Ralph Edwards

Creator / Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Ralph Edwards (1913-2005) discusses his start in show business as a radio announcer in New York, and how he was inspired to create his own audience participation show, Truth or Consequences in 1940.  Edwards talks about the show's popularity and how it ultimately contributed millions of dollars to the war effort and other worthwhile causes. He speaks of the show's transfer to television, discovering Bob Barker, the techniques he pioneered to record the show "live on film," and comments on his other hit show, This is Your Life. He talks of memorable episodes of the program, and recalls several other programs he produced, including The People's Court, with Judge Wapner, and Name That Tune. Bob Warren conducted the interview on May 21, 1997 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"They ['Truth or Consequences' and 'This Is Your Life'] gave me such scope.  We could have fun and accomplish worthwhile things while doing it. There were no limitations to where we could go with either one of those shows."   

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Ralph Edwards on Jack Benny's "Walking Man" appearance on Truth or Consequences
Ralph Edwards on the longest-lasting stunt on Truth or Consequences - renaming the town Hot Springs, New Mexico "Truth or Consequences"
Ralph Edwards on memorable guests on This Is Your Life
Ralph Edwards on the surprise element of This Is Your Life and the few times the surprise was ruined
Ralph Edwards on the 1958 episode of This Is Your Life set in Hawaii to honor those who perished at Pearl Harbor and raise funds for a memorial
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his work in local radio and moving to New York
On his radio announcing career; on the pilot and idea for the radio version of Truth or Consequences; on typical acts on the show
On his bond, paper, and copper drives during World War II

Chapter 2

On his ideas for the war effort; on criticisms of Truth or Consequences, Jack Benny's appearance on the show, and the longest-lasting stunt on the program
On his early memories of television; on Truth or Consequences' move to television; on producing Truth or Consequences on film using new techniques of live television (a technique credited to Al Simon)
On his daytime program, The Ralph Edwards Show

Chapter 3

On the many hosts of Truth or Consequences; on how the Quiz Show scandals affected the program
On the idea for This is Your Life; on memorable guests on the show; on the surprise element of This Is Your Life and the few times the surprise was ruined; on the show raising funds for the memorial at Pearl Harbor
On This Is Your Life's international run; on the projects he chooses to produce

Chapter 4

On shows he produced and created; on the favorite shows he produced
On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked
B-roll photos from his life and career
Shows

Cross-Wits, The

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Ralph Edwards on producing The Cross-Wits

I Love Lucy

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Ralph Edwards on I Love Lucy adopting a filming process similar to that of Truth or Consequences (a technique credited to Al Simon)

Name That Tune

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Ralph Edwards on producing Name That Tune (Kathie Lee Gifford's big break)

People's Court, The

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Ralph Edwards on producing The People's Court

Ralph Edwards Show, The

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Ralph Edwards on his daytime program, The Ralph Edwards Show

This Is Your Life

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Ralph Edwards on the idea for This Is Your Life
Ralph Edwards on selecting subjects for This Is Your Life
Ralph Edwards on memorable guests on This Is Your Life
Ralph Edwards on the surprise element of This Is Your Life and the few times the surprise was ruined
Ralph Edwards on an episode of This Is Your Life in which the subject didn't show up (Darlene Miller)
Ralph Edwards on the Lowell Thomas episode of This Is Your Life
Ralph Edwards on the 1958 episode of This Is Your Life set in Hawaii to honor those who perished at Pearl Harbor and raise funds for a memorial
Ralph Edwards on This Is Your Life's international run and the first British episode
Ralph Edwards on photos from the This is Life show to raise funds for the Pearl Harbor memorial

Truth or Consequences

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Ralph Edwards on the pilot, idea, and initial response to the radio version of Truth or Consequences
Ralph Edwards on the acts on Truth or Consequences (including the beetle derby)
Ralph Edwards on a typical Truth or Consequences show
Ralph Edwards on the Truth or Consequences radio show staff and memorable stunts
Ralph Edwards on his bond, paper, and copper drives with Truth or Consequences during World War II
Ralph Edwards on not classifying Truth or Consequences as a quiz show and defending that the show didn't stimulate greed and give people prizes for no reason; on the show raising money for charity
Ralph Edwards on Jack Benny's "Walking Man" appearance on Truth or Consequences
Ralph Edwards on the longest-lasting stunt on Truth or Consequences - renaming the town Hot Springs, New Mexico "Truth or Consequences"
Ralph Edwards on Truth or Consequences' move to television and how the new medium affected the program
Ralph Edwards on producing Truth or Consequences on film using new techniques of live television (a technique credited to Al Simon)
Ralph Edwards on being M.C. for only one season of Truth or Consequences and winning the first Emmy for an audience participation show
Ralph Edwards on the many hosts of Truth or Consequences
Ralph Edwards on the effect of the Quiz Show scandals on Truth or Consequences
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Ralph Edwards on the effect of the Quiz Show scandals on Truth or Consequences

Historic Events and Social Change

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Ralph Edwards on his bond, paper, and copper drives with Truth or Consequences during World War II
Ralph Edwards on the 1958 episode of This Is Your Life set in Hawaii to honor those who perished at Pearl Harbor and raise funds for a memorial

Industry Crossroads

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Ralph Edwards on the effect of the Quiz Show scandals on Truth or Consequences

Quiz Show Scandals

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Ralph Edwards on the effect of the Quiz Show scandals on Truth or Consequences

Television Industry

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Ralph Edwards on the effect of the Quiz Show scandals on Truth or Consequences

War

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Ralph Edwards on his bond, paper, and copper drives with Truth or Consequences during World War II
Ralph Edwards on the 1958 episode of This Is Your Life set in Hawaii to honor those who perished at Pearl Harbor and raise funds for a memorial

World War II

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Ralph Edwards on his bond, paper, and copper drives with Truth or Consequences during World War II
Ralph Edwards on the 1958 episode of This Is Your Life set in Hawaii to honor those who perished at Pearl Harbor and raise funds for a memorial
Professions

Producers

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Ralph Edwards on the projects he chooses to produce
Ralph Edwards on shows that he produced and created
Ralph Edwards on his favorite shows that he produced
Genres

Game Shows

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Ralph Edwards on the pilot, idea, and initial response to the radio version of Truth or Consequences; on typical acts and successful war drives
Ralph Edwards on memorable moments on Truth or Consequences and the show's move to television; on producing Truth or Consequences on film using new techniques of live television (a technique credited to Al Simon)

Reality TV

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Ralph Edwards on the idea for This Is Your Life and memorable guests and episodes of the program
People

Bob Barker

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Ralph Edwards on Bob Barker hosting Truth or Consequences

Jack Benny

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Ralph Edwards on Jack Benny's "Walking Man" appearance on Truth or Consequences

Al Simon

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Ralph Edwards on producing Truth or Consequences on film using new techniques of live television (a technique credited to Al Simon)

Lowell Thomas

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Ralph Edwards on the Lowell Thomas episode of This Is Your Life

Joseph A. Wapner

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Ralph Edwards on producing The People's Court and discovering Judge Wapner

Bob Warren

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Ralph Edwards on This is Your Life announcer Bob Warren

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