‘Password’ Debuts in American Homes on This Day in 1961

by Megan Molseed

The iconic game show Password premiered on this day sixty years ago in 1961.

Of course, an anniversary such as this can’t be left unrecognized! No worries, though, the Retro News Now Twitter page has that covered!

“‘Password’ hosted by Allen Ludden premiered 60 years ago, October 2, 1961, on CBS,” noted the Retro News Now tweet on Saturday.

The post was extra exciting because of the photos included in the anniversary shout-out.

The first photo is a retro cartoon rendering of the classic game show’s host, Allen Ludden.

The cartoon features Ludden clad in his famous thick-rimmed glasses, holding a card that says “Password.”

There’s a stamp next to the top of the cartoon that says “Premiere”…maybe this photo was the one used in the initial advertising of the iconic clue game?

The second photo depicts a description of the show, describing the rules of the debut game show to viewers.

“Allen Ludden is emcee for this half-hour game show seen Monday through Friday, sometimes live, sometimes on tape,” the description reads.

The photo goes on to list the rules of the game show, which partnered contestants with celebrities as they tried to determine the secret word…or the Password.

According to the description, the premiere of Password featured Kitty Carlisle and Tom Poston as the debut episode’s celebrity guests.

The clue-centered game show had a successful run on CBS from its premiere until 1967. A few years later in 1971, ABC picked up the gameshow. This revival lasted a few years finding regular success until its cancelation in 1975.

Allen Ludden Heads ‘Password’s’ Successful Run

The original host of Password, Allen Ludden found success early in the hosting seat, however, his most well-known role is that of Password host. Ludden hosted the iconic series during its entire run on CBS, and he joined the revival when the gameshow moved to ABC.

Ludden later signed on to host a Password revival ordered by NBC that was titled Password Plus. However, by then the game show host was already battling stomach cancer, and his regular chemotherapy treatments forced him to step away from the Password podium.

“Hi doll!”

Ludden’s opening catchphrase, “Hi Doll” was a memorable one that quickly became his trademark.

In each episode, Allen Ludden would greet Password audiences with the words “Hi doll.”

However, it has been noted that these words were meant for one specific woman: Tess White. White, of course, is the mother of Ludden’s wife, the unparalleled actress former Golden Girls star, Betty White.

Last spring, NBC announced a revival of the classic game show. This revival will be produced by Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon. A premiere date for this revival has not yet been set.