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Beat the Clock
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Beat the Clock

Beat the Clock was a game show which ran on CBS from 1950 to 1958. The show was hosted by Bud Collyer. It ran again from 1969 to 1974 with Jack Narz and later Gene Wood, from 1979 to 1980 (as The All-New Beat the Clock), with Narz again at first, then replaced by Monty Hall, and most recently, in 2002 with Gary Kroeger and Julielinh Parker as co-hosts.

The show had begun on radio with Collyer, who moved with it to television. Contestants were chosen from the studio audience, and were required to perform tasks within a certain time frame. The tasks tended to be of the slapstick physical variety, tending on the messy, with whipped cream, meringues, water balloons, etc. The money prizes were always secondary to the competition, with the winnings rarely more than $100, until such big-money shows as The Big Challenge forced Beat the Clock to start offering prizes up to $5000.

In order to determine if the stunts could actually be performed, the producers hired out-of-work actors to try them out. One of those who did this work was James Dean, who was said to be able to perform any task the producers gave him to try.