January 3-September 30, 1977


NBC Daytime


Bob Clayton


Bob Stewart


Geoff "Aimed for the Gas Masses" on this game of puns and double-meanings from Bob Stewart.


Two celebrity-contestant teams competed. Each team starts with $100 and alternates choosing one of 24 boxes on the gameboard. When a box is chosen, the team is shown the dollar value (between $100-$300, plus one box worth $500, or a special box such as "Double Your Score" or "Instant Car") and sees a nonsense phrase like "Ordinary/007."

The contestant translates the part of the phrase before the line, the celebrity translates the part after the line, with the hope of discerning a common phrase (in this example, "Common/Bond."). A correct guess wins the value of the box, and there is no penalty for a wrong guess.

Four of the boxes contain stars instead of dollar amounts. If a team finds one of the stars, they must place a wager for the value of the phrase, and unlike the others, there is a penalty for a wrong guess with a star, that being the wager placed by the contestant. The first team to win at least $1,500 wins and plays the bonus game. Winning five consecutive games also netted a brand new car.

Because of the wide variety of money amounts available on the board, it was possible for a team to lose the game without giving a wrong answer. Such a situation was called "a perfect game," and the losing contestant would stay to play the next game. (In Geoff's words, "you'll stay here until you get it wrong.")


To start the bonus game, the player stops a series of flipping boards to determine the number of correct answers, from 5 to 9, needed to win the jackpot.

The clue-giver is then shown a series of two-word phrases, such as "rabbit ears" or "cold cash." The clue-giver then had to describe each phrase, but only describe one word at a time. (For example, with "rabbit ears," it wouldn't be acceptable to give a clue like "the things on top of your TV."  The clue-giver had to describe "rabbit" first, then "ears.") The receiver then must guess the well-known phrase. The team can pass if they get stuck, but if they get the required number of correct answers in 60 seconds, the contestant wins a cash jackpot which starts at $1,000 and increases by $500 until won.


A few footnotes: at least two pilots were shot under the title "Shoot the Works," referring to the fact that a contestant could do just that upon finding a star. I'm guessing somebody noticed it was a terrible title because it held way too much influence over what contestants might want to wager. It would be like doing "Let's Make a Deal" under the title "Always Go For What's in the Box."

In the pilot episodes, there were no special boxes in the front game; just cash.

The bonus round was slightly different. The clue giver would see a common phrase, like "a bird in the hand," and had to improvise a synonymous phrase on the spot (such as "an avian creature in the palm") to prompt their partner to say it. The random selector went as high as ten in the pilot.


A few notes on the series: This was the last NBC game show to tape in New York City. The theme music was used on "Jackpot!" when the show resurfaced in 1985 on USA Network with Mike Darrow, not Geoff, who was the original host, but became the host once again when "Jackpot!" went into syndication in 1989. And "Shoot for the Stars" was very briefly revived in 1986 as "Double Talk."


But other than that, this was a good show, if somewhat repetitive in nature. Geoff interacts smoothly and comfortably with the celebrities, while moving the game at a brisk pace. With this he proves he can do just-plain-game shows, comedy game shows, and celebrity game shows. Not easy for very many emcees, but not very many emcees are Geoff Edwards.


GEOFF REMEMBERS: I TURNED DOWN WHAT JOB? I had a call to come in and do an audition for "Family Feud." They offered me the pilot at that time. But I already had a deal pending with Bob Stewart (to do the pilot that became "Shoot for the Stars"). And I said "no" to them. What I got nervous about was that Regis Philbin had just done a show called "The Neighbors" that was not very good. I never saw it, but when somebody described it to me, it sounded like what they wanted to do with "Family Feud." So I said no.

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