Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1950s Beat The Clock

Beat The Clock

1 9 5 0 – 1 9 6 1 (USA)

The very active game show Beat The Clock began on CBS radio in 1949 and transferred to television in 1950 with Bud Collyer remaining as emcee.

Contestants chosen from the studio audience had to complete in hilarious stunts – which often involved pies, whipped cream, exploding balloons and water – before the big studio clock ticked down the suspenseful seconds (usually 60 of them or less).

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A typical stunt had a contestant put on an oversize set of long underwear, then try to stuff 12 inflated balloons into them without breaking any – all in 45 seconds.

Another presented the contestant with a fishing pole and line, with a frankfurter tied at the end. He would then have to lower the frankfurter onto a series of mousetraps and try to spring a total of six of them in 40 seconds.

Assisting Collyer during the first five years on air was a beautiful young model/actress named Roxanne (real name: Dolores Rosedale). The Vanna White of her day, the shapely blonde received as many fan letters as any star at CBS at the time.

In 1955, Beverly Bentley replaced Roxanne as Collyer’s assistant when Roxanne left the show to try her luck as a film actress. She met with little success, unfortunately.

Beat The Clock remained an audience favourite for eight years and was aired as both evening and daytime versions. 

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Before the advent of the big-money quiz shows in 1955, the prizes on Beat The Clock were always secondary to the game. Even the “bonus stunt” – which was harder than most – was rarely worth more than $100.

By 1956, though, with competition from NBC’s The Big Surprise, the ante for successfully completing the “bonus stunt” started at $5,000 and rose by $1,000 for every attempt until somebody finally managed to complete it successfully.

In September 1956 one winning couple took home $64,000, by far the biggest prize ever given on the show.

A syndicated version of Beat The Clock was produced from 1969 to 1975 with Jack Narz hosting for the first three years and Gene Wood taking over for the last three.

The show returned briefly to the CBS weekly daytime lineup in 1979 with Monty Hall hosting.

Bud Collyer
Roxanne (Dolores Rosedale)
Beverly Bentley
Bern Bennett
Dirk Fredericks