54 years ago tonight, on Tuesday, December 18, 1956 the program “To Tell The Truth” premiered on CBS at 9:00pm. Hosted by Bud Collyer, the Goodson-Todman panel show ran in prime time for 11 seasons, before adding another 8 years in syndication. A daytime version also ran on CBS from 1962 until 1968.
For the first 8 seasons in syndication, the show’s host was Garry Moore, even if they didn’t know how to spell his first name on the tickets (above). When Moore got ill he was replaced by Joe Garagiola for one final season. In my opinion, these three versions of the show are the only ones that really matter.
“To Tell The Truth” brought three people before a celebrity panel, all claiming to be the same person – someone who had done something interesting or unique. Two of them were “imposters” but the third was the real person. The panel tried to determine which “contestant” was the actual subject by asking the guests questions. Once the celebrities had voted the host would say, “Will the real ______ please stand up.” Those words became a national catch phrase throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, and they’re still vividly remembered by most Americans over the age of 45.