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Old 04-11-2004, 07:25 PM   #1
AaronHandy3
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Post This Week's Game Show TV Milestone

APRIL 12, 1976

Break The Bank
, a Jack Barry-Dan Enright-produced game show featuring 9 celebrities hosted by Tom Kennedy and announced by Johnny Jacobs (and had a format which combined the elements of The Hollywood Squares and Match Game 76!), premiered @ 2:30 p.m. Eastern/1:30 p.m. Central on the ABC afternoon daytime schedule. It was Barry-Enrightís next big network daytime hit following the 1972-75 CBS game The Jokerís Wild, and was the second of three separate game shows to air on TV bearing the same title: the first being a 1948-56 game shown on all 3 networks emceed by Bud Collyer and Bert Parks, and the third a 1985-86 syndicated venture distributed by Kline and Friends Inc., hosted by Gene Rayburn and Don Fargo.

These nine celebrities were guests during the gameís debut week: Abe Vigoda, Alice Ghostley, Jo Ann Plufg, Dick Gautier, Jan Murray, Lynda Carter, Liz Torres, Robert Hegyes, and Marjoe Gortner. Although there were no regular panelists, Jan Murray and Liz Torres were the most frequent celebrities on the show.

The game board had various denominations of money in groups of three, with money bags scattered in different places. Three $100 boxes touched each other along one of the sides, three $200 boxes each touched each other, and three $300 boxes also touched each other. 5 money bags were scattered all over, with a wild box, which can be located anywhere and when uncovered be used for any value. The remaining boxes had no value, as they are blank, but donít touch each other along any of the sides. A contestant could win if he/she got three of the same boxes; getting three money bags would enable the contestant to (natch!) break the bank, which is worth $5,000. For every question used, a true answer is given by one celebrity and a false one by another (borrowing a bit from The Hollywood Squares). A home game was manufactured by Milton Bradley in 1976.

Break The Bank was surprisingly very popular with viewers, cleanly and firmly becoming the second highest-rated network daytime game show, sandwiched between CBSís Match Game '76 and The $20,000 Pyramid, another ratings monster on ABC. Apparently, it debuted at a rather terrible time, a time when networks extended soap operas one hour. ABC in particular needed extra time to accommodate the expanding time given to One Life To Live and General Hospital from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, with an extra half-hour still needed. Break The Bank had about as much chance of survival as an ice cube in an oven. Despite its magnificent following and boisterous ratings, it criminally lasted no further than 15 weeks; it aired on ABC for the 75th and last time on July 23, 1976, a rare (and undeserving) calamity for an otherwise outstanding game show. Its final slew of celebrity guests were Soupy Sales, Elke Sommer, Donny Most, Lonnie Shorr, Jan Murray, Joyce Bulifant, Jaye P. Morgan, Bill Cullen, and Jo Anne Worley.

Distressed but undaunted, Barry-Enright tried again, and Break The Bank was syndicated that very fall as a once-a-week show, debuting September 18, 1976, hosted by co-creator Jack Barry (his next hosting gig following TJW). Though not as successful as its ABC Daytime predecessor, it did manage to last a bit longer; airing this time for one full season. After this, Jack Barry went on to emcee a more successful syndicated revival: that of his previous hit The Jokerís Wild. (Trivia Footnote: Hal Hidey's theme music for Break The Bank, performed by Stu Levin, would also be used on The Jokerís Wild Million-Dollar Charity Tournament which aired in November of 1980!)

(Source of info: History Of Break The Bank)
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Old 04-12-2004, 08:29 PM   #2
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You have the wrong name of the host that replaced Gene Rayburn on the 80s version of Break the Bank. The name of his replacement was Joe Farago. He later went on to a career in infomercials.

As for the 70s Barry-Enright version of Break the Bank, it was a really funny show but with ABC expanding their soaps, they didn't give the show a chance. What the network should have done is move it to an earlier slot. Also, the photo on the weblink was a rare shot of Jack Barry wearing dark glasses. He never wore them when he hosted The Joker's Wild.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:21 AM   #3
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I've always wondered about that. But in the end, it was the correct decision, although it took a while.

In a what-if scenario, if ABC doesn't need extra time to accommodate the expanding time given to One Life To Live and General Hospital from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, what happens, does ABC move either soap to before Break The Bank, with the other soap airing after BTB, or does ABC move BTB to 12:30, before the soaps?
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howilu View Post
You have the wrong name of the host that replaced Gene Rayburn on the 80s version of Break the Bank. The name of his replacement was Joe Farago. He later went on to a career in infomercials.

As for the 70s Barry-Enright version of Break the Bank, it was a really funny show but with ABC expanding their soaps, they didn't give the show a chance. What the network should have done is move it to an earlier slot. Also, the photo on the weblink was a rare shot of Jack Barry wearing dark glasses. He never wore them when he hosted The Joker's Wild.
Maybe moving it to 12:30 before All My Children. That might have worked.
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