The National Archives of Game Show History
The National Archives of Game Show History at The Strong preserves the history of game shows—from the earliest panel shows and quiz scandals, to the games and puzzles of the 1970s, to the big money network series and the classic games now in primetime.
These oral histories have been produced to tell the story of game shows and to serve as primary source material for future generations. The conversations present the personal viewpoints of individuals who have worked in the world of game shows. The stories and perspectives interviewees offer are their own opinions and recollections, and the National Archives of Game Show History is honored to have the opportunity to record, preserve, and share them.
Co-founded by veteran television producers Howard Blumenthal (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?) and Bob Boden (Funny You Should Ask), The National Archives of Game Show History focuses on acquiring the records and materials of the many professional producers, performers, directors, designers, writers, and staff members who have been involved in all facets of game show development, production, marketing, and distribution. The materials they provide—scripts, set designs, props, technical plans, marketing materials, creative plans, production plans, and more—form the heart of the archives. Read the Variety magazine article.
From the Blog:
National Archives of Game Show History
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History Let’s Make a Deal has been something of a sleeper hit for CBS, quietly maintaining a steady and loyal audience over the past 15 years. Host Wayne Brady hasn’t filled the shoes of original host and creator Monty Hall, only because there’s no…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History In October 2021, the National Archives of Game Show History began recording interviews for our Oral Histories series. Chatting with important figures from game shows past and picking their brains about their experiences, we have attempted to tell the rich story of game…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History There’s still some time left to get some summer reading done. BearManor Media, which specializes in pop culture titles, has just released two ebook adaptations of biographies of game show legends. Okay? Okay! Dennis James’ Lifetime of Firsts chronicles the unique life and…
We’ve all heard the quotation, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Often misattributed to artist Andy Warhol (when in fact it was devised by two Swedish museum professionals preparing for a Warhol exhibition), the notion of “15 minutes of fame” has permeated popular culture for more than half a century. These…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History As you’re strolling through The Strong’s new Hasbro Game Park, you’ll see a 14-foot-long replica of the Scottie dog token from the classic Monopoly board game. A short walk away, there’s a 9 ½-foot long replica of the race car token. There’s also…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History The Strong’s latest expansion—opening June 30, 2023—includes the world’s largest, playable Donkey Kong arcade game. Using a motherboard from an original Donkey Kong cabinet, this monolithic version stands nearly 20 feet tall. In honor of this new addition to The Strong, the National…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History Here at the National Archives of Game Show history, we like to explore the history and culture of game shows. Happily, we are not alone. Beginning on May 10, 2023, ABC will devote four Wednesday evenings to exploring and celebrating the genre with…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History This year, Game Show Network is treating fans to a blast from the past—the channel is launching a revival of Split Second, a tough Q&A game that enjoyed a three-year run on ABC with host Tom Kennedy in the 1970s. Split Second returned…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History For the month of February, the National Archives of Game Show History commemorates Presidents’ Day with a look back at one of the most extraordinary segments on an American game show. On February 9, 1956, Garry Moore dashed into the wings of the…
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History We are deeply grateful to the estate of Betty White and Allen Ludden for their donations to the National Archives of Game Show History. “Hollywood’s Happiest Couple” left behind a personal treasure trove of relics from their long and memorable association with TV…
One of the highlights for me in the summer of 2022 involved traveling to Los Angeles on behalf of the National Archives of Game Show History, The Strong’s initiative to preserve the story of that significant piece of American popular culture. Through the incredible connections of Bob Boden, one of the co-founders of the archives,…
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History Different shows treat Christmas differently. Some game shows have been content to just do their normal game, but with tinsel and a tree adorning the set. Some shows take it a little further, playing the game with special material—What’s My Line? might welcome a…
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History You bring the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, and the pumpkin pie. For Thanksgiving, we’ll bring you the biggest turkey in the history of game shows: You’re in the Picture By 1961, Jackie Gleason was already a bona fide show business legend. His Cavalcade…
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History October 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. For the next 30 years after its debut in 1962, Carson became a nightly habit for millions of Americans, who were treated to his monologue as a record of the…
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History In 1972, longtime NBC executive Bud Grant jumped to CBS for a position as vice president of daytime programming. In his new role, Grant inherited a stagnant morning schedule of reruns from prime time. He thought game shows could spruce up a wilting…
Hear behind-the-scenes stories from game show contestants in Tell Us About Yourself: Conversations with Game Show Contestants, a new BuzzerBlog podcast by Christian Carrion, in conjunction with the National Archives of Game Show History.
