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Series / Concentration

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Behind these numbers is a rebus puzzle! Can you solve it?

NBC's longest-running daytime Game Show was created in the late 1950s by Jack Barry, Dan Enright, Robert Noah and Buddy Piper, just before the quiz scandals broke. The Concentration format was simple: Two contestants took turns matching prizes on a board of 30 numbered panels, hoping to solve the underlying rebus puzzle. It ran almost 15 years, from August 25, 1958, to March 23, 1973.

Jack Barry was the original producer of Concentration, as well as 21 and Tic-Tac-Dough. Shortly into the run, NBC took over production of Concentration and canned Twenty-One. Hugh Downs, most notable to news fans as a Today Show anchor and to late night fans as Jack Paar's sidekick/announcer on The Tonight Show, hosted from 1958 to 1969. Barry himself helmed a four-episode nighttime version, which replaced the aforementioned Twenty-One. A second nighttime edition, this time in color, aired for six months in 1961.

Concentration was the last NBC show to go from monochrome to color, doing so in November 1966. Producer Norm Blumenthal agreed to the transition only on the condition that his puzzles remain in two-tone white against a gray background, since he felt that color puzzles would give away clues too readily.

By December 1968, Downs was feeling stretched due to his various NBC commitments and chose to remain on Today. Bob Clayton, then the announcer, began hosting on January 6, 1969, but was replaced by Ed McMahon from March to September. Clayton, who returned to the announcing booth during this time, became host again and remained through the end in 1973.

Five months after the show left NBC daytime, Jim Victory Television launched a five-a-week syndicated series (subcontracted to Goodson-Todman to produce) with Jack Narz as host. Proving that Concentration still had an audience, this version ran on mostly NBC affiliates and ended in 1978. Amongst other changes, a bonus game was instituted (the "Double Play" round) for the first time.

In 1985, Goodson taped a pilot week of shows hosted by Orson Bean. Certain aspects of these (but not the abysmal "match related words" concept) were held over for Classic Concentration (hosted by Alex Trebek), which ran on NBC from 1987 to 1991. The network planned to bring the show back in 1993, possibly as an hour-long version (a partial runthrough of this, Classic Concentration II, surfaced in 2014), but this failed.

The format was exported to ITV and to Australia's Seven and Nine networks. Foreign-language versions included Concéntrese in Colombia and Gewußt-Wo… in Germany.

For the Death Note Crack Fic, see here.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Classic Concentration offered up a lot of prize cars that are now infamous for their poor quality, such as the Hyundai Excel and the Yugo. See "Undesirable Prize" below.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The second opening for the original show started with the game board, dissolving into the "Mystery logo" which separated itself and transmogrophied into "Concentration." (The first intro was simply 13 trilons that turned in matching letters showing "Concentration.")
  • The Announcer: Art James and Bob Clayton during Downs' tenure, Wayne Howell during Clayton's, and Clayton during McMahon's. Johnny Olson announced the Narz version, and Gene Wood announced from 1985-91. In a sort of full-circle mode, Art James filled in for Gene Wood near the end of Classic's run.
  • Arc Number: Often, whenever contestants picked #22, Alex stated that it's his lucky number (his birthday is July 22).
  • Audience Game:
    • In the 1970s version, a special "Double Play" game was played, with audience members asked to decipher rebuses for a $50 prize. This was also sometimes played with the two contestants, most often if time remained or – very rarely – if neither contestants won any prizes during the main game (due to either a double double-loss or if in the case where both front game were won but with no prizes on the winner's side and then both bonus rounds were lost). In the former case, which was more common, it was to pad out the game and give extra money. In the latter case, it was to ensure that the contestants had one last chance to not walk away empty-handed.
    • In the 1980s, an audience member was invited onstage to play a modified version of the car-matching game. They were given 60 seconds, and then matched cash amounts. Any money amounts matched were kept, and clearing the board augmented their total to $500. It was rarely used, though.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: One appeared during the 1990 Tournament of Champions. A clown is shooting one through his head in a puzzle for "Bangor, Maine" (Bang + Oar + a lion's Mane).
