter for many famous songs. Weird Al Yankovic knows him and recused himself from that round.
- Roger Love – Famous Voice Coach.
- Anne Lockhart – Actress and daughter of Lassie star June Lockhart. She posed first as of famous songwriter and later a famous voice coach.
- Denise Nickerson – Actress who formerly played Violet Beauregarde on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Celebrity Guests as Impostors in Disguise
Sometimes, the team of challengers would be in disguise, and one or two of them would be celebrity guests. Here are a few examples.
- Wally Bruner – The first host of the new What's My Line?.
- Rip Taylor and Christopher Hewett – They both dressed up as Santa Claus. The subject was the founder of the Ho-Ho Hotline.
- Melody Thomas Scott – Star of CBS' long-running daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless; as stated above, she was one of the Batgirl impostors in the game in which Yvonne "Batgirl" Craig was the central character.
- Jaleel White - Television's Steve Urkel. He appeared as a fake backup dancer in The Weeknd's Super Bowl halftime show.
- Tom Poston – Regular 60s TTTT panelist.
- Mark Goodson - One of TTTT's joint creators and founding producers.
- Bill Todman - One of TTTT's joint creators and founding producers.
- Mrs. Bud Collyer – 50s-60s version
- George Lindsey – "Goober" from Andy Griffith.
- Cicely Tyson
- Henry Morgan
1956 – "Peter Pan" by Dolf van der Linden
1962 – Bob Cobert
1967 – "To Tell the TRUTH" by Score Productions
1969 – Score Productions
1980 – Score Productions
1990 – Score Productions
1990 Unused Vocal – Score Productions & Take 6
2000 – Gary Stockdale
2000 Vamp Main – "Cyber Moonlighting" by Gary Stockdale
2016 – Cheche and his Band of Liars (NOTE: They have been removed since season 2)
The 1969 and unused 1990 versions' themes had lyrics.
It's a lie, lie
You're telling a lie
I never know why you don't know how
To tell the truth, truth, truth, truth
You don't know how to tell the truth, yeah!
I'm a fool, fool
I've been such a fool
I'm blowing my cool for you right now
To tell the truth, truth, truth, truth…
You say you went home early last night
The book you read's out of sight
And that's why you took your phone off the hook
And never did get my call.
It's a lie, lie
I should say goodbye
But I'm gonna try to teach you how
To tell the truth, truth, truth, truth
You don't know how to tell the truth!
Repeat verse 1 and 2
You don't know how to tell the truth…
A board game based on the original 1956 version was manufactured by Lowell in 1957.
A single-player online game based on the short-lived 2000 version was once released by Uproar.com; However, as of September 30, 2006 the website has be temporarily shut down, offering no game show based online games of any kind.
GSN/Game Show Network
A live interactive version of Truth where you can play along while watching the show was once available thru GSN's very own website.
Video Slot Machine
A video slot machine based on the syndicated 1969 era was released to american casinos nationwide by Bally Gaming Systems in 2002. (NOTE: on the slot machine glass you'll notice that there's a small 2000-2002 logo on the right side of the marquee seen below of this page.)
Countries that previously had their versions of To Tell the Truth include:
- Australia: as Tell The Truth originally, it aired on the Nine Network from 1959 to 1965, hosted by George Foster followed by Mike Williamson. Then a revival of the series aired on Network Ten, hosted by Earle Bailey from 1971 to 1972.
- Canada: as To Tell the Truth (english-language only) airing on CTV from 1962 to 1964, hosted by Don Cameron.
- Czech Republic : as S pravdou ven (With the Truth Out) airing on Prima as a very short-lived run in 2018 hosted by Tomas Mechacek.
- Germany: as Sag Die Wahrheit (Tell The Truth) originally hosted by Hans Sachs followed by Wolf Mittler, then Guido Baumann followed by Hans Stotz, then Bernd Stephen followed by Ruben Gerd Bauer, and finally Michael Antwerpes. originally it aired on ARD from 1959 to 1971 then on Bayerisches Fernsehen from 1986 to 1995. and finally on SWR since 2003.
