High Rollers

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High Rollers
High Rollers '87.jpg
GenreGame Show
Presented byAlex Trebek (1974–1980)
Wink Martindale (1987–1988)
Narrated byKenny Williams (1974–1980)
Dean Goss (1987–1988)
Theme music composerStan Worth (1974–1980)
Score Productions (1987–1988)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes559 (1978–1980 version)
185 (1987–1988 version)
Production
Executive producer(s)Merrill Heatter
Bob Quigley
Location(s)NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1974–1980)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1987–1988)
Running timeapprox. 26 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelNBC (1974–1980)
Syndicated (weekly, 1975–1976; daily, 1987–1988)
Original runJuly 1, 1974 – June 11, 1976
April 24, 1978 – June 20, 1980
September 14, 1987 – September 9, 1988
 
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High Rollers
High Rollers '87.jpg
GenreGame Show
Presented byAlex Trebek (1974–1980)
Wink Martindale (1987–1988)
Narrated byKenny Williams (1974–1980)
Dean Goss (1987–1988)
Theme music composerStan Worth (1974–1980)
Score Productions (1987–1988)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes559 (1978–1980 version)
185 (1987–1988 version)
Production
Executive producer(s)Merrill Heatter
Bob Quigley
Location(s)NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1974–1980)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1987–1988)
Running timeapprox. 26 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelNBC (1974–1980)
Syndicated (weekly, 1975–1976; daily, 1987–1988)
Original runJuly 1, 1974 – June 11, 1976
April 24, 1978 – June 20, 1980
September 14, 1987 – September 9, 1988

High Rollers is an American television game show based on the dice game Shut the Box. The show aired on NBC from July 1, 1974 to June 11, 1976 and again from April 24, 1978 to June 20, 1980. Two different syndicated versions were also produced, a weekly series in the 1975–1976 season which ran concurrently with the daytime version, and a daily series in 1987–1988. Heatter-Quigley Productions packaged all versions of the series except the 1987 revival, a co-production of Merrill Heatter Productions and Century Towers Productions.

Contents

Personnel

The first three versions were hosted by Alex Trebek and announced by Kenny Williams, while Wink Martindale hosted and Dean Goss announced the 1987–1988 version. The Trebek versions were taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, while the Martindale version was taped in Studio 43 at CBS Television City.[1][2]

On the 1974-1976 versions, actress Ruta Lee served as the model and dice roller on the daytime edition while Elaine Stewart filled that role on the nighttime edition. Becky Price, Linda Hooks and Lauren Firestone rotated as models during the second NBC version, while Martindale was assisted on his version by models Crystal Owens and KC Winkler.

Music

Stan Worth composed the theme for the 1974–1976 and 1978–1980 versions. In 1985, Score Productions composed the theme entitled "Bubble Gum" for the 1987–1988 version.

Gameplay

Two contestants in an episode from 1980.

Two contestants competed. The object was to remove the numbers 1 through 9 from a game board by rolling an oversized pair of dice. High Rollers was modeled on a traditional board game called Shut the Box.

In order to determine who gained control of the dice, the host asked a toss-up question. The answers were usually multiple choice, true/false, or "Yes" or "No". A contestant who buzzed in with the correct answer, or whose opponent answered incorrectly, earned the chance to either roll the dice, or pass and force the opponent to roll. The controlling contestant usually chose to roll only early in a game. All numbers were good on the first roll of the game. Passing to the opponent became more common as the game progressed, with fewer good rolls left on the board. A contestant who made a bad roll (one which could not be made with the remaining numbers) lost the game. However, if the odds of making a bad roll were low, such as if the only bad roll were 3 or 11, the contestant who won control of the dice often chose to take the gamble and roll.

Contestants removed numbers from the board based on the value of the roll of the dice, either all by itself or in combinations. For example, if a 10 was rolled, the contestant could remove any available combination that added up to that number: 1-9, 2-8, 3-7, 4-6, 1-2-7, 1-3-6, 1-4-5, 2-3-5, or 1-2-3-4.

Beginning with the 1978 version, contestants who rolled doubles earned an "Insurance Marker," which could be turned in for a free roll if they hit a bad number. However, if the doubles roll itself was a bad roll, the contestant received no marker but rolled again.

Play continued until a contestant either took the last remaining digit(s) off the board and won, or (more commonly) made a bad roll and lost. If the only remaining digit on the board was the number 1, a final toss-up question was asked and the contestant who answered the question correctly won the round (since it is impossible to make a roll totaling 1 with two dice). The winner of the game kept whatever prizes were in his or her bank, or a "house minimum" of $100. Two out of three games won the match on most versions.