  • Bonus Round:
    • In the strictest sense, there were three. First, the Narz version had Double Play: a rebus-solving game, solve two rebuses in ten seconds, win $100 for the first one, a new car for the second one. Beginning in 1977, a "pre-game" would be played to determine what that player would win if they solved both rebuses; the car and three different prize packages would be on a nine-space board, and matching one of them would make that the prize for solving both puzzles (and if they found the wild card, they could play for whatever had been revealed before— which could mean the car and the other packages). The 1985 pilots had contestants matching prizes (matching all of them would earn an additional $5,000), and matching cars (using the same layout as the 85 bonus game) on the Trebek version.
    • The original series occasionally used a few items:
      • The Cash Wheel had spaces containing money from $5 to $2,000. It had to be matched during normal gameplay (when it was used) and the game won by the contestant to whom it was credited.
      • The very rarely used Mink Wheel, which was exactly like the Cash Wheel except the prizes varied from a stole to a full-length coat.
      • "The Envelope and Its Unknown Contents". Whoever won this was given said envelope (from a choice of several) to read out loud, and could have prizes ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to a new car.
      • From about 1970 to 1973, home viewers were entreated to send in postcards for prizes. The first letter of the viewer's surname would correspond to its numerical equivalent (A-1, B-2, etc.) and whatever prize was on that trilon when it spun around was what the viewer won. Gag prizes and Forfeit One Gift paid $100, Take One Gift awarded $250, and Wild Cards were worth $500.
  • Bonus Space:
    • Wild Cards were the only special space used on every version. Matching one with a prize revealed those two spots, but left the unmatched one on the board (and could be matched again with another Wild Card). Beginning in 1985, the "natural" match was also removed.
      • Matching the Wild Cards netted a further bonus. On the original series, this was originally $500 but increased to a new car. The Narz version went back to $500, dropping it to $250 during the 1976-77 season. On Classic, matching two credited a player $500 (matching all three awarded $1,000), but they all required solving the rebus to win them.
    • Take One Gift, which remained in all versions except the 1985 pilots and the first few months of the Trebek era. Classic returned them as TAKE!, which was a pair of red cards and a pair of green cards. Once a pair was matched (and it had to be the same color), the player could take an item from his/her opponent immediately or save the Take for when the opponent had a more valuable prize … or perhaps as insurance to protect a coveted prize … or to reclaim a prize if the opponent had taken it during a previous raid.
    • Free Look, used during the Narz era, which automatically revealed that square.
    • Bonus Number, also used during the Narz era, allowed a contestant to call another number on the same turn if matched.
    • Cashpot and Five Bonus Car Seconds, used only on Classic.
  • Book Ends: Art James' first and last TV roles both involved announcing this show (he was a substitute for Gene Wood on Classic).
  • Borrowed Catch Phrase: Late in Classic's run, contestants would say "I'd like to solve the puzzle."
  • The Cameo: B.B. King once made an appearance on a 1990 episode of Classic.
  • Catchphrase: Several, mainly instated by Hugh Downs.
    • "Look at these two parts—what does the puzzle say?"
    • " right!!" (upon a contestant correctly solving the puzzle)
    • "Not a match. The board goes back." (sometimes used by David Letterman if a joke falls flat)
    • "Swell." (upon the matched squares showing no clues)
    • "Stay with us. We'll be back in a moment." (mid-show break)
    • "So long, and thanks for playing Concentration!" (each show's sign-off)
    • Trebek would almost always pronounce abbreviated prizes as they were written on the board (for example, "Word P'cessor" as "Word Possesser") For "Dish Washer", he would almost always joke "His name is Carlos."
  • Catch Symbol: How many people would know what an awl is without Concentration?
  • Cats Are Mean: One common rebus symbol on Classic was the face of a very angry cat saying "Hisssssssssssss..."
  • Christmas Special: During the original series, the annual Christmas game had two celebrities dressed as Santa Claus playing for CARE, the show's designated charity (who had also sent 30 native-costumed children from the countries it serviced). The game involved matching money amounts, typically ones like $66.66 and $99.99. Among the celebs who participated were Mimi Hines, her husband Phil Ford, Phyllis Diller, Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, and Art Fleming. Only Hines and Ford ever brought anything for the kids, giving them candy and small gifts. According to producer Norm Blumenthal, Hines and Diller were the only female Santas.
