“To Tell the Truth,” one of the greatest television game shows with a timeless conceit, is purportedly coming back to air. Fremantle is heading up a new primetime version of the series that puts “an update of the familiar format with a surprising new twist that adds action and suspense and raises the stakes.”
I'm all for it! “To Tell the Truth” is — with the possible exception of “What's My Line?” — the best panel game in TV history: Four celebrities interrogate three contestants who all claim to be the same person, and then the celebrities vote on which candidate is telling the truth. It's the show that's most responsible for putting Kitty Carlisle and Peggy Cass into our cultural lexicon, and it's what Eminem is referencing when he famously asked, “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?” Gordon Elliott and Alex Trebek hosted an early '90s version, and John O'Hurley helmed an underrated update in the early 2000s featuring regular guests Meshach Taylor and Paula Poundstone.
To commemorate the show's return to air, here are five amazing clips from different versions of the series.
1. Catch Him If You Can
You may know “To Tell the Truth” from the opening moments of Steven Spielberg's film “Catch Me If You Can” where famous con-man Frank Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, sees if he can fool the panel. That was based on an actual 1977 episode where the real Abagnale successfully duped all four celebrities, including a thunderstruck Peggy Cass.
2. That's not Beef Stroganoff
Imagine suddenly realizing you're eating dog food. That's what happened in this classic clip. You've never seen more dainty spitting than when Carlisle attempts to move the dog food from her mouth into a napkin.
3. Kitty Carlisle's son and Joe Garagiola's son hoodwink the panel.
It's not terribly rare that the contestants successfully trick the panel. But it's definitely rare when two of the phony players are actually the disguised sons of the panel. Watch as Kitty Carlisle and Joe Garagiola realize their next of kin are sitting in front of them.
4. Oh yeah, that time a notorious serial killer was a contestant
Ed Edwards killed as many as 100 people before he died in 2011, but the panel didn't know that when Edwards was a contestant on “To Tell the Truth.” Edwards posed as a reformed man who'd been “questioned about a double murder,” but he was never revealed for what he really was: a complete sociopath and killer.
5. That time Bobby Riggs introduced himself as a male chauvinist and his wife revealed herself.
Tennis legend and onetime chauvinist pig Bobby Riggs introduced his wife and two impostors as contestants on “To Tell the Truth.” Look at his vaudevillian flair! Classic Bobby. One of the contestants, hilariously, looks like Billie Jean King. (Did you know King and Riggs became friends and stayed close until the end of his life? Compassion wins!)