- Italy: as La verita (The Truth) hosted by Marco Balestri, originally aired on Canale 5 from 1990 to 1991 then on Rete 4 from 1991 to 1995.
- Netherlands: as Wie van de drie (Which of the Three) originally hosted by Nand Baert from 1963 to 1967 followed by Pim Jacobs from 1967 to 1968. Next, Herman Emmink hosted the series from 1971 to 1982 followed by Flip van der Schalie in 1983, then Fred Oster in 1985 followed by Caroline Christensen in 1991. Then Rob van Hulst in 1994 followed by Jos Kuijer in 1995. Joop Braakhekke hosted the series in 1997 and finally Ron Brandsteder since 2010. The original network that ran this version of Truth was AVRO for three times from 1963 to 1983, then in 1985 for a brief period. Its third and final run was from 1994 to 1997. RTL4 then ran a version for a brief period in 1991. Currently, Omroep MAX runs their version since 2010.
- Slovakia: as S pravdou von (With the Truth Out) hosted by Juraj Sok Tabacek, it airs on TV JOJ since 2019.
(NOTE: This version only has four guys on the panel)
- Thailand: as Sworn Truth: To Tell the Truth hosted by Contract Kutsan, it aired on ONE HD channel since 2016.
- Ukraine: as Samozvantsi (Impostors) hosted by Anton Lirnyk, it aired on ICTV from 2011 to 2012.
- United Kingdom: as Tell The Truth hosted by MacDonald Hobley then with David Jacobs, Shaw Taylor, Graeme Garden and finally Fred Dinenage. The original network that ran this version was ITV from 1957 to 1959 and again from 1989 to 1990, followed by Channel 4 from 1983 to 1985.
The short-lived Saturday Morning cartoon series titled Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down (originally airing on ABC from 1970 until 1972) is a semi-reference to the show's catchphrase, "Will the real (insert contestant's name) please stand up?"
The 2000–2002 version of To Tell The Truth was the 1st game show where John O'Hurley and Burton Richardson both worked together on as both host and announcer respectively. Four years later, they worked together again in the 2006–2010 version of Family Feud.
In the rap song "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem from 2000 while singing the refrain, he's asking "So Won't the real Slim Shady please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?" in a semi-reference to the show's catchphrase, "Will the real (insert contestant's name) please stand up?" In addition, the song was "appropriately" spoofed in promos for the O'Hurley era of the show.
Beginning in February 2010, Direct TV started a series of commercials spoofing To Tell the Truth (mainly based on the 1973–1978 era) featuring Alex Trebek (who hosted the actual show in 1991) as the host. A closely sounding instrumental variation of the 1969–1978 theme music was used. The four "panelists" (who were not celebrities unlike the actual show) were guessing who was "telling the truth" among the three contestants representing DirecTV, the cable company and DirecTV's rival, Dish Network. Although the "panelists" are clearly sitting. At the end, the "panelists" always chose DirecTV as the winner. (NOTE: The commercials are not entirely true to the show, as the contestants are shown standing up [the commercial open shows they are not sitting]).
The O'Hurley version was the last version that featured long-time panelist Kitty Carlisle before her death in 2007.
O'Hurley version was the last version to feature the classic Mark Goodson Production logo in the end credits but not the name and announcement said by the announcer.
Doors & Other Contestant Stands
Bob Stewart for Goodson-Todman Productions
A TTTT site focusing on all versions of the show
To Tell the Truth @ Pearson Television's Official Website (via Internet Archive)
FremantleMedia North America & Jeff Gaspin To Revive 'To Tell the Truth'
FremantleMedia looking to revive 'To Tell the Truth'
Classic Celebrity Panel Game Show Coming Back
Chris Lambert's TTTT Page
Rules for To Tell the Truth
Official website for the 2000-2002 revival (via the Internet Archive)
Official website for the 2016 revival