  • Chroma Key: Used on Classic. It becomes noticeable when upon realizing that, after a successful solve, Alex (or a contestant) are looking off screen and not in the direction of the game board.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Red and Green TAKE! cards. Yes, they both had to be the same color, or it wasn't a valid match.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:invoked Many contestants in the Classic era Bonus Round would pick off the left two columns first (i.e., 1-2, 4-5, 7-8, 10-11, 13-14), presumably so they could focus on any potential matches in that region first.
  • Consolation Prize: Strangely enough, on the 1970s Narz version, there was at least one – often two – consolation-level prizes available as main prizes to be found on the board during a given game. These have included panel cleaner, salad dressing, beef jerky, fruit drinks, macaroni and cheese dinners, children's toys, latex paint and floor wax. (Usually, the contestant would win about $25 to $50 worth of said prize, and it would be included in their total.)
  • Deadpan Snarker: Though Trebek was much looser on Classic on than he was on Jeopardy!, he still had no reservations about getting snarky when he felt it was appropriate.
  • Downer Ending: When Classic began, the Bonus Round buzzer was not synched to go off when the clock hit zero. This led to two known occasions (such as this) where a contestant made the final match in between time running out and the buzzer sounding. The judge ruled against both contestants on the grounds that the clock was already at zero when the final number got called.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Quite a few on Classic Concentration.
    • Majorie Goodson wasn't the original Lovely Assistant. Model Diana Taylor was the original one, but she left the show two months into production and Goodson was tapped to replace her.
    • The "TAKE!" placards, which if won allowed the player to take one of their opponents prizes, weren't present in the earliest episodes. Then when they were first introduced, one was green but the other was lavender. The lavender TAKE was retired after a few weeks, replaced with the now familiar red TAKE.
    • In the earliest episodes, Alex Trebek comes on stage by walking down the rafters displaying the prize cars. As this proved to be too time-consuming and cumbersome, he instead came on stage by walking out from behind the bottom two prize cars.
    • Classic Concentration had some difficulty determining how to retire contestants. At first, contestants stayed on the show until they lost a non-interrupted match or retired undefeated after five turns in the bonus round. As many contestants who managed to stay on the show long enough to test or reach the 5 victory limit wound up winning multiple cars, they then instated a new rule that retired contestants after they win a car.
    • Conversely, the producers eventually saw that too many contestants were amounting to nothing more than one-hit kills for veteran returning champions, so they again reformed their rules to allow losers to come back for a second chance. It first started out as a "strike" system where a contestant had to lose two matches (or win a car) to be retired. This was then changed after a few months to the show's most memorable format, where the match was a best two-out-of-three with the winner getting the chance to win a car at the end of the show. The two-strike format was then reinstated for the final year of original episodes.
    • In early episodes, the set is a lot more plain and Alex Trebek wears a suit. The now familiar aesthetic of neon lights, palm trees and Trebek wearing casual loungewear was implemented for a theme week, with the producers and audience liking it so much that the changes became permanent.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Take (and earlier, "Take 1 Gift"): The contestant was permitted to take one of the prizes from their opponent's rack, provided they had something to take. (They could hold a Take card until later during the Classic era, hoping that a desirable prize would be available for the taking later.)
    • "Forfeit 1 Gift": During the NBC run and the first year of the Narz 1970s run, the contestant had to give up one of their gifts. During the NBC run, that's what the gag gifts were for – insurance against these Zonks and to protect the good stuff.
    • "5 Bonus Seconds": During the Classic era, added five extra seconds to the bonus round time.
  • Expy:
    • The Rebus Game (ABC, 1965) had contestants drawing out clues to a phrase or person's name.
    • Fractured Phrases (NBC, 1965) had phrases and names broken down phonetically into separate words much like Mad Gab; for example, "Eat Spinner Lotto Phone" would translate into "It's Been a Lot of Fun".
    • Catchphrase (Syndicated, 1985-86; many years in the UK) revealed a short phrase in the form of a two- or three-clue animated rebus, similar to the recurring Wacky Wordies in Games magazine. Additionally, Steve Ryan, who (as mentioned) created the rebuses for Classic, created the puzzles for this show as well.
  • Extra Turn: Matching a pair of prizes or Take cards (or matching either with a "Wild" card) allowed the contestant to take another turn. S/he kept their turn even if they chose to offer a solution that was incorrect. So guesses were always free guesses without a penalty
    • The Narz versions had Bonus Numbers, which let contestants take a 3rd (and sometimes even a 4th) selection.
