What Remains of the Truth?
|It's been 65 years since To Tell the Truth's U.S. premiere; over that time more than 4,000 shows have been produced and aired at least once. A recurring question this site often receives: out of those thousands, which shows are still available? Let's begin that discussion with the welcome news that the master tapes for most versions of the series remain either completely or largely intact. Series three through six are complete and rest soundly in the hands of Fremantle Media, as does most of series two and the prime time episodes of series one.
Having started with the positive, it's on to the bad news: as of this moment there are still, sadly, hundreds of sunken TTTT treasures that stem from those first two versions. The 1960s CBS weekday afternoon series – second only to the 1970s syndicated edition in its total episode count – is only 25 percent available on videotape. But there’s a glimmering hope that the remaining shows may still end up seeing daylight, as kinescopes were unearthed some time ago containing the bulk of those weekday afternoon segments, as well as a few of the missing CBS prime time episodes.
Then there’s the other holy grail in TTTT-ville, version two's first season, which managed to get separated from the rest of that series’ master tapes long ago and hasn’t reaired since its original broadcasts. The advantage we have with these shows is that production notes are still available, giving us a read on the year's central characters (details that will ultimately be added to the season guides along with the others on this site). Still, if you’re a fan of this version, it’s sure deflating not to be able to watch it take flight in its transition from the conventions of the CBS series -- contestants introduced before the panelists, bell rather than buzzer, the parade of both CBS-era and brand-new substitutes for Peggy Cass and Kitty Carlisle that would never again panelize on the series -- to later find its own footing. It's a missing link both in Truth’s history and in Garry Moore’s unmatched emcee work.
Frustrating? You bet. Reason for hope? Always.
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This page created 06.05.2022