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Who Do You Trust?
Format Game show
Created by Don Fedderson
Presented by Johnny Carson (1957-1962)
Woody Woodbury (1962-1963)
Narrated by Bill Nimmo (1957-1958, 1962-1963)
Ed McMahon (1958-1962)
Country of origin  United States
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run September 30, 1957 – December 27, 1963

Who Do You Trust? is an American game show which aired from September 30, 1957 to November 15, 1957 at 4:30 PM, Eastern on ABC, and from November 18, 1957 to December 27, 1963 at 3:30 PM, Eastern - which helped garner a significant number of young viewers coming home from school.

The series was originally emceed by Johnny Carson and announced by Bill Nimmo; partway through the run, Nimmo was replaced by Ed McMahon, and from that point until 1992 the two would spend the majority of their careers together.

While the format was somewhat similar to The Newlywed Game, it was actually much closer to the hit Groucho Marx game You Bet Your Life on NBC.

Contents

Gameplay

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Three couples competed on each show, nearly always a man and a woman chosen for their unique backgrounds; the announcer would introduce couples one at a time, and Carson spent more time interviewing the contestants than quizzing them.

In the quiz portion, Carson would tell the male contestant the category of the upcoming question; the man would then have to decide whether to answer the question himself or "trust" the woman to do so.

Three questions were played per couple, worth $25, $50, and $75; if two or all three couples tied in the cash winnings, they were asked a question involving a numerical answer; the couple coming closest to the correct answer moved on to the bonus game.

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Bonus round

From 1957 until the quiz-show scandals in 1959, the bonus round pitted the day's winners against the winners from the previous day. One partner from each team, usually the man, was placed in an isolation booth and asked a question with several answers. The one who got the most correct answers won $500 and the right to return the following day.

After the scandals, in which Who Do You Trust? was not involved, the bonus round involved the winning couple attempting to unscramble a name or phrase in fifteen seconds.

Broadcast history

Do You Trust Your Wife?
Format Game show
Created by Don Fedderson
Presented by Edgar Bergen
Narrated by Ed Reimers
Bob LeMond
Country of origin  United States
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run January 3, 1956 – March 26, 1957

Who Do You Trust? began as a CBS prime time game titled Do You Trust Your Wife?, emceed by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, which ran from January 3, 1956 to March 26, 1957.

In 1957, Carson's career had been in serious disarray due to the cancellation of his prime time CBS variety series The Johnny Carson Show when he became a daytime game show host. The series immediately launched him into the public consciousness. When it returned as a daytime show on ABC on September 30, it kept this title until July 1958.

One major difference between Carson and Marx was that Carson often participated in demonstrations of the contestants' interests or hobbies. On one memorable show he tried his hand at driving a miniature race car (and crashed into a wall), while on another he donned scuba gear and dived into a tank of water. Groucho, on the other hand, almost never left his desk, letting his announcer, George Fenneman, take part in the demonstrations.

As was often the case in daytime television programs of the era, including soap operas and even children's shows, all of the background music on Who Do You Trust? was supplied by a single organist, John Gart.

In March 1962, Carson was asked to take over from Jack Paar on The Tonight Show, but he still had six months remaining on his contract with ABC. When Carson and McMahon left to do The Tonight Show (after the September 7, 1962 show) they were replaced by comedian Woody Woodbury and original announcer Bill Nimmo. The series continued until December 27, 1963.

Revival

In April 2007, CBS announced plans for a semi-revival of this show titled Do You Trust Me? with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson as host. The format is designed to test how well total strangers work together (see Mediaweek for the week of April 16, 2007). Ultimately, the series was never produced.

References

Wesley Hyatt, The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television, 1997.

David Schwartz, Steve Ryan, and Fred Wostbrock, The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows, 3rd edition, 1999.

Laurence Leamer, King of the Night, 1989.


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