In addition to the basic gameplay which remained constant, each version had unique rules:

1974–1976

High Rollers onstage logo from the 1970s series.

The original series featured a prize hidden under every digit on the game board, which was revealed when that digit was eliminated and added to the bank of the contestant who removed it.[3] Two digits each contained one half of a large prize, usually a new car or boat. To bank the car, both "1/2 Car" cards had to be uncovered by the same contestant.[3] If the contestants each revealed one of the two cards, the car was taken out of play.[3]

During the final seven weeks of the first daytime version (April 26 – June 11, 1976), the main game was known as "Face Lifters"; the digits were arranged in a 3x3 grid and concealed a picture of a famous person. The contestant won the game for correctly identifying the person in the picture. A contestant could take a guess after making a good roll. If a contestant made a bad roll, the opponent was allowed one guess for each remaining number in the picture; a successful guess won the game plus the prizes belonging to the numbers still on the board. If neither contestant guessed who it was, Trebek gave clues until one contestant buzzed in with the answer.

During the 1974–1976 version of the show, the hostess and not the contestants rolled the dice. The contestants sat along the long side of the dice table opposite from Trebek.

A syndicated version with almost identical rules ran weekly in 1975–1976. Each episode featured the same two contestants competing for the entire show. After the first few episodes the rules were changed so that, rather than requiring contestants to win a two-out-of-three match, the winner of each game played the Big Numbers for $10,000, and the losing contestant returned for another game. The contestants played as many games as possible until time was called. If this happened during a game, the one who had knocked out more numbers won the final game and any prizes accumulated. Under the two-out-of-three game format used in the first few episodes, the contestant also had another chance at the Big Numbers. Like other weekly nighttime game shows at that time, this version had no returning champions.

1978–1980

When the series was revived in 1978 (and originally known as The New High Rollers), the digits (in various colors and fonts) were randomly arranged in three columns of three digits apiece, with each column containing up to five prizes. Also beginning in 1978, the contestants themselves rolled the dice.

The prizes on this version ranged from the usual game show gifts (e.g., furniture, appliances, trips) to offbeat, unusual prizes, such as:

One (or sometimes two) of the columns were called "Hot Columns", meaning that all three digits could be taken off by a single roll of the dice at the beginning of the game, thus claiming the prize(s) in that column. During the 1978–1980 series, each column started with one prize, with another prize added in each game until the package was won, or until the maximum of five prizes per column had been reached. The contestant banked these prizes by eliminating the last digit from each column, and won the prizes by winning the game.

1987–1988

In 1987–1988, each game featured a single prize or prize package in each column, which did not carry over to subsequent rounds if the prizes went unclaimed. In some games, one of the columns contained the right to play one of several mini-games, including the following:

The Big Numbers (all versions)

In the bonus game, called the "Big Numbers", the champion rolled the dice and attempted to knock off the numbers 1–9 from the board, with a large prize for clearing the board. A bigger gameboard (giving rise to the name) was used, except on the 1978–1980 series, which used the same board as the main game. Insurance markers were awarded for doubles, giving the contestant the opportunity to roll again after a bad roll; this was the only time insurance markers were used during the 1974–1976 version, not in the main game.

Contestants were awarded $100 for each number removed from the board. In the earliest episodes, contestants could stop and take this money after a good roll. A bad roll with no insurance markers, or eliminating all numbers except for the 1, ended the game and lost the bonus money accumulated. The contestant won a car for removing eight numbers, and $10,000 for all nine. The rules soon changed so that the car bonus was removed, but a contestant who continued to roll did not risk the accumulated money.

The 1978–1980 version offered a prize of $5,000 for winning the Big Numbers. For a certain period the contestant also received a car in addition to $5,000 for winning the Big Numbers. The Martindale version offered a prize of $10,000, and used a pair of "golden dice" for this segment of the game.

The Big Numbers bonus round was also used on Las Vegas Gambit in 1981, also produced by Heatter-Quigley and coincidentally hosted by Martindale.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Shows–CBS Television City". http://www.cbstelevisioncity.com/shows#. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  2. ^ David Schwartz, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock, The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows, 3rd ed., Checkmark Books, 1999, p. 92.
  3. ^ a b c "High Rollers". 1975-06-11. NBC. 

External links

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7/1/74 – 11/28/75
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