BANK ON THE STARS

NBC, May 15, 1954-August 21, 1954 (Bill hosted until July 10)

(A film clip is shown, for example's sake, let's say they're showing a clip from "It's a Wonderful Life") Bill: All right, what was George Bailey holding on his arm when he was speaking on the telephone? If you guessed a wreath, you're right. And that's how we play "Bank on the Stars."

Bill replaced future "Tonight Show" star Jack Paar as emcee of this movie memory quiz.

Three couples compete one at a time. Each couple is shown a clip from a movie currently running in theaters.

After watching, Bill asks three two-part questions, with one part to be answered by each member of the team. If one member answers their part correctly, the team wins $50. If both members answer correctly, they win $100. If neither answers correctly, the game is stopped and their final score is tallied. If this happens on the first question, each member is allowed to dip one hand in a barrel filled with silver dollars.
The top-scoring team for the night comes back for the Bank Night Bonus. A clip from a film is played, but the couple only gets to hear the clip, not see it. If they answer one question correctly, they win $500.

I think the attempt here was to do a comedy quiz like "You Bet Your Life," but with more emphasis on the game, because while a good amount of time is spent for the game, Bill has a LOT of time to kill for interviews. This was one of the first shows, it seems, where someone involved noticed that Bill's strength was as a people person. They were right. It's too bad Bill's run as emcee didn't last longer, but fortunately, some of what he accomplished did get preserved.

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