While watching the Game Show Network on TV the other night, I got to wondering what the first TV game show was. To me, game shows are interesting in the fact that they allow the general public to get in on the fun. The also seem very cyclical. I remember a time back in the early 2000’s when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was on and it seemed that a new game show was coming out every week. Then, game shows went away for a little and now seem to be back the past few years with shows such as Deal or No Deal. However, there is one show that stands the test of time and that is the longest running game show, The Price Is Right, which has been on the air for 38 years.
The first televised game show was actually in the United Kingdom and was broadcast on May 31, 1938. The show was called Spelling Bee and like most new TV games shows in that day, it started out as a game show broadcast on the radio.
Spelling Bee was a contest for children in which they would spell words just like they do today in the Scripts National Spelling Bee. I couldn’t really find any videos of the show or soundbites, so I guess we are going to have to take their words for it.
Truth or Consequences
The first game show to air on commercially-licensed television was the popular game show, Truth or Consequences on September 7, 1950. On this game show, contestants were asked odd questions and had to answer correctly before a buzzer sounded. If they didn’t answer the question truthfully, they had to face the consequences. The contestants would then have to do something silly or embarrassing.
Truth or Consequences was also where we got our first in-depth look at Bob Barker as seen here: