Quiz Shows Through the Years

Quiz game shows have been around since the days before TV sets were common in homes. From "Jeopardy" to "Cash Cab" to NBC's newest quiz game show, "Million Second Quiz" (premieres Sept. 9), take a look back at some of the most memorable quiz shows.

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Quiz game shows have been around since the days before TV sets were common in homes. Groucho Marx famously hosted the "You Bet Your Life" quiz show on both radio and TV starting in 1947. With NBC's newest quiz game show, "Million Second Quiz" premiering Sept. 9, take a look back at some of the most memorable quiz shows.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Information Please," 1938 - Back in the days of radio, a show called "Information Please" drew the likes of Dorothy Parker, Orson Welles and, shown at left, Eleanor Roosevelt. A panel of experts would attempt to answer questions submitted by listeners. During the first few shows, a listener was paid two dollars (!) for a question that was used, and five dollars more if the experts could not answer it correctly.
EMPTY_CAPTION"What's My Line," 1950 - This show involved celebrity panelists who had to guess a contestant's occupation. From left panel members are: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, and Hal Block.
EMPTY_CAPTION"To Tell The Truth," 1956: This quiz show involved a group of celebrity panelists who had to correctly identify a described contestant who has an unusual occupation or experience. This central character is accompanied by two impostors who pretend to be the central character. Panelists from left to right are: Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner.
Mike Bongiorno, born American and nicknamed "The Quiz King,'' was a beloved Italian television personality during the 1950s and 60s. He was a veteran TV host who made quiz shows popular in Italy in the 1950s and 1960s.
EMPTY_CAPTION"It's Academic," 1961 - Former U.S. congressman Charles Schumer, center, was a teen-age champion on the TV quiz show, "It's Academic" in the 1960's. The show is a tournament between dozens of high schools, similar to a quiz bowl. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running quiz show in history, as it's still on today.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Password," 1961 - Guest stars Carol Burnett and Peter Lawford, right, search for word clues and answers under the eye of host Allen Ludden, center, on CBS Television Network's "Password" in New York on August 15, 1963. Two teams of two people, consisting of a celebrity and a regular contestant, were made to guess a "password" known by the audience.
EMPTY_CAPTION"$10,000 Pyramid," 1973 - The "Pyramid" show has aired in several versions, with the name changing according to the increase of possible winnings. Dick Clark hosted many versions of the game show, including "$20,000 Pyramid."
EMPTY_CAPTION"Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!" 1998: NPR's weekly satirical news quiz show, "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!" is hosted by Carl Kasell, left, and Peter Sagal. Listeners send emails or call in to participate, and answer 3 questions about the news of the week. The winner receives a voice recording of Carl Kasell giving the greeting on their answering machine.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" 1998 - The show hosted by Regis Philbin was a hit in the US, after originating in the UK. The dramatic show involves a series of questions that increase in both difficulty and winnings value. There was a bit of a scandal in 1999 when contestant David Honea answered the $1 million question correctly, but the show had the wrong answer listed as correct. He was later proven correct and took home the winnings.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Cash Cab," 2005 - The popular show "Cash Cab," hosted by Ben Bailey and shown on Discovery channel, ran from 2005 to 2012. It was unique in that contestants hail a regular-looking cab on the streets of New York City, then find out they are on a quiz game show. They must answer questions to win cash on the way to their destination, but if they give three incorrect answers, they are kicked to the curb.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Jeopardy" - Perhaps the most recognized quiz show ever is "Jeopardy." Host Alex Trebek has presented the show since 1984, though the show has been on and off the air since 1964. "Jeopardy" has been parodied in many other shows, most famously on "Saturday Night Live" in multiple sketches involving Will Ferrell.
Ken Jennings holds a special title in game show history, being the all-time leading money winner on any American game show. He appeared on "Jeopardy" a record 75 times, finally beaten by Nancy Zerg. His total winnings on "Jeopardy" were $3,172,700, though he has appeared on numerous other game shows.
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