Game Shows Wiki
Ward Wilson (1946)
Bill Cullen (1946–1950)
Bud Collyer (1950–1952)
Bud Collyer (1948–1950)
Barry Gray (1951)
Bill Cullen (1952)
Roxanne Arlen
Betty Jane Watson
Jerry Austen (Gerald Austensen)
Howard Malone
Sheila Connolly
Marion James
Frank Wayne
Bill Cullen (1946)
Bern Bennett
Tony Marvin
John Tillman
Bern Bennett (1948–1950)
Harry Kramer (1951)
Don Pardo (1952)
Winner Take All 1948.jpg
ABC Radio (Daily): 6/3/1946 – 4/25/1947
CBS Radio (Weekly): 4/28/1947 – 6/23/1947, 10/16/1948 – 1/1/1949
CBS Radio (Daily): 10/6/1947 – 10/1/1948, 2/6/1949 – 8/26/1949, 1/18/1951 – 2/23/1951, 10/22/1951 – 2/1/1952
CBS Primetime: 7/1/1948 – 10/3/1950
CBS Daytime: 2/12/1951 – 4/20/1951
Winner Take All.jpg
NBC Daytime: 2/25/1952 – 4/25/1952 (standalone), 6/9/1952 – 9/5/1952 (segment of Matinee in New York)
Mark Goodson/Bill Todman Productions

1951 INTRO (TV):
KRAMER: "Do you wanna be a winner?" AUDIENCE: "YES!" KRAMER: "Play Winner Take All! (do it!) Yes, it's Winner Take All, with songs and dances by Betty Jane Watson, Jerry Austen, and Howard Malone. With music and surprises, questions and prizes. And your Winner Take All host, Barry Gray!"

PARDO: "Do you want to be a winner?" AUDIENCE: "YES!" PARDO: "Then sound your buzzer! [BZZZ!] Sound your bell! [RIIIING] And play Winner Take All with our Winner Take All quizmaster Bill Cullen!"

Time to bring in your bell and buzzer, because it's time to learn about Winner Take All.


Two contestants (one of them being a returning champion) competed in this game full of firsts (explanation later). It was a question & answer game show in which contestants signaled to answer each question. Each contestant had a different signal sound. One contestant's signal sound was a bell, and the other had a buzzer signal sound. The first player to signal had a chance to answer. A correct answer scored one point, but an incorrect answer from the player who signaled in first gave his/her opponent a chance to answer.

The first player to score three points won the game, received a prize, and faced another player.

Skits & Challenges[]

When the show became a TV series, it adapted new challenges into the game. For example, contestants watched live skits performed by other cast members, and the contestants were asked about what they saw. Another example saw contestants blindfolded so they wouldn't see an item in front of their podium; they had feel it out in order to guess what it was.


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Bernard Leighton (1948-1951)
Arlo (1952)


As mentioned earlier, this was the show full of firsts, because it premiered four things that would become available on many more game shows.

  1. It was the first game show hosted by Bill Cullen, who started out as the radio version's announcer.
  2. It was the first game show to air on the CBS television network.
  3. It was the first game show produced & created by Goodson-Todman.
  4. It was the first game show to use lockout devices (that is, preventing the opponent from answering the question).
  5. It was the first game show to have returning champions.


A quiz book with over 2,000 questions was published by Crown Publishing in 1949.


In 1955, an unsold pilot called Play for Keeps! hosted by the late Sonny Fox was produced; the format was similar to WTA with some slight changes, the most obvious being that it was played for cash prizes in increments of $1,000. 60 years later, the pilot aired on Buzzr as part of "Lost & Found Week" on September 7, 2015 and again on September 13, 2017.

Production Location[]

New York City, NY


Winner Take All at Bill Cullen's World
Winner Take All at The Bill Cullen Homepage

YouTube Videos[]

All of the below dates are for the TV versions.

Gray Version
A full episode from April 12, 1951
A full episode from April 16, 1951
A full episode from April 17, 1951

Cullen Version
A full episode from February 27, 1952
A full episode from February 28, 1952
A full episode from March 5, 1952
A full episode from March or April 1952