According to Alfonzo Smith, a collector of games derived from television programs, Password is an old "word association" game... the object is to get a partner to say a target word, the Password, based on a one word clue.
While the game of Password really doesn't require any equipment to play, this game was used as the basis for a US television program from 1961 through 1989, sometimes as a daytime show, sometimes as a syndicated show, and for a while as an evening prime time show.
The show was a modification of the well known word association game in which two teams compete with one another. One member of the team is "it" and tries to guess a common word from single word clues a team partner offers. On the telecast, "it" was usually a celebrity. Points (and cash prizes) were given to the non-celebrity member of the team based upon the least number of word clues that were offered. A "round" might include as many as ten clues.
The first version of the boxed game was issued in 1962. "Volume 3" was issued in 1963, along with a "Fine Edition" and also a "Collectors Edition". These latter editions featured different shaped boxes and designs. The box game produced by the Milton Bradley Company (pictured at the top of this page) is of the sixth edition, published in 1966 in Canada and licensed to Somerville Industries Ltd. and donated to the Museum in 1991. Various editions of the boxed game were produced from time to time. "Volume 4 " (photograph on the right) was issued in 1964 and donated to the Museum in 1982.
Each edition included similar equipment, but a different set of words. The box for the "4th edition" is 15cm x 25.5cm x 4cm, and includes a metal pointer or spinner (4cm x 12cm x 4cm) attached to a cardboard backing with the numbers 1-10. The pointer is used to keep track of the number of "word clues" given to "it" (lower right in the photograph). According to Smith, this device is "...the indicator of which round is being played and the value of the word should a player guess the word." A blue plastic cardholder (14cm x 5.5cm) is used to hold the "word" under consideration. "Words" are printed on individual cards (14cm x 5cm). A slit at the top of the holders enabled the "word" to be exposed. The 36 rectangular game cards (upper right in the photograph) were overprinted with words and numbers. A score pad (11.5cm x 12.75cm) is also included in the box.
The photograph at the left is of the "14th Edition " and was donated to the Museum in 1991. This boxed version (25.5cm x 15.5cm x 4.2cm) is similar to version six, in that it includes a card holder (13.5cm x 6cm), word cards (14cm x 5cm), a scoring dial metal pointer, and a score pad.
Each editions of the game is for four players. Even though the program is no longer telecast, the game - with or without a boxed version - is still being played, and a boxed copy is still being manufactured.
Last update May 30, 2010