  • Game Show Host: Hugh Downs, Jack Barry, Bob Clayton, Ed McMahon, Jack Narz, Orson Bean, and Alex Trebek. Art James filled in for Downs, as did Clayton.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: The original series allowed contestants to stay on for a maximum of 20 games, although only two people ever did so. The Narz era had two new contestants on each show, due to the "bicycling" method of syndication that remained in use until 1984. Classic let contestants stay for up to five matches, but in late 1987-91 champions were also retired after winning a car.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Marjorie Goodson-Cutt once wore a fake mustache.
  • Golden Snitch: You can have all the prizes on the board, but still lose. On Classic, you could have no prizes matched, solve the puzzle, and lose the car game every time and leave with nothing but the consolation prizes they give to the loser. On the original series, winning the game with no matched prizes (apart from gag prizes) still netted the contestant $100 cash.
  • Grand Finale: The original series ended, after 3,770 episodes, with an unusual farewell. Gag prizes included "Donald's Duck" and "Peter's Rabbit" in Game 1 and "A Wacky Wabbit" and "A Thilly Thparrow" in Game 2.
    • Time ran out late in Game 2 ("YUV; {Bowling Pin}; M + {Oar}; TH + {Hen}; K + {Eye} + ND"), resulting in Clayton walking between the players, revealing the solution note , and asking for a ruling on how they would finish this game. Producer Norm Blumenthal then spoke, stating that the "Birthday Present" prize ($1,400 cash) would be split between the final two players.
    • The final segment consisted of Clayton thanking the viewers for their loyalty, after which the credits rolled over a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne".
  • Halloween Special: The original series had an annual Halloween episode, where Downs (later Clayton) and the contestants played in costume. This tradition continued on the Trebek version.
  • Home Game:
    • Milton Bradley made 24 editions, with series producer and puzzle creator Norm Blumenthal creating all the puzzles. Each edition's "Puzzle Roll" was numbered, which led to an oddity...
      • In 1960, shortly after the release of the 2nd Edition game, the company sold Puzzle Roll #3 as a refill pack. When the 3rd Edition was released, it used Puzzle Roll #4, and this discrepancy continued until Milton Bradley skipped the 13th Edition. Puzzle Roll #3 is extremely rare today.
      • During a "Treehouse of Horror" segment of The Simpsons in which board games come to life, the boxes of several games can be seen. One such game was "Consternation", styled like the Milton Bradley games' artwork.
    • Softie and GameTek made electronic versions of Classic for MS-DOS (recycling contestant sprites from Card Sharks) and the NES.
    • Pressman and Endless Games each made a Classic home game, a decade apart, with full-color rebuses created by Steve Ryan (inventor of Blockbusters and the rebuses for Classic). The Endless version was rereleased in 2003 with new packaging and different prizes. During the home game plugs, Trebek would often mention that it was a good tool to use for contestants to get familiar with some of the Classic symbols used such as the awl, the aisle and the ewe/mare with the lipstick. (Awl, aisle, and the omnipresent oar were all staples of puzzles on the original show.)
    • Tiger Electronics made an LCD handheld game, albeit with some misspelled rebus answers.
    • Freeze Tag published a PC game based on Classic, which stated on the box that it was licensed by NBC. Yes, the network will license the rights to a home game but won't actually let the show see the light of day.
    • In 2012, Siba Style Studios released a Concentration with Friends app for iOS, based on the Classic format.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: Alex wore lots and lots of these from July 1988 to October 1989.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Lots of bad guesses, such as "The Pounds You Lost Tonight" (1974) and "Polly-Wolly Tear Doll" (1978). The correct answers were "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Polly-Wolly Doodle", respectively; for the latter, Narz explained that a droplet on an eye is "Tear" while a droplet on a leaf is "Dew".
    • Orson Bean. For some reason, he felt an absolute need to read out each prize's name during the 1985 Bonus Round.
    • Ben's moment of stupidity on the fifth-to-last episode of Classic.
  • Jerkass:
  • Kitchen Sink Included: In more ways than one, depending on the version:
    • The original series sometimes had a "kitchen sink" as one of its gag prizes. A legitimate “kitchen sink” prize was also offered, usually as part of a kitchen cabinetry package.
    • The 1970s Narz-hosted version had a legitimate "kitchen sink" prize. This one had the sink basin connected to a wood base with cabinets and formica countertops. It was produced by the H.R. Schriner Co. – they also offered burner bases in several games – and it was worth about $450. There were also kitchen cabinetry packages available, usually worth around $1,000-$1,500 and including (of course) the kitchen sink.
    • On Classic, one of several kitchen home remodeling packages (one was worth about $6,000) included a kitchen sink as part of the package deal. Additionally, an early episode had "Everything But the Kitchen Sink" as one of its puzzles.
  • Large Ham: Classic Concentration prize model Marjorie Goodson-Cutt is this in spades, we see her engage in some kind of goofy antic once per episode. For example, she once modeled a home office set by spinning around in circles in the included desk chair.
    • Alex Trebek: "Don't encourage her, she has problems enough as is."
  • Leitmotif: On the original show, a quick five-second ditty (titled "In This Corner") was played as the prize slide doors (which opened to introduce a new player) closed.
  • Lighter and Softer: Many fans of the genre have pointed out that Alex seemed a lot more laid-back and casual than he did on most of his other hosting gigs.
  • Literal Wild Card: In Concentration, contestants had to match the prizes behind each square to (1) win that prize (if they won the game, that is), and (2) reveal more of the rebus puzzle for them to solve (which wins the game). But there were two Wild Cards among the 30 squares, and they would automatically match whatever was behind the other selected square. Plus, on the NBC version, a contestant who called both Wild Cards in the same turn would win a car — regardless of who won that game!
  • Loophole Abuse: Classic's fifth-to-last first-run episode (August 26, 1991). Ben, the challenger, acted like a colossal jerk throughout but managed to get to the car game. This wouldn't normally make him stand out as much, had he not decided, with one match left to be made and ample time (about 7 seconds) to do so, that he wanted to win more prizes. He then proceeded to lose the next match.
  • Losing Horns: One loud "groan" on trombones, similar to (but not exactly like) the end of the sound on The Price Is Right, was played after a bonus loss on the Trebek version note .
  • Lovely Assistant: The original series had Paola Diva as a prize model. Classic had Diana Taylor and Marjorie Goodson-Cutt (Mark Goodson's daughter).
  • Memory Match Mini-Game: This Game Show that has the players reveal two hidden panels, and rewards players for revealing matching pairs.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • On the original show, if a board was cleared (apart from any remaining squares that couldn't be matched) and neither contestant could solve the puzzle, the game ended in a draw. A new game was started and each contestant retained up to three prizes from the draw game.
    • Similarly, if a game was interrupted because the show was about to end, the puzzle was shown in its entirety, the answer disclosed, and the contestants returned on the next show with up to three prizes from that draw game.
    • Blumenthal said that early shows went through some three games because the puzzles were too easy. He started making the puzzles more challenging to make the show hold better interest.
    • Classic eliminated boxes 26–30, and varied from players going home after only one game, to playing best-of-three matches with the third puzzle being a tiebreaker, to players being allowed two strikes (red X's on a box on their podiums).
  • Opening Narration:
    • "Behind these numbers is a puzzle. Can you solve it? (puzzle solution is revealed) If you can do that, you'll have a chance to win one of these eight fabulous cars, as we play Classic Concentration! And here's the host of Concentration, Alex Trebek!"
      • A later variant on that spiel had "a brand-new car", and the audience saying the name of the show alongside Gene.
    • From the 1985 pilots: "Can you decode this puzzle? (puzzle solution is revealed) These are the puzzles we play, on CONCENTRATION! Starring Orson Bean!"
    • Original series: "The NBC Television Network presents...(introductory music) Concentration. In one of our games (prize description) And now, here is the star of our show, Hugh Downs (later Ed McMahon / Bob Clayton)!"
    • 1973-78 run: "From Hollywood, the game of puzzles and prizes, Concentration! And now, here's the host of Concentration, Jack Narz!"
  • Papa Bear: Alex Trebek's response to the contestant who tried to use a Wild card to claim Marjorie as a prize, see "Jerkass" above. "Good thing you didn't [know she was getting married], I would have dropped you one real fast!"
  • Precious Puppies: Marjorie's chihuahua, Pokey, would often show up on display with her owner during prize descriptions, much to the amusement/annoyance of Trebek.
