Break the Bank (1976 game show)

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Break the Bank
Break the Bank.jpg
GenreGame Show
Directed byRichard S. Kline
Presented byTom Kennedy (ABC)
Jack Barry (Syndicated)
Narrated byJohnny Jacobs (ABC)
Ernie Anderson (ABC & Syndicated)
Theme music composerStuart Levin
Country of originUnited States
Production
Producer(s)Dan Enright
Location(s)ABC Television Center
Hollywood, California
Running time22–26 minutes
Production company(s)Barry & Enright Productions
DistributorColbert Television Sales (Syndicated)
Sony Pictures Television (current)
Broadcast
Original channelABC (1976)
Syndicated (1976–77)
Original runApril 12 – July 23, 1976 (1976-07-23)
September 18, 1976 (1976-09-18) – September 11, 1977 (1977-09-11)
 
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This article is about the 1976−77 game show. For the 1948−57 game show, see Break the Bank (1948 game show). For the 1985−86 game show, see Break the Bank (1985 game show).
Break the Bank
Break the Bank.jpg
GenreGame Show
Directed byRichard S. Kline
Presented byTom Kennedy (ABC)
Jack Barry (Syndicated)
Narrated byJohnny Jacobs (ABC)
Ernie Anderson (ABC & Syndicated)
Theme music composerStuart Levin
Country of originUnited States
Production
Producer(s)Dan Enright
Location(s)ABC Television Center
Hollywood, California
Running time22–26 minutes
Production company(s)Barry & Enright Productions
DistributorColbert Television Sales (Syndicated)
Sony Pictures Television (current)
Broadcast
Original channelABC (1976)
Syndicated (1976–77)
Original runApril 12 – July 23, 1976 (1976-07-23)
September 18, 1976 (1976-09-18) – September 11, 1977 (1977-09-11)

Break the Bank is an American game show created by Jack Barry and Dan Enright and produced by their production company Barry & Enright Productions. It was the first game show produced by Barry and Enright as a tandem since their fall from grace following the 1950s quiz show scandals.

The show aired in the spring and summer of 1976 as an ABC daytime series hosted by Tom Kennedy, and in weekly syndication during the 1976–1977 season, hosted by creator-producer Barry.

Gameplay[edit]

Break The Bank featured nine celebrities, and pitted one male and one female contestant against one another. The contestants took turns calling out numbers on a large board with 20 numbered trilons, laid out in four rows of five. The celebrities sat in positions along the top and left edges of the board, so that every number was in one celebrity's row and another's column.

Board[edit]

When either a money box or the Wild Card was uncovered, a question was asked to the two celebrities connected to that number. Both of them gave an answer, but only one was correct. (On rare occasions, both celebrities would give a bluff answer, forcing the question to be discarded for a new one.) If a contestant chose the correct answer, he/she claimed the box (marked with the proper symbol, a mustache or a pair of lips) and kept control; if not, his/her turn ended. Originally, a space would return to a neutral position when the contestant missed a question. The rules were later changed to speed up gameplay by awarding it to the opponent unless it would lead to a win by default.

Winning[edit]

There were two ways to win a game:

On the ABC version, champions stayed either until defeated or until they surpassed the network's winnings limit of $20,000. However, champions were allowed to keep up to $25,000. In addition, the first contestant (the champion, if there was one) could win the game before the challenger had the chance to select a number. When this happened, the challenger remained on the show for the next game.

On the syndicated version, the first player to break the bank won the match and advanced to the bonus round. If no one broke the bank before time ran out, the player who had won more games was declared the winner. Both players kept their winnings from individual games.

Bonus Round[edit]

Played only on the syndicated version, the nine celebrities each were given cards: eight hid various amounts of money (in $100 increments from $200 to $1,000), and the ninth card read "BUST". The contestant selected one celebrity at a time, who then revealed the hidden card, until finding the "BUST" card (ending the round and losing all money accumulated), or accumulating a total of $2,000 or more, at which point the prize was augmented to $5,000. The contestant could stop at any time.

Broadcast history[edit]

Break the Bank had two separate runs on American television. The first was as a daily series that aired from April 12 to July 23, 1976 on ABC, airing at 2:30 p.m. Eastern/1:30 Central. Although the series was popular, the network canceled it in order to expand the soap operas One Life to Live and General Hospital, both of which followed it on the daytime schedule, from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. The show quickly returned as a weekly syndicated game from September 18, 1976 to September 11, 1977.

On the daytime show, games straddled episodes, meaning that game play would stop when time ran out and would be completed on the next episode. On the syndicated version, each episode was self-contained due to syndication practices of the era; two contestants competed for the entire episode, with multiple games per show, and the contestant who broke the bank first or won the most games became champion and played the bonus round. If time ran short in the middle of a game, the contestants alternated choosing squares without questions, and the first contestant to get three of anything won (a format that also determined the winner of the final ABC episode).

Foreign versions[edit]

The 1970s Break The Bank also had two unsuccessful versions in Greece. The Original version called Εσεіς זi λέזε; (What About You?) ran on EPT from 1987–88 hosted by Kostas Rigopoulous. then in 1989, it was revived on the Mega Channel under its new name Τηλεμπλόφες (Tilemplofes) hosted by Claus Tsivilikas.

Home Edition[edit]

Milton Bradley released a home edition of the game in 1977. The rules and materials were based on the syndicated version of the show, with the $100–$300–$500 cash cards and the Bonus Round. Basic gameplay had three players participate in three full games, each taking a turn as emcee and two as a contestant, with the player who won the most money being named overall champion.

References[edit]

External links[edit]