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Contestants on the show were asked silly trick questions which they almost invariably failed to answer correctly. If they answered incorrectly, or failed to come up with any answer in a short time, Beulah the Buzzer went off. The host then told them that since they had failed to tell the truth, they would have to pay the consequences. Consequences consisted of elaborate stunts, some done in the studio and others done outside, some completed on that week's episode and others taking a week or more and requiring the contestant to return when the stunt was completed. Some of the stunts were funny, but more often they were also embarrassing, and occasionally they were sentimental (as when long-separated relatives were reunited within the context of the stunt).
The original TV version of Consequences, with Edwards as host, lasted only a single season, but was popular enough that the town of Hot Springs, New Mexico renamed itself after the show. When it returned three years later on NBC, Jack Bailey was the MC, later replaced by Steve Dunne. NBC aired a daytime version of the show from 1956-65, with Bob Barker as host.
Barker made a career of the show after that, remaining with it through the rest of the daytime run and on into the original syndicated run, from 1966-75. A short-lived syndicated Revival in 1977-78 was moderated by Bob Hilton. And a decade later, in 1987, comic Larry Anderson turned up as host of yet another syndicated version which quickly faded from the airwaves.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Game Show Appearance: Superman appeared on the radio version (Bud Collyer was the show's announcer).
This show provides examples of:
- Conveyor Belt of Doom: One episode had a woman from the audience trying to stop an incredibly complex machine before its conveyor belt dropped a pie on her husband's face. There were all kinds of lights, switches, etc. on the machine which she flipped frantically, but unbeknownst to her, the only way to stop it was to pull the electrical plug out of its outlet.
- Luck-Based Mission: Barker's Box.
- Urban Legend: During a Saturday Night Live retrospective, cast member Garrett Morris claimed that he saw an episode of Truth Or Consequences where an elderly white woman played a racist song on the piano at the end of the show — she got as far as "I'm gonna get me a gun and shoot all the n------ I see" before the show cut to......yeah. Morris then proceeded to play a parody of that song, replacing the offending word with "whities". Considering Morris' then-usage of cocaine, this incident may not be 100% as it originally happened...if it even happened at all.
- Wham! Line: Oy.
Ralph Edwards: Remember this name, you'll be hearing a lot about him. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Barker!