To tell the truth “What is your name, please?”

August 13, 2014

This was the opening question by the game show host of “To Tell The Truth.” Each week the three challengers were asked the same question, as they were introduced to a celebrity panel and to the audience. In response each challenger would then state, “My name is ….” It was after each challenger gave the same response, that a celebrity panel would begin asking questions of each challenger. The central goal was to determine who was telling the truth about themselves and who the impostors were.
Each panelist was given a period of time to question the challengers and questions were clearly directed to each challenger in the form (number one, number two and number three). Only the central character was sworn to give truthful answers and the two impostors were permitted to lie or pretend to be the real or central character. After all the questioning was completed, each member of the panel voted on which of the three challengers they believed was the real character. They would then cast their vote by writing the number on a card and holding it up revealing their choice. This would be done without the panelists consulting among themselves. If a panelist knew one of the challengers, they were required to recuse themselves and their vote would not count.
Once the votes were in, the host then asked, “Will the real (person’s name)… please stand up?” Then the real character would stand, often after some brief playful feinting, false starts and strange looks among the three challengers. Later, the two impostors then would reveal their real names, actual occupations and where they were from. Prize money was awarded to the challengers based on the number of incorrect votes the impostors received.
What a great show; its popularity helped it to last 25 seasons on networks and in syndication. It is only one of five game shows that aired at least one new episode in at least six consecutive decades. The other shows are The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, The Newlywed Game and Jeopardy, and they are still running today. That is amazing for a game show that began in 1956 and ended in 2001 continues to speak and impact us today.
What is happening in the inner cities of America, with the high levels of disparities and more, it’s time “To Tell the Truth.” This is not a game when the qualities of people’s lives are at stake, rising poverty, increasing crime, poor schools, high incarceration and outsourcing jobs (not just overseas), but out of community. It appears that there are too many impostors and not enough real people. Of course the makeup of the panel is also a big question mark. What do you think?
Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at, Twitter #AC53, or call 414-571-5015. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee.