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 by||Dr. Harvey Zorbaugh|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||American Broadcasting Company|
|Original release||September 24 –|
December 17, 1946
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. 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; 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.
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.
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.
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.
- List of programs broadcast by the DuMont Television Network
- List of surviving DuMont Television Network broadcasts
- 1946-47 United States network television schedule
- 1948-49 United States network television schedule
- On Stage, Everybody - ABC-produced TV series which aired on DuMont station WABD in 1945
- Let's Play Reporter - ABC-produced TV series which aired on DuMont station WABD in 1946
- Hyatt, Wesley (2006). Emmy Award Winning Nighttime Television Shows, 1948-2004. McFarland. p. 6. ISBN 9780786423293. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
- 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.
- David Weinstein, The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004) ISBN 1-59213-245-6
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, Fourth edition (New York: Penguin Books, 1980) ISBN 0-14-024916-8
- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Third edition (New York: Ballantine Books, 1964) ISBN 0-345-31864-1
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