1 9 4 9 – 1 9 5 0 (USA)
30 minute episodes
1 9 5 2 (USA)
8 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 5 3 (USA)
17 x 30 minute episodes
Hostess Arlene Francis made the move from radio to television in 1949 with the dating game show Blind Date, which had been a hit as a radio show during the war years.
Broadcast from New York, the ABC TV show featured six eager male contestants – known as “the Hunters” – and three attractive women (“the Hunted”), many of whom were New York models, actresses and showgirls.
In three separate rounds per broadcast, two men were seated on one side of a wall and one female on the other (so they couldn’t see each other, but both were in full view of the audience). The males took turns to telephone the girl and attempt to talk her into going on a date.
The woman chose the most impressive one based on voice and specially prepared questions. The winning couple then received an all-expenses paid romantic evening of theatre, dining, and dancing – fully chaperoned, of course.
The male contestants were often college boys representing competing universities, although specialised groups were sometimes featured, such as airline hostesses and pilots, widows and widowers, and male and female magazine editors.
The show was cancelled by ABC in September 1951 but returned briefly on NBC in June/July 1952.
It then ran on DuMont in the summer of 1953 – briefly renamed Your Big Moment – with Melvyn Douglas as the new host. Jan Murray replaced him after just three weeks.
The format was later revived as The Dating Game.
Arlene Francis died from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer in San Francisco on 31 May 2001. She was 93.