Thursday, June 13, 2024

Berry Gordy Only ‘Black Famous’ in 1965 Despite Motown Crossover Dominance? | EUR Video Throwback

July 5, 1965 episode of 'To Tell The Truth' would suggest, yes.

Berry Gordy (L) and two imposters on "To Tell the Truth" on July 5, 1965
Berry Gordy (L) and two imposters on “To Tell the Truth” on July 5, 1965

*Berry Gordy launched Motown in June of 1958, but it wasn’t until the 60s when the Detroit record label began cranking out consecutive hits en route to becoming “the Sound of Young America.”

The Supremes, the Temptations, and the Four Tops all began their meteoric rise in 1964, and by 1965 their names and faces were entrenched in both white and Black households. Gordy’s image, however, appeared to remain a mystery among older white folks – or at least the four-member celebrity panel seated that summer on the game show “To Tell the Truth.”

In 1965 alone, the Supremes appeared on the cover of Time magazine, secured a headlining spot at the ultra-white Copacabana and topped the pop charts with “Stop! in the Name of Love,” “Back in My Arms Again,” “Nothing But Heartaches,” “I Hear a Symphony,” and “My World Is Empty Without You.” Before appearing with Gordy on the July 5, 1965 episode of “To Tell the Truth,” the trio performed their first two No. 1s of the year on popular mainstream variety shows “The Hollywood Palace,” and “Hullabuloo.”

Watch below:

So you’d think that the man behind 1965’s top selling music acts would’ve been easily recognizable among the celebrity panelists on “To Tell the Truth” that year. White folks in their teens and 20s may have been able to identify Gordy on sight the way Black people did at the time, but not Peggy Cass, Orson Bean, Kitty Carlisle and Tom Poston. Bean was days away from turning 37, Cass and Poston were over 40 and Carlisle was 55 when they were tasked with figuring out the real Berry Gordy.

“To Tell the Truth” was a product of the 50s, having launched on CBS in 1956 with original host Bud Collyer. In each episode, the four celebrity panelists are given the name and bio of a notable figure, who is featured on the show alongside two imposters. The panelists must guess which person is the real deal by posing questions to all three. The imposters are free to lie in their answers, while the real person must always tell the truth.

Watch a 35-year-old Gordy fool all four panelists, and a bonus performance by the Supremes below:

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