Truth or Consequences: The Quiz Program that Became a National Phenomenon by Martin Grams, Jr.
Popularly known today as a radio and television quiz program designed to humiliate its contestants through practical jokes, Truth or Consequences inspired imitators by raising the bar for audience participation. Created by Ralph Edwards, the program quickly became known for contestants facing off against custard pies and seltzer bottles, all while it attained a success with charitable contributions which remains unparalleled in the history of broadcasting entertainment. Along with raising millions of dollars for various health agencies and wartime projects, a half-billion dollars in “E” Bonds were sold through the Truth or Consequences broadcasts.
Over the years, Truth or Consequences was instrumental in establishing both The Jimmy Fund and the American Heart Association, while the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes benefited financially through a series of ongoing contests. Following the Second World War, the series served as a public service message for rehabilitating war veterans, setting the stage for another successful Edwards program, This is Your Life. In 1948, Jack Benny secretly agreed to participate in The Walking Man contest, ultimately positioning the quiz program into a national phenomenon. Two years later, the small town of Hot Springs, New Mexico agreed to permanently change its name to Truth or Consequences, making headlines across the globe.
Besides the basic history of the quiz program, from concept/origin to the transition from radio to television, this book documents many stories of contestants and charitable contributions proving that Truth or Consequences was not just an ordinary quiz program. Also included are more than 200 never-before-published photographs, recollections from contestants and crew, and a detailed episode guide.