I was first introduced to Betty White as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls in 1985, but decades before she took on that role, Betty was already a TV star—and actually began her long career on unscripted TV.
Betty, who died on New Year’s Eve at 99, co-hosted and then solo hosted a variety show called Hollywood on Television, and went on to host and produce her very own 1952 variety show, The Betty White Show.
After that came decades of game show appearances, some of which will be back on our TVs soon.
Yes, long before she was starring on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Sue Ann Nivens; on The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family as Ellen Harper; or as the roommate of Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia The Golden Girls, Betty was a game show star.
Betty appeared on multiple versions of Password, on which she met her husband, Allen Ludden, who was the host of Password. She also appeared on To Tell the Truth, I’ve Got a Secret, Match Game, Pyramid, and many others.
If you haven’t seen her game show appearances, Betty is always terrific: whip-smart and funny, improvising as naturally as she inhabited her characters.
First, for even more Betty White, Hulu has just added The Golden Palace, the spin-off I will appreciate for offering 22 episodes of Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty that I haven’t seen in years, even though it’s just not the same without Bea Arthur, and the writing is really sub-par compared to The Golden Girls.
But we’re here to talk about how to watch Betty’s unscripted work.
Betty White game show marathons on her 100th birthday
For some context about how it fits into her long career in TV, which includes clips, watch Betty White: First Lady of Television, an hour-long documentary that PBS is now streaming for free; it’s also on Netflix.
Some of Betty’s many game show appearances have made their way to the Internet, like this episode of Super Password from 1987 that features Betty White, Estelle Getty, and Lucille Ball, or a 1964 episode of Password in which she’s introduced as “the delightful television motion picture star, Alan Ludden’s beautiful wife, Betty White.”
But thanks to two cable TV networks, you’ll be able to watch marathons of those episodes.
The network Buzzr has planned a “Betty White Tribute,” two days of Betty White appearances, on both Sunday and Monday, Jan. 16 and 17. (Buzzr airs classic game shows, and is free to watch via PlutoTV or via Amazon’s IMDb TV if you don’t get it on cable.)
The shows on Monday, which would have been Betty’s 100th birthday, include appearances spanning more than 61 years of Betty’s career.
Here’s its two-day schedule:
- Sunday, starting at 10:30 a.m. ET, Buzzr will air five episodes of Password from 1967, followed by 12 episodes of Password Plus from 1979 and 1980, and then 14 episodes of Super Password 1985 and 1986
- Monday, starting at 8 a.m. ET, Buzzr will air Betty White episodes of:
- Make The Connection from 1955
- To Tell the Truth from 1959
- Password and What’s My Line from 1963
- What’s My Line? and I’ve Got a Secret from 1972
- Tattletales from 1977
- Match Game from 1979
- Whew! from 1980
- Trivia Trap from 1984
- Super Password from 1989
- To Tell the Truth from 1990 and 2016
- and then back to To Tell the Truth from 1967 and 1968.
For specific times in your area, see Buzzr’s schedule.
Also on Monday, Game Show Network will air a marathon featuring two different shows:
- From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, there are eight episodes of the Dick Clark version of The $25,000 Pyramid from the 1980s
- From 1 to 2 p.m. ET, GSN airs two episodes of the Gene Rayburn-hosted version of Match Game