Truth or Consequences, NM

Truth or Consequences, NM, is indeed one of the odd names in American Geography.  The story of the name’s origin is odder still.  I thought I had it nailed back in the early 70’s, long before the founders of this blog were even born.  I drove through Truth or Consequences on a cross country trip.  As I passed beyond the city limits heading north towards Albequerque, I saw a huge sign on the interstate proclaiming “NEXT SERVICES 100 MILES.”  Aha!  That has to be it, I thought, as I looked down at my dashboard. My gas gauge had better be telling me the truth, or I would pay the consequences!

Wrong.   Well, sort of right; my observation about being screwed if my gas gauge was inaccurate probably was true.  But  the true story of how the former Hot Springs, NM changed its name is more unlikely than that. It came about in 1950 when Ralph Edwards, host of the popular radio quiz show Truth or Consequences announced he would host the show from the first town that renamed itself after the program.

Hot Springs won.  I guess; if you call that a prize.  It is certainly a more memorable name than Hot Springs.  And the fact that it is right near Elephant  Butte–I won’t even speculate on where that name came from–makes it a blog worthy piece of Americana.

As for the show Truth or Consequences, it was one of the longest running quiz shows ever.  After 15+ years on radio, it made the transition to the small screen.  The inimitable Bob Barker hosted the lion’s share of the TV run; he was emcee from 1957-1975.  OK, his name isn’t funny, but he’s almost 90 so we have to go easy on him.  I don’t know if he ever hosted the TV show from Truth or Consequences, but if he did, that dry desert air certainly helped preserve him.

Yes, he was young once.

Yes, he was young once.

About Mark Sackler

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."-Alan Kay; Let's invent a better future, together.
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17 Responses to Truth or Consequences, NM

  1. I love the fact that you’ve been there. And I used to love watching that show.

    • Dave says:

      I’m impressed… each of the three cities we’ve profiled on the blog – Blue Ball/Intercourse, PA; Chicken, Alaska; and Truth or Consequences, NM – has been personally visited by the author. That’s a pretty awesome track record!

  2. Raven says:

    My personal favourite place name is Disappointment Island. It must have been pretty darn disappointing…

  3. Liz says:

    Great story–though I don’t see how Barker is NOT a funny name. Especially given what he does (did?) for a living. Awesome picture.

  4. Dave says:

    I think there was a Vincent Gallo movie with the same name released 15 or so years ago… Shame I’ve never seen it. Vincent Gallo is an amusing fellow!

  5. marksackler says:

    Reblogged this on The Millennium Conjectures(tm) and commented:
    I’m back from the Iberian peninsula just in time to reblog my second monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names. Appropriately enough, it’s a place name and not a person.

    In other news, my thanks to Sue of Dreamshadow59 for nominating me for the very inspiring blogger award. I do appreciate the nominations (this my 8th I think) but I don’t participate–meaning I don’t jump though the required hoops among which require nominating so many other bloggers, so that it spreads like a rhinovirus through the blogosphere.

    Now, if I can find my office under all this snow, back to real life.

  6. EhkStream says:

    How funny… I lived here for a couple of years, working in the Gila National Forest to the west. It’s wonderful in the winter months…

    • marksackler says:

      I was there just long enough to drive through from one end to the other. Maybe I stopped for a bite or to gas up, I can’t remember. It was 40 friggin’ years ago! 😛

  7. Pingback: Bob Barker, You’re the Next Contestant on the Name is Right . . . | The Blog of Funny Names

  8. Pingback: T or C, New Mexico - Hot Springs Aficionado

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