Today on America's BIGGEST bargain sale, we're offering a Datsun 300ZX Valued at $26,194 for only $530! Cash and Prizes worth over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars for only $750! TWO of the incredible bargains on...$ALE OF THE CENTURY!Game Show that originally ran on NBC from 1969 to 1973 and in syndication from 1973 to 1974. Jack Kelly was the first quizmaster, succeeded by Joe Garagiola in 1971. Three solo contestants (or, from April 1973 to September 1974, two husband-wife teams) accumulated small amounts of money by answering general-knowledge questions. At certain points in the game, the player/couple in the lead could spend part of their score on ridiculously discounted prizes.During the show's run in the United Kingdom (1971-83), Sale was purchased by Australian producer Reg Grundy, who made some tweaks to the format and debuted a version in his native country on July 14, 1980. note (Grundy had already produced a similar show called Temptation in Australia from 1970 to 1976. Its host, Tony Barber, returned to helm Grundy's Sale until 1991.) After this became a major success as well, he took it back to NBC with Jim Perry as host and it too became a major success. The same format also appeared in other countries. Unlike most games, Sale allowed all contestants to take home whatever money and prizes were credited to them, regardless of the outcome. This era ran for 1,578 NBC Daytime episodes from January 3, 1983 to March 24, 1989, as well as roughly 315 First-Run-Syndication episodes from January 1985 to June 1986.The Australian version of the show was later revived as Temptation, which was fairly faithful to the original and ran from 2005 to 2009. This Australian version in turn spun off an American version, Temptation: The New Sale of the Century; the American version was a low-budget knockoff that was canceled after its low-rated disaster of a first season.
All Or Nothing: Semi-subverted. In the Shopping era and the Winners Board eranote (the $50,000 Game only in the U.S. version, and the entire run in the Australian version), if a returning champion lost his/her game, then all of the major prizes were lost, but he/she did keep any Instant Bargain/Gift Shop purchases, Fame Game prizes, and cash (from the host's offers, Sale Surprises, Fame Game, and/or Instant Cash/Cashbox/Cash Card) accumulated during their run.
Auction: Done when there was a tie for first place on an "Instant Bargain." The tied players would be in a Dutch Auction with whomever buzzed in winning the prize
Big Win Sirens: The stock "NBC sirens" were heard if a major prize or the lot was won at the end of the show. A "win music" cue was also played for significant wins, and would be reprised during the closing fees and credits of that show.
Bonus Round: The 1980s version had three, all allowing for potential winnings of over $100,000:
The first was almost identical to the original. The champion could use his or her money to possibly buy one of the progressively fancier prizes available, try for a larger prize by coming back the next day, or reach a specific score target to win the entire set of prizes plus a cash jackpot.
This was replaced in late 1984 by the Winner's Board, a simple matching game with 20 spaces. Most of the spaces contained matchable prizes, but two of the spaces held "WIN" cards which allowed the instant win of a prize revealed in the next pick. (Two of the prizes, a car and $10,000 cash, could only be won this way.) Once a champion cleared the board, he could risk his bonus round winnings by winning the main game one more time for $50,000.
The Aussie Winner's Board (which replaced Shopping in 1989) had only six major prizes (seven from 1993-2001), and a 12-space board. The only way to win the Car was by uncovering the "WIN" card first. Unlike the American version, the major prizes were always at risk, so champions were given a choice whether or not to continue after matching a prize. Also, the Progressive Jackpot carried over from the Shopping bonus round, often resulting in large Cash Jackpots.
In late 1987, this was changed to the Winner's Big Money Game, a speed round with a series of word puzzles played for a jackpot increasing every time it was played by a championnote ($5,000 plus $1,000 per show up to $10,000, then a new car (if a champ lost this particular WBMG, they had to retire), then $50,000).
Bonus Space: Instant Bargain and Instant Cash could count for this, but mainly the Fame Game (some spaces added to a contestant's score, while the others contained prizes or a sizable cash award).
Celebrity Edition: The Aussie version had a few weeks set aside for celebrities playing the game for home viewers or for charity, depending on the format for the week.
A Day in the Limelight: During the Temptation era, Ed Philips and Livinia Nixon once played the game as part of a special "Battle of the Network Shows" week. Filling in for them as host and hostess? Tony Barber and Alyce Platt.
Confetti Drop: Confetti and balloons were released at the end of the show any time a contestant hit the lot or decided to leave the show with a sizable prize during the "shopping" era; used also for notably big wins at the Winner's Board or Winner's Big Money Game, and at the end of the series finale.
Consolation Prize: Contestants were given their final score in cash on most versions, along with anything won from Fame Games, Instant Bargains, etc.
