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Password premiered on CBS Daytime on October 2, 1961, running until September 15, 1967. A concurrent primetime series premiered on January 2, 1962, running until September 9, 1965 and again from December 25, 1966 until May 22, 1967. The series was revived by ABC, running from April 5, 1971 until June 27, 1975. While on ABC, it won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show, with host Allen Ludden winning for Outstanding Game Show Host.

Game Format

In the 1961–1975 original, two teams of two (consisting of one celebrity & one contestant) played Password for points. One player from each team (both celebrities or both contestants) was given the password while the home viewers saw the word on their screens (accompanied by the announcer saying, "The Password is..."). Then the clue givers gave a one-word clue to get their partners to say the password. In the ABC version, the first team got the option to pass or play. Teams alternated turns until one guesser said the password which gave the team points according to how many clues given, starting at 10 and ending with 1 (5 in the ABC run). Should the guesser on the team in control say a form of the password, the guesser got one last chance to say the exact word. Whenever an illegal clue was given, a buzzer sounded, and the guesser lost a chance to guess the password, and giving away the password by the clue givers ended the word. The decisions as to whether the clues were good or bad were made by a word authority. In the CBS version, the authorities were Professor David H. Greene, a professor from New York University, and World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary editor Dr. Reason A. Goodwin. On ABC, the authorities were Dr. Robert Stockwell from UCLA and Carolyn Duncan. Partners on both teams alternated between giving & receiving, starting with the stars, then to the contestants; plus, the team that trailed or lost the last password in case of a tie started a new password. The first team to reach 25 points won the game ($100 to the contestant in the CBS daytime version and $250 in the CBS nighttime version) and went on the play the Lightning Round. By 1974 during the ABC run, the game was played best of three. Also, clue givers were given an option to pass or play.

Password '75

The main game began with an elimination round with four contestants seated across from two other celebrities. The celebrities took turns giving one word clues to the contestants, and the first player to buzz-in with the correct password scored one point. An incorrect answer from the buzz-in player caused him/her to sit out the rest of the word, and questioning about the clue after buzzing in ended the word right away. The first two players to score three passwords won the right to play Classic Password.

Classic Password was played the same as before, except that the clue giver on the first team was also given the option to double in addition to the pass/play option. Going for the double meant that the word would then be worth 20 points instead of 10; plus, both clue givers got one chance to get their partners to say the word. Games were now played to 50 points.

Lightning Round

Main Article: Lightning Round