Truth or Consequences, New Mexico: A Game Show Gimmick With Lasting Results

By Karen Harris
“Truth or Consequences” game show with host Ralph Edwards (second from right). Musicians from the audience: (from left) Eddy Lee, trombone; Bob Garcia, fiddle; and Ted Peckham, accordion. Image dated June 1, 1950. (CBS via Getty Images)

Truth Or Consequences was one of the most popular game shows of the genre's golden age, running intermittently on both radio and television from 1940 to 1987. It also changed the history of one American state forever.

Truth Or Consequences

Truth Or Consequences had a fairly simple premise: Contestants were asked bizarre questions, and if they got them wrong—which they usually did, as the questions were expressly written to be unanswerable—they had to complete some zany stunt. They were usually humorous and embarrassing, although occasionally, creator and host Ralph Edwards introduced a heartwarming twist like bringing in a long-lost relative to surprise the contestant mid-stunt. Edwards and his team constantly worked to keep the stunts fresh and the ratings up.