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.
A network executive whose career spanned four decades at three networks, Michael Brockman was a friend of game shows who oversaw and launched many fan favorites.
Ron Greenberg began his career as a page at NBC’s famous studio complex in Rockefeller Plaza, later producing games like Camouflage and Word for Word. Independently, he created The Who What or Where Game, The Big Showdown, and The Money Maze. Later, he became executive producer of classics like The Joker’s Wild and Tic Tac Dough.
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.
From the Blog:
National Archives of Game Show History
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 lineup and bring an element of fun. Grant tried one game show in the summer of 1972 as a signal flare of sorts—an odd game called […]
by Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History It was a bona fide institution for over a decade on NBC, a phoenix of a game that rose from the ashes twice, becoming a favorite for game show fans across three generations. It was Concentration, and it came to life on America’s TV screens on August 25, 1958. Jack Barry was toying with an idea based on a childhood card game; you’d spread the deck out and turn over […]
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History On July 27, 2022, Norman Lear will celebrate his 100th birthday. Among his numerous contributions to television: creating, developing, and producing more than 100 series, including All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons; serving as a consultant for several episodes of South Park; and hosting a game show. Wait, hold on, that can’t be right, can it?…Yes, Norman Lear was a game show host. In 1981, […]
By Adam Nedeff, researcher for The Strong’s National Archives of Game Show History On June 19, 1952, game show moguls Mark Goodson & Bill Todman introduced a new panel game, I’ve Got a Secret, intended to be a summer replacement for a mystery drama, Casey, Crime Photographer. The utterly basic premise: A contestant whispered a secret about themselves to the host. The panel had to ask yes/no questions to figure out the secret. And with such a simple formula, I’ve Got […]
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History Stay up to date with the world of game shows and The Strong’s National Archives of Game Show History with this recurring blog. This month, learn about May’s lineup of music game shows and the history of this playful subgenre. In the month of May, Fox is hoping game show fans will tune in for tunes. Starting May 23, the network’s Monday prime time schedule will be wall-to-wall musical […]
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History Stay up to date with the world of game shows and The Strong’s National Archives of Game Show History with this recurring blog. This month, learn about the return of ABC’s The Chase and the history of “beat the expert” games. (Bob Boden, one of the Archive’s cofounders, produced the original U.S. version of The Chase in 2014.) The Chase is returning to ABC for a third season. Twenty episodes […]
By Adam Nedeff, Researcher for the National Archives of Game Show History The Strong launched the National Archives of Game Show History in 2021 to collect, preserve, and help tell the story of this playful television genre. To stay up to date with the Archives and happenings in the world of game shows, check out a new, recurring feature in the museum’s e-newsletter and accompanying blog posts: When Michael Strahan walks onto the stage of The $100,000 Pyramid on April 23, […]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (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