To Tell the Truth

To Tell the Truth Cast
Photo: Bud Collyer (rear); Tom Poston, Kitty Carlisle, and Orson Bean (left to right)

Series Description

To Tell the Truth was a 30 minute game show on CBS where three contestants would all claim to be the same person. Then a celebrity panel would ask them questions in an attempt to tell which one was telling the truth. After questioning ended, the panel would vote on who they believed was the truthful contestant. The contestants could win up to $1000 depending on how many panelists they had fooled.

To Tell the Truth Cast

Bud Collyer .... Host (1956-1968)
Ralph Bellamy .... Sub-Host (1957)
Garry Moore .... Host (1969-1976)
Joe Garagiola .... Host (1977-1978)
Robin Ward .... Host (1980-1981)
John Cameron Swayze .... Sub-Host (1957)
Gene Rayburn .... Sub-Host (1964 & 1965)
Bill Cullen .... Panelist (mid-1960s-1981) / Substitute Host (1970, 1977)
Hy Gardner .... Regular (1956-1959)
Hildy Parks .... Regular (1956-1957)
Kitty Carlisle .... Regular (1957-1968)
Polly Bergen .... Regular (1956-1961)
Peggy Cass .... Regular (1964-1968)
Don Ameche .... Panelist (1956-1961)
Tom Poston .... Regular (1958-1968)
Orson Bean .... Regular (1964-1968)
Barry Nelson .... Panelist (Nighttime Show)
Larry Blyden .... Panelist (Nighttime Show)

To Tell the Truth Trivia

There have been five versions of the To Tell the Truth game show that have aired over forty-five years! The first version aired on CBS from 1956 to 1968. Then there was a syndicated version that ran from 1969 to 1978. Another syndicated version followed from 1980 to 1981. There were two more very brief versions in 1990 and 2000.

From 1962 to 1968, there were both daytime and nighttime versions of To Tell the Truth.

Bud Collyer, the first host of To Tell the Truth, starred in the role of "Clark Kent / Superman" on the "Superman Radio Show" that aired for more than 1600 episodes from 1940-1951!

While To Tell the Truth was under development, its working title was "Nothing But the Truth". There was even a pilot episode with that title that was produced to sell the series. The host of that pilot episode was "60 Minutes" correspondent, Mike Wallace!

Dick Van Dyke ("Diagnosis Murder") was a guest panelist on the first five episodes of To Tell the Truth.

Believe it or not, it took a crew of 94 people to produce and air the To Tell the Truth TV show!

If a panelist knew the real contestant or one of the decoys, they had to disqualify themselves. For example, Orson Bean's father who was the chief of the Harvard campus police department appeared on To Tell the Truth as the "real" contestant. Orson obviously had to disqualify himself. Occasionally, however, someone would know a contestant from reading a news story about them, from having met them once thirty years earlier, or some other unforseeable reason.

Sometimes well-known people and even celebrities would appear as contestants on To Tell the Truth. In such cases, either the contestants would be disguised or the panel would be blindfolded. On one episode, one of the producers of To Tell the Truth, "Mark Goodson", appeared as a decoy who was pretending to be Otto Preminger. The panel had to wear towels over their heads with hats that held the towels in place!

The other producer of To Tell the Truth, "Bill Todman", once appeared as a decoy pretending to be actor Alan Young ("Mister Ed"). In that case, he and the other contestants wore veils over their voices and had their voices electronically distorted.

Once when Bud Collyer was very sick, Mark Goodson filled in for him as host. Mark would host the revival version of To Tell the Truth 20 years later while filling in for host, Alex Trebek ("Jeopardy").

On January 18, 1965, the panel of "I've Got A Secret" (Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan, and Bess Myerson) swapped places with the panel from "To Tell the Truth" (Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean, and Kitty Carlisle). CBS promoted that night as, "The Night of the Big Switch".

Two others besides Garry Moore who were considered as hosts for To Tell the Truth were Don Ameche and Vincent Price ("Batman"). Don did get a job as a panelist from 1956 to 1961. Don also appeared on an episode of "I've Got A Secret".

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