How to Donate
If you are interested in adding to The National Archives of Game Show History:
- Make a list of the potential donations and send it to email@example.com. (Call 585-410-6340 if you have questions.)
- The Strong museum’s curators, librarians, and archivists will consider your offer.
- The appropriate staff member will contact you regarding your offer and, if it’s right for the archives, work with you to determine the best way for it to physically reach the museum.
- When the item(s) arrives at the museum, the donation is processed (steps that may include cataloging, conservation attention, and photography).
- The donation is presented to the museum’s Acquisitions Team for final approval.
- The collections manager sends the donor a Deed of Gift via email or U.S. Mail as preferred.
- The donor completes and signs the Deed of Gift, keeps a copy, and returns a copy to The Strong.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of materials are you looking to collect?
Program development documents; program proposals; pilot and production scripts (some with notes from production personnel); materials related to hosts and players; scenic plans, renderings, construction drawings; materials related to music and sound effects; show rundowns; shell scripts; director’s notes; network notes; edit notes; publicity materials; and associated physical materials which may include costume designs, props, graphics, and more. These materials may be originals, copies, scans, facsimiles, depending upon what is reasonably available. All such materials shall be provided on an as-is basis.
What about intellectual property rights?
The museum is aware that donors of papers, documents and other materials may not hold copyright or intellectual property rights to the content. The Strong provides those donors with clear and specific ways to designate the appropriate limitations involved with intellectual property.
How does the museum decide whether to accept a donation?
The museum considers each potential acquisition carefully. The appropriate curator, librarian, or archivist evaluates each item or collection to make sure it supports the goals of The National Archives of Game Show History and does not duplicate items already in the museum’s holdings. When items or groups of items fit those criteria, the staff member responsible for the initial review presents a written justification for acquisition to The Strong’s Acquisitions Team. If that group agrees at its monthly meeting, a Deed of Gift form is prepared for the donor.
What is a Deed of Gift?
Once The Strong museum’s Acquisitions Team has officially accepted an item or a collection, the donor receives a Deed of Gift via email or U.S. Mail. A Deed of Gift is a formal document that transfers legal ownership of the donated item(s) to The Strong. Provisions within the document allow donors to choose how they want their donation acknowledged, to define or assign intellectual property rights, and to specify preferences for research access.
What are the financial implications of a donation?
The Internal Revenue Service has determined that The Strong qualifies as a 501(c)(3) organization. In keeping with professional standards and accreditation requirements of the American Alliance of Museums, The Strong does not appraise items offered for donation. Donors are encouraged to seek the advice of counsel before claiming deductions for the purpose of computing income and heritance taxes under state and federal laws.
Must donated materials be in mint condition?
Items or collections offered to the museum should be complete (not missing significant parts) and in stable condition, but they do not have to be mint-in-box or look the way they did when new. It is not necessary to clean objects prior to offering them to The Strong. Curatorial and conservation staff members examine each artifact to assure that its condition will allow it to be preserved for future exhibition, research, and educational needs.
Should I organize my collection before offering it to The Strong?
It’s not necessary to organize a collection prior to offering it to The Strong. Staff from the museum’s Collections Team will organize the materials after they arrive.
Should I clean or repair my objects before offering them to The Strong?
It’s not necessary to do cleaning or repair work prior to offering it to The Strong. Conservation staff will evaluate what steps are necessary once items are accepted by the museum.
Will my donations be displayed?
In its early years, The National Archives of Game Show History will operate as a research facility, not as a display for general guests at The Strong museum. In the future, we may develop a public exhibit. However, donations are shared with a worldwide audience by way of the museum’s online collections, its library catalog, and its archives catalog. These databases serve as entry points for researchers, scholars, students, the media, and the public to locate pertinent material for their interests or projects.
Can I get to my materials again after I donate them?
Yes, you are welcome to make an appointment in advance with the museum’s staff so that they can provide you access to items not on display.
To learn more about The National Archives of Game Show History, explore the history of games shows, and read full biographies of co-founders Howard Blumenthal and Bob Boden, please see the press kit.
For press inquiries, contact:
Senior Director of Public Relations