During the "Winner's Board" era of the Perry version, any contestant who played for $50,000 and lost forfeited the car and other Winner's Board prizes won; however, they were able to keep anything won in the front game (accumulated cash score, Fame Game and Instant Bargains, Instant Cash winnings and any other cash bonuses). No contestant who ever went for the top prize lost, although one contestant (future game show host Mark DeCarlo) won his $50,000 and preserved his endgame winnings only after an opponent answered the tie-breaker question incorrectly.
The Australian version famously gave all contestants the show's pin and board game:
Pete Smith: [The runners-up] both receive the push-button $ale of the Century game from Crown and Andrews plus our champagne-colored diamond-set stickpin from Bruce and Walsh Jewelers and $ale of the Century. *
(Home Viewers that appeared in the center box on the Fame Game board from 1988 to 2001 also received the pin and board game.)
Extra Turn: In the second 1980s version of the Fame Game, two of the cards were "$400/Mystery Money or pick again", changed to "or try again" when contestants chose a number with their buzzers. The syndicated version had "Trip or pick again". If a contestant was trailing in score and needed a "Money Card" to catch up, he'd take that extra turn.
The Aussie version added the "Wild Card" to the final Fame Game in 1986, with the option of taking either $1,000 in cash ($2,000 in Temptation) or picking another celebrity.
Game Show Winnings Cap: Averted by the 1980s version, as it had the possibility to give out jackpots in excess of $100,000.
Golden Snitch: Early in the '80s run, the last Fame Game of the day was followed by only three more questions. This gave the last Fame Game the potential to put the game out of reach unless someone who trailed by less than $10 got the Fame Game question right and found the $25 money card.
Also, in the early days (early years in Australia) of the Fame Game, there was only ONE Money Card worth $25, and if it was uncovered in the first or second round, it basically made subsequent Fame Games worthless, as there were only small prizes left available.
The Announcer: Bill Wendell announced the 1969-74 version. Jay Stewart announced from 1983 until he was fired from the show in 1988 due to his heavy drinking. He was replaced by Don Morrow for the remainder of that run. In Australia, the announcer was primarily Pete Smith, who joined the show at the start of its third week, and remained on for the rest of the run.
Game Show Host: Jack Kelly from 1969 to 1971, followed by Joe Garagiola. Jim Perry of Card Sharks fame hosted in the 1980s. On the Australian version, the hosts were Tony Barber (1980-1991), Glenn Ridge (1991-2001), and Ed Phillips (Temptation 2005-2009).
Lovely Assistant: Barbara Lyon from 1969 to 1971, then Kit Dougherty. Perry's era had three — Sally Julian, Lee Menning, and Summer Bartholomew; Lou Mulford and announcer Jay Stewart filled-in on occasion. In Australia, the assistants were Victoria Nichols (1980-1982), Delvene Delaney (1982-1985), and Alyce Platt (1986-1991) for Tony Barber, Jo Bailey (1991-1993), Nicky Buckley (1994-1999), and Karina Brown (2000-2001) for Glenn Ridge, and Livinia Nixon (Temptation 2005-2009) for Ed Phillips.
Subverted, in that half the models showcasing the Instant Bargains were male.
The Australian Temptation was also true to its predecessor, with Livinia Nixon as the Vanna, but about half the Gift Shop prizes were modeled by Scott McGregor.
Mystery Box: The "Mystery Money" option on the Fame Game board.
From 1983 to October 1984 on the NBC version, and again during the first 10 months of the syndicated version, the top prize in the Shopping portion of the show was an accruing jackpot, which began at $50,000 and increased by $1,000 per show until claimed. The jackpot (which could be won separately or together with the other big-ticket prizes) often topped $75,000, and the top jackpot amount was $109,000.
From 1982 until the end of its run, the Aussie version's cash jackpot started at $50,000 and increased by $2,000 per show until claimed. The jackpot (which was a part of the Lot) often topped the six-figure mark, with the highest being $508,000.
Starting in March 1986 on the NBC version and continuing to the end of the run, the third Instant Bargain was replaced with Instant Cash, which allowed the contestant in the lead a 1-in-3 shot at a mini-cash jackpot of $1,000 plus $1,000 for each show it was not won; the catch was that the contestant had to spend the entire amount of his lead to guess which box held the cash. If the contestant played and guessed wrongly (the two other boxes/wallets had $100 as a consolation), he was shown the correct box. (The game was seldom played because contestants having any lead of more than a few dollars was more interested in winning the game; Instant Cash topped $20,000 at least twice.)
