Ralph Edwards (Radio; TV: 1941, 1950–1951)
Jack Bailey (TV, 1954–1956)
Bob Barker (Daytime, 1956–1975)
Steve Dunne (Nighttime, 1957–1958)
Bob Hilton (1977–1978)
Larry Anderson (1987–1988)
Dresser Dahlstead (1956–1975)
Murray Langston & Hilary Safire (1987–1988)
Frank Barton (1950–1951)
Jerry Lawrence (1954–1955)
Ken Carpenter (1955–1956)
Charles Lyon (1956–1975)
Wendell Niles (1957–1958)
John Harlan (1977–1978)
Johnny Gilbert (1987 Pilot)
Ted Zigler (1987–1988)
Broadcast (Network)
CBS Radio (Weekly):3/23/1940 – 7/27/1940, 9/5/1950 – 5/29/1951
NBC Radio (Weekly): 8/17/1940 – 6/24/1950, 6/17/1952 – 6/12/1956
WNBT Special: 7/1/1941
CBS Primetime: 9/7/1950 – 5/31/1951
NBC Primetime: 5/18/1954 – 9/28/1956, 12/13/1957 – 6/6/1958
NBC Daytime: 12/18/1956 – 9/25/1959, 10/26/1959 – 9/24/1965
Broadcast (Syndicated)
Truth or Consequences 1970s
Daily: 9/19/1966 – 9/1975
Weekly: 9/19/1977 – 9/1978
Daily: 9/17/1987 – 2/26/1988
Ralph Edwards Productions (1940–1978)
Ralph Edwards-Stu Billett Productions/Chris Bearde Productions (1987–1988)
Metromedia Television (1966–1978)
Lorimar-Telepictures (1987–1988)

Truth or Consequences was the long-running wild & wacky game show where contestants that were selected from the studio audience could either tell the truth (answer a question) or be forced to pay the consequences (perform a stunt).

On the show, people had to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly, or a bad joke) and had about two seconds to do so before "Beulah the Buzzer" was sounded (in the rare occasion that the contestant answered the question correctly before Beulah was heard, another question was asked).

If the contestant could not complete the "Truth" portion, there would be "Consequences," usually a zany and embarrassing stunt. From the start, most contestants preferred to answer the question wrong in order to perform the stunt. Said Edwards, "Most of the American people are darned good sports."[1]

In many broadcasts, the stunts on Truth or Consequences included a popular, but emotional, heart-rending surprise for a contestant, that being the reunion with a long-lost relative or with an enlisted son or daughter returning from military duty overseas, particularly Vietnam. Sometimes, if that military person was based in California, his or her spouse or parents were flown in for that reunion.


Ralph Edwards would say later that he got the idea for a new radio program after playing the parlor game Forfeits.[2] The show premiered on NBC radio in March 1940 and was an instant hit with listeners.

In Action Comics #127 (December 1948), Superman was a contestant on Truth or Consequences ([1]).

The town of Hot Springs, New Mexico was renamed Truth or Consequences after the game show in 1950, when Ralph Edwards announced that he would do the program from the first town so renamed. Edwards himself continued to make appearances at the town's annual fiesta every May until his death.

A 1950 Looney Tunes cartoon called The Ducksters featured Daffy Duck as the host of a radio game show called Truth or AAAAAHHHH!, with Porky Pig as the contestant. NOTE: At the end of the cartoon, Daffy yelled: "Have you got a doctor in the balcony lady?" Which was actually a reference to another game show Dr. I.Q.; the actual catch phrase was: "I have a lady/gentleman in the balcony, Doctor."


The syndicated Truth or Consequences became the first successful first-run daily game show (as opposed to reruns) to not air on a network, having ended its NBC run in 1965.

Truth or Consequences was the first game show to air on commercially-licensed television, airing on the first day of WNBT's program schedule in 1941. This was a one-time experiment; Truth or Consequences did not appear on TV again until 1950, when the medium had caught on commercially.[3]

During Barker's run as host, "Barker's Box" was played at the end of the show. Barker's Box was a box with four drawers in it, one with a $10 bill, one with $20, one with $50, and one with a pop-up surprise. A contestant able to pick all three money drawers without choosing the surprise drawer won a bonus prize.

On Truth or Consequences, Barker's sign-off ended with the phrase, "Hoping all your consequences are happy ones."

Phil Gurin of The Gurin Company recently bought rights to the show and is currently working on a revival.

Cultural referencesEdit

Donald Duck competes with Huey, Dewey and Louie in a television show that resembles Truth or Consequences in a comic book. He prepares himself by reading tomes of trivia and ends up humiliating himself on air.

On January 22, 1957, the show, which was produced in Hollywood, became the first program to be broadcast in all time zones from a prerecorded videotape; this technology, which had only been introduced the previous year, had been used only for time-delayed broadcasts to the West Coast.

On George Carlin's 1969 debut album, Take-Offs and Put-Ons, the character Congolia Breckinridge appears on a similar show called Truth or Penalties (although at one point Carlin says the original show's name). Because she has too little time to buzz in, when she is invited to pull back the curtain, an empty stage is revealed. The host then announces, "We were going to reunite you with your sister, whom you haven't seen in 27 years, but you blew the question, so we sent your sister back to Maine."


Show TicketsEdit

Pics of Barker on the setEdit

Flyer (1966-78 version)Edit

Flyer (1987 version)Edit


Board GamesEdit

The first incarnation was manufactured by Gabriel in 1955. (NOTE: It features host Jack Bailey and creator Ralph Edwards on the cover of the board game)

Its second incarnation was manufactured by Lowell in 1962.

Its third and final incarnation was released by Pressman in 1987.

Game BookletEdit

A Party Book was released in 1940 by International with host and creator Ralph Edwards on the cover has Questions (The Truth) and party stunts (The Consequences) to play at home.


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Main – "Stop Gap" by Wilfred Burns
Other Songs – Jack Fascinato

1977 – Hal Hidey
1987 – Don Felder


Funny Boners – a short-lived kids version which aired on NBC

Production LocationEdit

Los Angeles, CA

Similar ShowsEdit

People are Funny
Dollar a Second


  1. Id. at p193
  2. "Ralph Edwards," Current Biography 1943, p192, 193.
  3. TV history


Josh Rebich's Truth or Consequences Rules Page
Truth or Consequences @ Tim's TV Showcase

YouTube VideosEdit

A Jack Bailey Episode
Bob's First Show
A Montage of Bob's Era

1987 RevivalEdit

A Full Episode from 1987

Another Full Episode from 1987

Clips of the 1987 Series