Play the Game (1946 TV series)

Play the Game, also known as Let's Play the Game, was one of the earliest game shows to be broadcast over an American television network, and the first known example of a television panel show. In 1941-42, CBS aired an early game show, CBS Television Quiz.

Play the Game
Presented byDr. Harvey Zorbaugh
Country of originUSA
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)American Broadcasting Company
Original network
Original releaseSeptember 24 (1946-09-24) –
December 17, 1946 (1946-12-17)

Broadcast historyEdit

Play the Game was essentially a televised version of the parlor game charades. The show was hosted by Dr. Harvey Zorbaugh, professor of educational sociology at New York University. The show aired over the DuMont Television Network on Tuesdays from 8 to 8:30 pm ET from September 24, 1946, to December 17, 1946.[1] The show also aired on ABC from August 20, 1948, to November 6, 1948, in primetime. A previous version of the program had been broadcast locally in New York City on WNBT Channel 1 (the predecessor to WNBC-TV) in 1941.

Although broadcast on DuMont, the program was actually produced by ABC in order for that network to develop experienced crews in anticipation of its own entry into television broadcasting;[2] in this sense, it was the first ABC television series. WABC-TV Channel 7 subsequently broadcast later episodes of the program to the New York City market during 1948.[citation needed]

Celebrity panelists during the DuMont Network run included Ireene Wicker, Ray Knight, and Will Mullin. There were also audience participation segments during which viewers were invited to call in their guesses to the charades being presented.

British VersionEdit

A British version (albeit as a pure panel game) aired on BBC-tv from 4 August 1947 to sometime in 1950, and was later adapted for children from 1951 to 1952. Hosts of this version included Cleland Finn, Sally Rogers, and Robert MacDermot.

Episode statusEdit

As with most DuMont programs, no episodes of this show are known to exist in the UCLA Film and Television Archive or other collections. The status of the ABC version is unknown, but is likely also lost.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (2006). Emmy Award Winning Nighttime Television Shows, 1948-2004. McFarland. p. 6. ISBN 9780786423293. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House Publishing Group. p. xii. ISBN 9780307483201. Retrieved 20 August 2017.


External linksEdit