Who Do You Trust? is an American game show which aired from September 30, 1957, to November 15, 1957, at 4:30 pm, Eastern on ABC, and from November 18, 1957, to December 27, 1963 at 3:30 pm, Eastern - which helped garner a significant number of young viewers coming home from school.
The series was initially emceed by Johnny Carson and announced by Bill Nimmo. A year into the run, Nimmo was replaced by Ed McMahon, and from that point until 1992 the two would spend the majority of their careers together. Carson and McMahon departed in 1962 when Carson was hired to take over from Jack Paar on NBC's Tonight (renamed The Tonight Show under Carson), where they would both spend the next thirty years together. Woody Woodbury took over the hosting position while Nimmo returned to announce. The show was produced at the Little Theater on 44th Street in New York (today known as the Helen Hayes Theater).
Who Do You Trust? began as a CBS prime time game titled Do You Trust Your Wife?, emceed by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, which ran from January 3, 1956, to March 26, 1957. On the original show all the contestants were married couples chosen for their unique backgrounds.
After a brief chat with Bergen, the couples would try to answer four questions. The husband could attempt to answer or "trust" his wife to do so, hence the name of the show. Correct answers to the first three questions were worth, respectively, $100, $200, and $300. For the last question they could wager any of their earnings by answering a question from one of six categories ranging in value and difficulty from $100 to $600. If the couple won no money, they would answer a very easy $100 question. The couple with the most money competed with the winners from the previous week's show to name as many items as possible in a category with the couple coming up with the most answers receiving $100 a week for a year. Couples could return to the show until defeated; one couple, Erik and Helena Gude, remained on the show long enough to amass $120,800.
In 1957, Carson's career was in serious trouble due to the cancellation of his prime time CBS variety series The Johnny Carson Show when he became a daytime game show host. The series immediately launched him into the public consciousness. When it returned as a daytime show on ABC on September 30, it kept the Do You Trust Your Wife? title until July 1958, changing its title to expand the scope of contestants beyond married couples.
One major difference between Carson and Marx was that Carson often participated in demonstrations of the contestants' interests or hobbies. On one memorable show he tried his hand at driving a miniature race car (and crashed into a wall), while on another he donned scuba gear and dived into a tank of water. Groucho, on the other hand, almost never left his desk, letting his announcer, George Fenneman, take part in the demonstrations.
As was often the case in daytime television programs of the era, including soap operas and even children's shows, all of the background music on Who Do You Trust? was supplied by a single organist, John Gart.