Game shows - those entertaining programs that come on during the day, run in primetime, and even have an entire network all to themselves!
Whether it's a quiz show, a show that requires the lucky spin of a wheel, or a program that relies on mental and physical acumen, you might have a favorite game show or show host. Long-time devotees of The Price Is Right or Jeopardy! remember Bob Barker and Alex Trebek, respectively, while newbies to old classics get introduced to them via syndication and online streaming.
Many other game shows have come and gone over the years, all of which have some fascinating histories and details that caught our attention. Take a look at what we learned in 2021 about some of our favorites, and vote up the facts that you are buzzing in for, too!
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The Last Surviving Witness Of President Lincoln's Assassination Appeared On 'I've Got A Secret' In 1956
More than 90 years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the last surviving witness of that event made a surprising appearance on the game show I've Got a Secret. Samuel J. Seymour was 96 years old when he answered questions from panelists.
He handled inquiries about whether his secret was a "pleasant thing" and if it had "political significance." The reveal was startling: As a 5-year-old, Seymour sat in the balcony opposite Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865.
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Richard Dawson Met His Future Wife On 'Family Feud' And Let Deaf Kids Know They Were Loved
Family Feud host Richard Dawson had a special connection with contestants and viewers alike. With respect to the latter, it was a letter from one special viewer that led to his signature sign-off. Dawson heard from a woman who told him her deaf daughter loved the show, and that the young girl could "sense" the music from Family Feud and danced when it came on. A picture of the 4-year-old accompanied the letter, as did the sign for "I love you" in American Sign Language.
As a result of the letter, and his own memories of his mother's blessing of children around the world each night, Dawson decided to make sure all the world's children knew they were loved - including those who could not hear.
He began including the ASL sign for "I love you" as part of his farewell at the end of each episode; he used it for 11 years and continued to get updates about the fan who inspired it all.
Dawson also found love on the set of Family Feud when he met contestant Gretchen Johnson in 1981. Dawson, 49 at the time, gave the 24-year-old numerous trademark kisses while taping that show, and asked to call her afterward.
He later commented, "I just knew there was something about this young lady and myself." Johnson was a student and recalled she thought Dawson was "sweet" and that she was drawn to him immediately.
When Johnson and Dawson had their first date several weeks later, it didn't go well. He cooked her dinner, including some asparagus, but Johnson didn't like foods that started with the letter "A." Despite this, they continued dating, had a daughter together in 1990, and married in 1991.
It was only after his daughter, Shannon Nicole, asked him to do so that Dawson stopped kissing women on the show. He promised her he "would only kiss mom."
- Photo: CBS
Actor Mel Blanc, known for voicing famous characters like Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig, had to correct the host of Press Your Luck on an episode in 1985. Peter Tomarken had presented the contestants with a question about which cartoon character said the phrase "Sufferin' Succotash!"
The contestants answered "Sylvester the Cat," which Tomarken corrected by telling them it was Daffy Duck. In a segment later in the show, Blanc and Tomarken spoke via telephone so Blanc could correct the host and tell him that "Sufferin' Succotash!" was, in fact, Sylvester's catchphrase.
- Photo: CBS / Fremantle
Before she became a fixture on Wheel of Fortune, Vanna White appeared on another game show - albeit in a different capacity. In 1980, she made her first game show appearance on The Price Is Right, a fact millions of viewers learned during the 50th celebration of the show in 2021.
While White did get called to contestant row, she "didn't win a doggone thing," never made it on stage, and was "just there." She told the current host of The Price Is Right, Drew Carey, she got the job on Wheel of Fortune two years later, an experience that was nerve-wracking on a different level. She recalled:
I remember Pat telling me after I got the job, he said, "I didn't really think you would get the job because you were so nervous," but I did. I got it. And 39 years later, we're a great team. We work together. We've never had one argument.
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak said in an interview that during the 1980s, he thought the show included some of the "most boring... minutes of television." At the time, Wheel of Fortune was played a little differently, with contestants winning "fake money... [to] buy cheesy prizes."
As Sajak and co-host Vanna White filmed multiple shows in a day, they went to dinner together in between. Sajak said he and White would "have two or three or six" margaritas at a nearby restaurant, "then come and do the last shows." He admitted they had "trouble recognizing the alphabet" but "had a great time."
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The Qualifying Questions For 'Jeopardy!' Are Deliberately Harder Than On-Screen Ones
According to Redditor u/wingnutzero,
I tried out for Jeopardy! once. They said they deliberately make the qualifying questions much harder than what you see on the show because 1) they want to find people who are actually smart and not just lucky; and 2) people get kinda stupid when you put a TV camera on them.