1 9 6 1 – 1 9 7 5 (USA)
411 x 30 minute episodes
Hosted for 14 years by Allen Ludden – in both daytime and primetime versions on CBS and ABC, Password was the first game show to pair regular contestants with celebrities – each team comprised a celebrity captain and a non-celebrity contestant.
A player secretly received a password (eg: “pencil”) and through one-word clues had to convey its meaning to their partner.
Word values began at ten points and diminished by one point for each unsuccessful clue. The highest-scoring team was the winner and the (non-celebrity) contestant received a cash prize determined by a “lightning round”.
The format eventually became old and tired but instead of cancelling it, the producers changed the format and title to Password All-Stars. Unfortunately, more complicated rules were added and viewers weren’t as keen to see celebrities playing for charities – they missed watching real people win real money.
The show eventually reverted to regular contestants but remained too complicated and was cancelled in June 1975.
Celebrity contestants through the years included Elizabeth Montgomery, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Darren McGavin, Florence Henderson, Lucille Ball, Angie Dickinson, Paul Anka, Paul Lynde, Jack Cassidy, Barbara Eden, James Mason, Sammy Davis Jr, Jane Fonda, Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, Peter Fonda, Bob Denver, Robert Morse, Juliet Prowse, Jack Benny, Bob Newhart, Peter Falk, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson, Joan Crawford, Connie Francis, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Eva Gabor, Jayne Mansfield, Woody Allen, Joan Collins, Gene Kelly, Roddy McDowall, Nancy Sinatra, Eddie Albert, Bob Crane, Chad Everett, Frank Gorshin, Eve Arden, Agnes Moorehead, Lynn Redgrave, James Brolin, Werner Klemperer, Mary Tyler Moore, Adam West, Betty Grable, Richard Crenna, Richard Dawson, Loretta Swit and Kate Jackson.