The Australian version's "Instant Cash" was initially known as the "Cash Box", which was the same as the American version, only the jackpot started at $2,000 and increased by $1,000 each day until won. This was replaced with "Cash Card" in 1989 *
(Four actual playing cards, all Aces, each representing one element—a bonus prize, a worthless prize, $15 onto the score, and the "Cash Card" jackpot.)
, which had the jackpot start at $5,000 and increased by $1,000 each day until won. Unlike "Cash Box", the "Cash Card" cost a flat $15, and for the first few years, the second place player was given a chance to play by selecting one of the three remaining cards if the leader initially refused (with the Jackpot taken out of play). The accumulating Jackpot and the second place option were discontinued in 1993, with the "Cash Card" now worth a flat $5,000 (raised to $10,000 on occasion).
Speed Round: Whoever was in the lead after 60 seconds at $5 per question won the game. (This was instituted in 1984, replacing an often anti-climatic final series of three questions at $5 per correct answer.)
During the 1980s NBC/syndicated run, several prominent contestants were known to refuse even the most desirable Instant Bargains, particularly when a large end-game prize was at stake. One of the most well-known examples was Alice Conkwright, who during her seven-day championship run, refused every instant bargain; during the third Instant Bargain on her final show (where she was playing for a $136,275 lot), host Jim Perry unsuccessfully swayed her to buy by offering her a $2,000 bonus, usual SOP for this circumstance.
Later in the Perry run, the show offered Instant Cash, whereby a contestant could purchase a 1-in-3 shot at an escalating mini-cash jackpot by giving up his entire lead over the second-place contestant. Unless the lead was very small (or in some cases, when two contestants were tied for the lead, in which case Perry would conduct a Dutch auction), the contestants invariably would decline to take the gamble.
Everything on the UK version, mainly because the broadcasting rules of the time placed a strict limit on prize value. The Benny Hill Shownote (on which UK Sale host Nicholas Parsons was the sometime resident straight man) parodied this at least twice, one of which felt eerily like the American Temptation.
In Australia, the "Cash Card" game from 1989 to 1992 featured a "Joker" as one of the hidden items, which was a booby prize.
Provides Examples Of:
Cut Short: The last NBC episode in 1973 had the day's winning couple electing to come back the following Monday; during the credits, announcer Bill Wendell stated that this was in fact the last episode and the producers gave the couple the prize they were working for (a trip to Acapulco, according to one recollection) anyway.
Double Unlock: On the Aussie version from 1993 to 2001, the rules involving winning the car were changed. In order to win the car, a player had to do the following...
Win the game with $100 or...
Play Cash Card and pick the suit which had the "CAR" symbol and THEN win the game. (this rule was added in 1994)
Then, after winning the game, they had to find the "WIN" card on the Winner's Board, then find the CAR.note (If the board was cleared, and the car had not been won at that point, that was the major prize offered on the next show, followed by the jackpot.)
Lucky Charms Title: Everywhere except the United Kingdom, the title was spelled with a dollar sign, making it "$ale of the Century"
No Budget: Some critics of the latter 1980s formats also claimed the conversion to the Winner's Board, and later Big Money Winner's Game formats, that the switch was done as a cost-cutting move. Indeed, many of the cars went from full-size Cadillacs, Mercedes-Benz sedans and top-end sports cars to less-expensive cars. Although never reaching subcompact or econocar range, mainstream cars such as the Ford Taurus, entry-level luxury cars such as the Mercedes-Benz 190 or BMW 528i, or compact convertibles including the Chevrolet Cavalier were more common. The big-ticket items, such as $13,000 European tours and $21,000 cabin cruisers, were gone, however, replaced with more common game-show fare in the $1,500-$5,000 range.
The announcer introduced the returning champion and his winnings, a constant throughout the run. During the Shopping Era, the announcer always advised the audience to stay tuned, as the contestant was playing for a big-ticket item (e.g., "Stay tuned as (name) plays for a cash jackpot worth $83,000!").
During the Shopping Era, the announcer would say, "Today/Tonight, on America's biggest bargain sale, we're offering (name of luxury car and retail value) for (amount), a cash jackpot of (amount) for (amount). Two of the incredible bargains on 'Sale of the Century'!"note (On the syndicated version's shopping format episodes, the announcers' opening narration was a combination of that, and the daytime editions' episodes with the winner's board. When the daytime edition had the shopping format with the cash jackpot, only its current amount was mentioned.)
During the Winners Board and Winners Big Money Game eras, the second part was changed to having the announcer name (usually) four prizes available, followed by the car (and its value) and the $50,000 cash jackpot. "In total, over $100,000 on ... Sale of the Century!"