Blockbusters

NBC (ended 1987)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 4 : Ep 25

    Show 25

    Aired 2/6/87

  • S 4 : Ep 24

    Show 24

    Aired 2/5/87

  • S 4 : Ep 23

    Show 23

    Aired 2/4/87

  • S 4 : Ep 22

    Show 22

    Aired 2/3/87

  • S 4 : Ep 21

    Show 21

    Aired 2/2/87

  • Cast & Crew
  • Bill Cullen

    Host (1980-1982)

  • Bob Hilton

    Announcer (1980-1982)

  • Bill Rafferty

    Host (1987)

  • Rich Jeffries

    Announcer (1982/1987)

  • solo player/ Jere

    solo player

  • show Description
  • Are two heads really better than one? That's what the early 1980s version of Blockbusters attempted to determine. That's because a solo player was pitted against a family pair (siblings, parent/child, uncle/aunt and nephew/niece, grandparent/grandchild ... anything except husband and wife or other form of couple), with one set of contestants the returning champion(s). The object was to connect both sides of the 5-by-4 board of hexagons through correct answers. The solo player (red) had to connect vertically (at least four blocks), while the family pair (white) went side-to-side (needing to connect at least five blocks). Each hexagon had a letter, which was the first letter in the answer to a question host Cullen read. For example, if a player chose "B," the question might be – "What 'B' is a male amphibian or Jerimiah in the Three Dog Night song 'Joy to the World'?" Answer – Bullfrog). Anyone could buzz in and answer, with a correct answer gave the player/team the box and a wrong answer allowing the opponent(s) to answer. If nobody answered correctly, another question whose answer began with that same letter is asked. Players always tried to block the opponent's progress at all times (requiring them to work their way around and answer more than the minimum number of questions needed to win); often, players chose a box that could help them but not do their opponent's a bit of good. Each game in the best-of-three match was worth $500, with two games winning the match and a trip to the Gold Run bonus round. In the Gold Run, the player (or one member of the family team) had 60 seconds to connect the left to right sides of the board by answering Blockbusters-style questions. Each block represented a single letter or (much more often) an acronym (e.g., "YP" could lead to the question, "Telephone directory containing business listings and advertisements." Answer: Yellow Pages). Passing on a question or giving an incorrect answer caused that box to turn black, and the player had to work their way around it. The player/team won $5,000 for making a connection, but if they were unsuccessful, they earned $100 for every question they had right; and yes, Cullen was kind enough to provide the answers to those questions that were missed. (Note: If the player gets blocked out, he/she he/she could still continue and try to build up the consolation prize of $100 for every correct answer. Also, early in the 1980-1982 run, a player/team played the Gold Run after every game won for $2,500 the first time and $5,000 the second time.) Teams competed until defeated or winning 10 games; thus $60,000 was possible (achieved by several players/teams). On August 31, 1981, the 10-game limit was upped to 20 and successful contestants were invited back to compete for more cash; more than once, the $120,000 maximum was achieved. Oh, did two heads really prove better than one? On the last show, Cullen let us know – not really, since about half of the champions were solo players and the other half were the family pair. But it was an interesting concept and a fun game to watch. Nearly five years after the original Blockbusters left NBC, a new version appeared. While the major rules were similar, two solo players competed in the best-of-three affair (now hosted by Bill Rafferty). The champion (white) had to connect side-to-side and the challenger (red) went top-to-bottom in game 1, with both players switching in game 2. If a tie-breaker game was needed, the board was reduced to a 4-by-4 grid, with neither player having an advantage (white still went from side-to-side, red still went top-to-bottom). Games were worth $100 each instead of $500, and champions played the Gold Run as before (except that later in the run if the bonus game isn't won, the $5,000 bonus is increased by that much for every playing until claimed, but is reset to $5,000 if a new champion is crowned). Blockbusters is currently airing on weekday mornings at 9am on GSN.moreless

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (2)

    • (After reading a question about only virgins being able to catch unicorns) Bill Cullen: I didn't know there were many of those around these days...unicorns I mean.

    • (During the Gold Run board) Marge: Uh, GT. Bill: Head of NBC. Marge: Uh, Goodson-Todman? (everyone laughs) Bill: Take another. Marge: I better not.

    Notes (32)

    • Family pair team member Tom also appeared on episode 90 of Match Game PM, which, interestingly, featured Bill Cullen as one of the celebrity panelists.

    • New Solo Player LaRae later appeared on The New $25,000 Pyramid in 1982 and Russian Roulette in 2002.

    • Sports Type display is now used for displaying total winnings.

    • When players win Super Gold Rush, a lighted $5,000 is now displayed.

    • Beginning with this episode, the format is changed slightly. Instead of going to Gold Rush for a chance at $2,500 for winning a game, each side gets $500 per win, and goes to Gold Rush when they win $1,000 (2 games of a best of 3 match), for a chance at $5,000. Also, a player retires after 10 games, for a maximum of $60,000 (10 matches at $1,000 each, and 10 wins at Gold Rush for $5,000 each)

    • New family pair member Faith later appeared on Bill Rafferty's Card Sharks in 1987.

    • John mentions that before the taping of the previous show, his house burned down from a fire in San Bernardino.

    • Leland previously appeared on Password Plus in 1979.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (47)

    • When Nancy gets her first correct answer, the red hexagon isn't lined up correctly in the grid on the blockbuster board.

    • One of the times the Gold Rush is mentioned, Bill accidently calls it "Pot of Gold" before correcting himself.

    • Blockbusters is the answer to a "B" question in game 1 of the new match.

    • During the tie-breaker game between LaRae and James/Ruby, Bill messes up and lets LaRae answer an "O" question when Ruby buzzed in. They redo the question with another "O" question.

    • In the first Gold Rush, Bill couldn't find the "EM" question, and they stopped the clock until he found it, then started it up after Penny answered the question. They also gave her another $100.

    • During Gold Rush, several of the tiles change from a letter to a polka dot, which causes Jack to answer an extra question to avoid them to complete the chain. One tile also does it again during the first game between John and Jan/Jack.

    • During the second game, Bill accidentally blurts out the answer, "Taft", when John buzzes in to answer it. The question is tossed out and another "T" question was used.

    • When they came back from a commercial break in game 1, one of the white tiles had been switched to a green "L". Richard noticed this and brought it up to Bill, and it was promptly fixed.

    Show More Trivia
  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • Two heads, or one head!

    By JPPT1974, Jan 02, 2009

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