Here’s one of the weirdest Names of America. Why would a place be called Truth or Consequences?
Baby boomers might remember the TV game show Truth or Consequences, which started out as a radio program in 1940. The interactive show asked contestants a thorny question, and if they got it wrong, which was typically the case, they had to participate in a stunt—the consequence. The popular program was created and hosted by Ralph Edwards, who came up with other game show hits, including $100,000 Name That Tune. He also hosted This Is Your Life, and his production company co-produced The People’s Court.
To promote the tenth anniversary of Truth or Consequences in 1950, Edwards put together a brilliant stunt of his own: he went on the air and challenged a town or city in the U.S. to change its name to Truth or Consequences. The citizens of Hot Springs, New Mexico (named as such because of the many hot mineral springs along the Rio Grande) jumped at the chance to participate and on March 31, 1950, voted 1294 to 295 in favor of the name change. And they won! On the following day, April 1st, 1950, Edwards and his game show entourage went on the air from the newly named Truth or Consequences, NM. Every year since, the town, which locals call “T or C,” has hosted a Truth or Consequences Fiesta. And that’s the truth.
Claudia Gryvatz Copquin is a New York-based journalist, author, and essayist. Follow her on Twitter.