TV Revival List: Break The Bank | Bonehead Picks

TV Revival List: Break The Bank

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I haven’t done a revival list in a long time, but with things looking to slow down in the SEC and still waiting for NASCAR to kick in, this is what I call my off month, but it doesn’t stop me from finding anything to talk about. This is where I dig in into my next love which is game shows, which I rarely talk about, but ever since the game show bug bit me again over two years ago, it has been enjoyable again watching The Price Is Right and Let’s Make A Deal or if my wife wants to watch Jeopardy!

I am actually a member of a forum where you can recreate game shows and play and host them the way you want. One that I’ve been working on is another creation from Jack Barry and Dan Enright who also created The Joker’s Wild. It was considered a popular show which premiered in the summer of 1976, and even though it was popular, it got axed in favor of expanding soap operas in which you remember by now, I hate soap operas. The game show is called Break The Bank.

Break The Bank was hosted by Tom Kennedy on ABC from April 12 to July 23 and shortly after its cancellation was hosted in weekly syndication by Barry from September 18, 1976 to September 11, 1977. The game used a giant board with four rows of five boxes all connected to nine celebrities. The object was to match three consecutive boxes together with dollar amounts of $100, $200 and $300, while the syndicated version used $100, $300 and $500 boxes.

The board also held five Money Bags which were scattered all over the board which served a special purpose. If you were the first to find three Money Bags, you would break the bank which would normally start at $5,000 and go up another $500 every time it is not won. The syndicated version only held $10,000 in prizes including a new car if the bank was broken and the winner would play a bonus game afterwards or if one player won the most games after time ran out. The ABC episodes always picked up the next day.

There was also a Wild Card which could be connected to anything but had to be earned. Five blanks were also hidden and scattered and finding one of those blanks would cause the contestant to lose their turn. The contestant would pick a box and if a dollar amount was exposed, that particular number would be connected to two celebrities. Kennedy or Barry would ask both celebrities a question, one would give the right answer while the other had to give a bogus one and the contestant had to choose which is right.

If chose correctly, the contestant kept the box and kept playing but if they were wrong, they would lose their turn and the box would return to its normal position. On the Barry edition, the other player would win the box by default that way to speed up the game if time ran out. If the contestant found a Money Bag, they were given the option to keep it or return it. If they kept the Money Bag they forfeit their turn, so if they wanted to try to match the other boxes, it had to be returned.

If any player matches three consecutive boxes which would be 3 $300 boxes, they would win $900 in cash and what they call a special surprise prize. On the ABC version, they would be crowned champion and come back for the next game as there were no bonus round. If a player started off the game and won without their opponent getting a turn, champion or not, were allowed to come back and start the next game. The syndicated version had no returning champions.

If time ran out on the Barry version, each player would go back and forth until one player matched three boxes or three Money Bags. As before, the most games won or breaking the bank made them the champion. The syndicated version had a bonus round where each celebrity would hold dollar amounts except one would hold a BUST card. If a contestant got to $2,000, they won $5,000 in cash. If a BUST was found, they lost all money accumulated in that game, but kept what they previously won.

There were other versions of this show before and after this edition, but this game I am more familar with and was well easy to learn. Sadly it fell victim to the soap opera curse while it was considered one of the most popular games during the 1976 year. This is sadly one of those that appears to be forgotten but has seen some light on Game Show Network in the late 90’s. If they can bring back The Joker’s Wild from the Barry-Enright vault, this can make a comeback too.

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