Beat the Clock (1950–1961)

TV Series  |  TV-G  |   |  Family, Game-Show
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Classic game show where couples (and sometimes families) competed to win prizes by completing stunts within a time limit.

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Title: Beat the Clock (1950–1961)

Beat the Clock (1950–1961) on IMDb 7.1/10

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1955   1952  


Complete series cast summary:
 Herself (1 episode, 1952)


"Beat the Clock" was one of televisions most durable game shows. Its popularity was derived from its simple format and wacky action. Two couples, preselected from the studio audience, had to complete various stunts within a time limit (usually 60 seconds or less) to win cash and prizes. Examples of the often-messy stunts (the centerpiece of the show) included blowing a plastic ship carrying a ping-pong ball from one side of a water-filled tub to the other, without allowing the ball to fall off; stuffing eight balloons in a lidded wastebasket without breaking any; and extracting three marshmallows buried in Jell-O using a spoon held in his mouth, then placing each marshmallow on a plate next to them. A huge clock counted down the seconds, as host Collyer provided commentary and encouragement. Couples who successfully completed their stunt won cash (usually $100 to $200, depending on the round) and a prize. After the first round of stunts, each couple got a chance to complete an ... Written by Brian Rathjen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

stunt | kinescope | non fiction | See All (3) »


Family | Game-Show






Release Date:

23 March 1950 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


James Dean, whose first TV appearances were in Goodson-Todman-produced anthology dramas, was also employed by G-T as a stunt tester for this program. He proved so agile at completing the stunts that his results couldn't be used to set time limits for contestants to complete them. So he was reluctantly let go. See more »


Spoofed in Beat the Watch (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Good show. Great host.
4 February 2006 | by (Houston) – See all my reviews

I remember this show years ago. This along with To Tell the Truth, What's My Line, I've Got a Secret and the Old Price is Right were staples in my home. I agree with the person who said that shows like the Fear Factor should take a look at this show. It was very simplistic. A couple would attempt these seemingly impossible stunts. If they completed the first stunt they got a prize worth 100.00 , the second 200 and a bonus round in which the female has to figure out a famous quote from jumbled words. If they win that they usually will get nice TV and in later seasons a TV and a stereo. If they just won the 200.00 round they might get a washing machine or a fridge and 100.00 a radio. The stunts were not dangerous but just as suspenseful as they are in shows like Fear Factor. If the stunt involved something like whipped cream or water one of the models would come out and take a picture. What is amazing is a lot of the women are wearing high heel shoes and a dress while doing these stunts. I would say most of the time people are able to complete the bonus. But some of the shows the stunts seem very hard. Later they added these super bonus stunts, worth 1000's and the amount went up s long as no one got them. These tasks were next to impossible. If I described them one would think they weren't until they actually saw the stunt. One involved wearing a hat and getting the balls hanging from the rim to balance on the rim. One involved a toupee. I am now looking at the GSN and the stunt is up to 26,000!

What I think sets the shows of the 60's apart from the game shows of today was the hosts. Bud Collyer, Bill Cullen, Daly , and Garry Moore, were all class acts. And the lack of vulgarity. Beat the Clock showed that stunts can be exciting without being vulgar and exploitive. Bud Collyer was almost as involved in the stunts as the contestants. He treated everyone very nice and if the contestants showed up with their children he would take time to talk to them and give the girls a Roxanne doll(the hostess)and the boy a board game. Even if the kids weren't there he would send them something. I really miss hosts like him. Who seem to be having just as good a time as the contestants. They all seem so cynical now.

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