Who Do You Trust?
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Who Do You Trust? is an American television game show, originally hosted by comedian Johnny Carson (with the title Do You Trust Your Wife? until July 1958), 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 - a schedule that helped garner a significant number of young viewers coming home from school.
|Who Do You Trust?|
Johnny Carson and Jane Baldasare in a show stunt, 1961
|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|
|Running time||25 minutes (prime-time) 22–24 minutes (daytime)|
|Original release||September 30, 1957 – December 27, 1963|
The series was initially emceed by Carson and announced by Bill Nimmo. A year into the run, Nimmo was replaced by Ed McMahon, and from that point until 1992 the two would spend the majority of their careers together. Carson and McMahon departed in 1962 when Carson was hired to take over from Jack Paar on NBC's Tonight, which had been retitled The Jack Paar Show (and changed back to an earlier title, The Tonight Show, under Carson), where they would both spend the next thirty years together. Woody Woodbury took over the Who Do You Trust? hosting position while Nimmo returned to announce. The show was produced at the Little Theater on 44th Street in New York (today known as the Helen Hayes Theater).
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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.
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.
|Do You Trust Your Wife?|
Edgar Bergen and Mortimer Snerd with a contestant couple, 1956
|Created by||Don Fedderson|
|Directed by||Jim Morgan|
|Presented by||Edgar Bergen|
|Narrated by||Ed Reimers (1956)|
Bob LeMond (1956-57)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Fred Henry|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||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. On the original show all the contestants were married couples chosen for their unique backgrounds.
After a brief chat with Bergen (and his dummies "Charlie McCarthy", "Mortimer Snerd" and "Effie Klinker") the couples would try to answer four questions. The husband could attempt to answer or "trust" his wife to do so, hence the name of the show. Correct answers to the first three questions were worth, respectively, $100, $200, and $300. For the last question they could wager any of their earnings by answering a question from one of six categories ranging in value and difficulty from $100 to $600. If the couple won no money, they would answer a very easy $100 question. The couple with the most money competed with the winners from the previous week's show to name as many items as possible in a category with the couple coming up with the most answers receiving $100 a week for a year. Couples could return to the show until defeated; one couple, Erik and Helena Gude, remained on the show long enough to amass $120,800.
In 1957, Carson's career was in serious trouble 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 the Do You Trust Your Wife? title until July 1958, changing its title to expand the scope of contestants beyond married couples.
One major difference between Carson and NBC's You Bet Your Life host Groucho 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 almost always 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, which was John Gart for this series.
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.
When ABC picked up Do You Trust Your Wife?, it created a scheduling conflict with the popular American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, in the afternoon lineup. At the time American Bandstand (which had just premiered) aired for ninety minutes from 3 PM to 4:30 PM daily and was popular enough that ABC did not want to move it out of its timeslot, so a compromise was reached. Do You Trust Your Wife? was placed in the 3:30 PM timeslot that ABC had originally intended for the show, with the remainder of American Bandstand following it at 4 PM. This lasted until 1961, when ABC reduced American Bandstand by thirty minutes and started it immediately after what was now Who Do You Trust?. In Philadelphia, ABC affiliate WFIL-TV, which produced Bandstand continued to air the show locally at 3:30. The station ran Who Do You Trust on a one-week delay earlier in the afternoon.
International versions and revivalEdit
An Australian version aired in Melbourne from 1957 to 1958 on station GTV-9, at a time when Australian television series often aired in just a single city. Based on the Edgar Bergen version, the Melbourne version was hosted by ventriloquist Ron Blaskett and his three dolls.
In April 2007, CBS announced plans for a semi-revival of this show titled Do You Trust Me? with right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson as host. The format was designed to test how well total strangers would work together. Ultimately, the series never aired.
- 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)
The Johnny Carson Show
| Television show hosted by Johnny Carson
30 September 1957 – 7 September 1962
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson