TAPE  DATE 1975
NETWORK Unknown, believed to be for NBC or syndication
ANNOUNCER Unknown
PRODUCED BY Fishman-Freer Productions

 

"A fortune in cash can be won today, on..."

Geoff took a crack at hosting this game that combined word puzzles with a big ol' safe.

Two celebrity/contestants team compete. In this pilot, the celebrities are Elaine Joyce and James Darren. Sitting across the stage from them is a third celebrity guest, McLean Stevenson. To start the game, each team is given a secret word, which is revealed to everybody except their opponents. For example, one team might have the word "mouth" and the other team might have the word "pipe." McLean is given a secret identity, which forms a common phrase with each of the secret words; in this case, his identity would be "organ."

The teams take turns asking McLean yes-no questions, trying to zero in on the secret identity. After every fourth question, McLean reads a clue, and the players ring in to offer a guess. Guessing the identity wins the game and $100.

Two out of three games wins the match and a chance at $25,000 in cash.

The contestant faces a safe with ten numbers and must figure out the combination.

Geoff asks five general knowledge questions, each with a numerical answer. The contestant turns the dial on the safe to answer each question and presses the red button in the center to lock in each number. Once all five numbers are locked in, the contestant pulls a lever.

For each correct answer, the contestant gets $100. Unlocking the safe wins $25,000.

THE GOOD: One of the most beautiful sets ever designed. It's a same it wasn't salvaged and another format whipped up for it when this game got shot down. It's small and cozy, but lavish and glitzy.

The bonus round is a good one. The questions were softballs, but that may have only been to get a win for the pilot. With harder material, it would have been a nail biter.

THE BAD: I first watched this pilot with a person lucky enough to be gainfully employed in television production in Los Angeles. He's even worked on some game shows. After screening this, I asked, "What would you do to repair this game?" He shook his head and muttered, "I wouldn't."

The main game is very slow and flimsy. All identities are known to the viewers, so there is ZERO play-along. The end game, again, is wonderful but totally disconnected from the show, as if the two ideas were conceived separately and then combined. It's also odd that the show uses three stars for the main game and they all just vanish for the bonus round.

It's my hope that some day, a perfect format for a giant vault-related game show will come to me in a dream, and when I wake up, a set of keys will be laying next to me, and those keys will open a storage area where this set has been sitting untouched for four decades, and we can finally put on a game show worthy of such magnificent surroundings.

Up one level to THE GAME SHOWS OF GEOFF EDWARDS

Up two levels to GEOFF EDWARDS' WORLD

Up three levels to GAME SHOW UTOPIA