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Nothing But the Truth


Producer: Goodson/Todman
Host: Mike Wallace
Announcer: Bern Bennett
Celebrities: Polly Bergen, John Cameron Swayze, Hildy Parks, Dick Van Dyke
Taping Info: 1956
Made it to Air: It was added to the CBS prime time lineup in December 1956 and remained in lesser time slots, eventually hitting the Sunday Afternoon Ghetto before its first cancellation in 1966. It was brought back into primetime briefly in 1967. It also had a daytime run on CBS from 1962 through 1968, NBC in 1990 and 1991, and syndicated runs from 1969-1978, 1980-1981 and 2000-2002.

I've Got a Secret proved that Goodson-Todman could produce a successful spin-off of their own show. After failing or limping with some other concepts (Make the Connection, What's Going On?), they finally hit some paydirt with Nothing But the Truth. Filmed in 1956, this pilot features the longtime classic in a slightly parallel universe, as Mike Wallace is your host.

For the long time viewer of To Tell the Truth, some items will look a little odd. First off, there is an actual mention of a penalty if the game's subject doesn't tell nothing but the truth (forfeiture of the winnings). The celebrities also introduce themselves via the "my name is" opening, albeit at their panel seats. The notary who affirmed the affidavit is named by person. However, the basis of the game is the same -- panelists ask questions to three possible subjects in order to try to identify the "real" person. Only that person is required to tell the truth.

A difference in game play between the pilot and the eventual series is that each panelist got two shots to interrogate the subjects. Also, only two games were played instead of the eventual three. Because of these two variations, the game was very slow. Ballots were collected by Mike Wallace and tallied by him à la Survivor. This also occurred on the regular series early on.

An interesting wrinkle is that the pilot actually had the audience game that briefly appeared in the CBS daytime version as well as the final syndicated version in 2000. One hundred people in the audience voted for either 1, 2 or 3, and the majority vote counted as one of the five votes for the subject. Incorrect votes were worth $300 to be split among the panel.

Other than the slow pace of the pilot, they were already in the groove from the start. The first game even featured the staple of having mixed gendered contestants if the first name is used by both genders. Also of note is that the pilot itself ran 32 minutes without commercials, something that was obviously corrected by the first show.

The cartoonish title card.

Who is the real Pat Costello?

Mike Wallace is your guide.

Just in case you don't trust what Mike Wallace is reading, here's the affidavit.

The audience seems to be disinterested...

...but they gave their vote anyway.

This pilot has been viewed 7353 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 23, 2009 22:29 ET
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