Television game shows have been popular since TV first began broadcasting. The types of games may range from physical feats to mental challenges and include the ever-popular Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, just to name a few. One of my favorite shows of this genre would have to be Password. The game consisted of two teams, each made up of one celebrity and one average person, who would try to guess the “Password” by giving each other a series of clues without accidentally giving the answer instead. The two celebrity players were often not only actors, but also comedians, so the games could be very funny. The humor of the show is one of the things that really drew me in. Plus, I love words and word games.
An extensive list of celebrities appeared on the show. Since the show first aired in the 1960s, the earliest guests included people like Jim Backus, Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney, and Carol Burnett. Celebrities on more recent iterations, like Million Dollar Password, included people like Adam Corolla and Chelsea Handler. One guest appeared on all the versions of the show: Betty White. Betty was married to Allen Ludden, who hosted the first couple versions of the show, but left when he became too ill to work in 1980. He passed away in 1981.
Watching Betty and Allen work together on Password was always a joy. The connection between the two of them was obvious, even to a kid like I was at the time, and I found those episodes to be some of the most fun to watch.
Password also came in various home versions that provided families many evenings of entertainment, mine included. Trying to give clues without giving away the answer can be both a lot of fun and a lot of frustration. Playing Password can be a great way to teach kids about synonyms (and antonyms in some cases!), too.
Anyone who enjoys game shows, word games, and celebrity hijinks was probably a fan of Password at some time. I suspect most people who haven’t watched have at least heard of the show. If you haven’t seen it, try to find an episode somewhere and let me know what you think. You get bonus points if the episode includes Allen Ludden and Betty White.
In honor of Betty White and what would have been her 100th birthday this month, each of my January Throwback Thursday posts will feature one of her shows or beloved characters. Be sure to tune in next week for a post about Rose Nylund and The Golden Girls.