Break the Bank (1985 game show)

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Break the Bank
Break the Bank '85.jpg
GenreGame show
Directed byRichard S. Kline
Presented byGene Rayburn (1985)
Joe Farago (1985–1986)
Narrated byMichael Hanks
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes~195
Production
Executive producer(s)Richard S. Kline
Producer(s)Gary Cox
Location(s)Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Running time~24 minutes
Production company(s)Kline & Friends
Storer Communications
Hubbard Broadcasting
Blair Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channelSyndicated (daily)
Original runSeptember 16, 1985 – May 23, 1986
 
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Break the Bank
Break the Bank '85.jpg
GenreGame show
Directed byRichard S. Kline
Presented byGene Rayburn (1985)
Joe Farago (1985–1986)
Narrated byMichael Hanks
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes~195
Production
Executive producer(s)Richard S. Kline
Producer(s)Gary Cox
Location(s)Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Running time~24 minutes
Production company(s)Kline & Friends
Storer Communications
Hubbard Broadcasting
Blair Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channelSyndicated (daily)
Original runSeptember 16, 1985 – May 23, 1986

Break the Bank is a game show created by Richard S. Kline. It aired in syndication from September 16, 1985 to May 23, 1986, with repeats airing until September 12. It was not related to two previous shows by the same name.

The series debuted with Gene Rayburn as host, with Joe Farago taking over in December 1985. Kandace Kuehl was the co-host for the first three shows and was then replaced afterward with 1983 Miss USA winner Julie Hayek. Voice-over artist Michael Hanks was the announcer.

Break the Bank was the first game show produced under the Kline & Friends production company, with former Barry & Enright director Richard S. Kline the executive producer and director of the series. Other former Barry & Enright staffers, including Gary Cox and D.A. Diana, also worked on this show.

In this version, two couples competed to break the bank. There were two formats to the show.

Contents

Format #1

Couples competed for seconds to use in the bonus round. Up to six questions were asked, and each question was worth a corresponding amount of seconds as shown in the table below.

QuestionsValues
Question #15 seconds
Question #210 seconds
Question #320 seconds
Question #440 seconds
Question #580 seconds
Question #6100 seconds

The couple that answered a question correctly was given a choice to guess the puzzle or to keep playing to try to add more seconds. If the couple chose to guess the puzzle and gave an incorrect guess, they were locked out of the next question. If the puzzle was not solved after the six questions were asked, one final question was asked with the answer being the solution to the puzzle. The first couple to solve two puzzles won the game.

If the game ended in a tie, one last round was played without questions. Each clue to the puzzle was revealed one at a time until one couple buzzed in to solve it. The first couple to solve that puzzle won the game plus an extra 30 seconds.

Prize Vault

The winning couple advanced to the Prize Vault. They used the time they had earned to participate in various knowledge/skill-based stunts. The Prize Vault featured eight or nine stunts, with anywhere between 45 and 50 bank cards divided among them. Each of the cards contained a numeric code, only one of which was the correct code to break the bank. Each completed stunt earned a bonus prize, as well as a choice of up to five bank cards for each stunt. One of the stunts, when chosen, enabled the couple to choose up to five additional bank cards by stopping a random number generator called the "Number Jumbler". Initially, the clock ran throughout the round, but after a few weeks the clock froze when the host explained the stunt.

Among the Prize Vault stunts/events featured were:

Play continued until the couple's allotted time ran out, and whatever bank cards they had earned were taken over to a code reader. The couple was given an opportunity to sell back those cards for a cash or prize payoff. If they chose not to take the bribe, they began feeding the bank cards into the code reader. The couple was given a chance to sell their remaining cards after every turn, and play continued until the couple took the payoff, ran out of cards, or broke the bank.

Breaking the bank retired a couple immediately as undefeated champions. If the couple failed to break the bank and won the next day, the Prize Vault round started with the bank cards that were left after the previous round. Any cards that were sold back to the bank were replaced.

Format #2

The format was adjusted shortly after Farago took over as host. In the revised version, correct answers were now worth money instead of seconds, and the game was played to $2,000. In round one, each correct answer was worth $100 as well as an additional $100 for solving the puzzle. The values were doubled for round two with each question/puzzle worth $200. If neither team reached $2,000 by the end of round two, tiebreaker puzzles were played in round three for $400 each. No questions were asked and clues to the puzzle were revealed one at a time. The team who buzzed-in and correctly solved the puzzle won $400, and play continued until one team reached or exceeded $2,000.

In each of the first two rounds, whoever solved the puzzle won a bonus prize as well. Both teams kept the money and bonus prizes they earned.

Prize Vault

The champions earned one Bank Card for winning the match and played a new Master Puzzle to earn up to ten additional cards. The couple was given up to six clues to try to identify the puzzle, and each of the clues had a corresponding value of bank cards it would cost them to reveal it. Clues were worth up to three bank cards, and were distributed by a shuffle that the couple stopped manually. They were then revealed in a clockwise fashion. The couple was given a guess at the Master Puzzle after each clue was revealed. A correct guess at any time earned the couple the amount of bank cards remaining.

After the Master Puzzle, the winners entered the prize vault. The team had 40 bank cards to choose from, 38 of which were worth cash or prizes. One of the cards was a Bankrupt card, which was in play in every trip to the Prize Vault. If chosen, the couple lost whatever prizes they had won in the round, and the round ended. The couple chose their cards one at a time and could stop with what they'd won at any time. Otherwise, play continued until they chose the Bankrupt card, ran out of cards, or picked the card that broke the bank.

For each subsequent attempt at the Prize Vault, the couple started with the amount of bank cards that were left from their previous attempt.

Winnings limit

During the first few months, couples stayed on the show until they won $75,000 or until they were defeated, with anything over $75,000 donated to a charity of the couple's choice. Later, when the main game format changed, any team who broke the bank retired undefeated.

Foreign versions

Despite its failure in America, the 1980s Break the Bank found success in France as La Porte Magique ("The Magic Door") in the late 1980s on the now-defunct network La Cinq. The series was hosted by Michel Robbe, and used a set similar to that of the American series with the original bonus round format for at least part of the run. The number of seconds earned per correct answer also used the 5-10-20-40-80-100 layout.

Episode status

All episodes are known to exist.

CBN Cable (now ABC Family) reran episodes of this version from September 1 to December 26, 1986. Only episodes from Joe Farago's tenure were rerun; none of Gene Rayburn's episodes have been broadcast since their initial airing.

See also

References

External links