  • Precision F-Strike: On April 13, 1988, contestant Michael whispered "Shit!" during the car game which got by the censors.
  • Pretty in Mink:
    • A 1960s episode offered a chinchilla coat as a prize.
    • As mentioned above, the Mink Wheel.
    • Some rebuses on Classic included a woman in a fur coat or stole to represent the syllable "fur". In at least one rebus, Steve Ryan attached a "fake" tag to the coat.
  • Progressive Jackpot: The "Cashpot" on Classic; match the numbers with it, get whatever it had that day (starting at $500 and going up $100 each day), and solve the puzzle to keep it. This was added to the mix in November 1989. The Bonus Round was a subversion, because while the prize didn’t increase with each failure, the time limit did (35 seconds, plus 5 more with each failure).note 
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The 1985-91 theme tune was a rearrangement of the ticket-plug cue used on Body Language.
    • From 1969-73, the mid-show camera pan of the audience had Milton Kaye playing the standard "Puppet on a String". When Bob Clayton described the Chevrolet Nova awarded to the player calling two Wild Cards on the same turn, "See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet" was played.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One Classic puzzle. First line: an awl + a dozen eggs; second line: a tree + a caricature of Gregory Peck.
    • In one of the early 1970s home games: first line, a sheep saying "baa" + B; second line, K + a lei + a weight marked "2,000 lb."
  • Show the Folks at Home:
    • The Narz era's Double Play rebus solutions, before the actual rebus was shown.
    • For Classic, for an extremely brief time in 1990, the rebus solution would be revealed to the audience before the game was played. This practice only lasted 15 episodes, from January 22-February 9, 1990.
    • Trebek would often use this exact phrase at the end of a round: "Let's show the folks at home how [the winner] solved the puzzle."
  • Speed Round: When time is running short on Classic, or it's a tie after two rounds, they would remove the numbers one by one, revealing the puzzle, until a player buzzes in. On the Narz show, the rest of the board was turned to reveal the whole puzzle, with the player buzzing in first getting first crack to solve it.
  • Stock Beehive: Used by Norm Blumenthal, and later Steve Ryan, whenever the sound of hive was needed in a rebus. This design was included in Harold Lohner's original freeware Rebus Font (where it was mapped to the left bracket key) via the Milton Bradley home games.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Alex Trebek is best known for being a calm and soft-spoken game show host. When this contestant wins a car just before time expires, he belts out an excited "THAT'S A MATCH!"
  • Think Music: On Classic, a softer version of the theme played as the numbers were removed one by one during third-puzzle tiebreaker rounds if time was running short.
    • On the Narz edition when time ran out, the entire puzzle was revealed. Think music would play until a contestant buzzed in to solve it.
  • Title Drop: A 1987 puzzle that went all the way to the board being cleared before a contestant solved it. K + lass + Hic! Con + cent + tray + shin.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • A number of Classic contestants, after one of them took a prize using a TAKE! Card or had a prize taken, would snipe at each other.
    • In one episode of Classic, a contestant matched the prize of a camcorder. He commented that he had been wanting a camcorder to videotape his kids. A few turns later, his opponent matched one of the TAKE cards and took the camcorder, leading to some audible boos from the audience. However, Laser-Guided Karma kicked in later—the other contestant matched the other TAKE card and took the camcorder back.
  • Tournament Play: The original series used an elimination tournament at the end of each season where the best players were invited back; a best-of-seven series determined each match’s winner. Classic invited back the 10 players who won a car in the fastest time over a week. In 1989, each pair of players played a best-of-three match, with the winner getting a shot at the car board. The clock counted up from zero for all attempts, and whoever got all seven matches in the fastest time won $25,000 in cash; anyone who made all the matches within 45 seconds won another car. In 1990, when every round won earned a shot at the car and players stayed on until losing twice, each pair played two games, with the winner of each game getting a shot at the car board. The clock counted up from zero for the first attempt only and down from the current best thereafter, and the player who completed the car game the fastest won the last car they matched in their winning car game plus $10,000 in cash.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent:
    • The original Australian version, helmed by Philip Brady, ran from 1959-67 on the Nine Network with a concurrent primetime run airing until 1961. Lionel Williams helmed a version in the 1970s on the Seven Network, followed by a brief 1997 run with Mike Hammond.
    • A UK version produced by Granada aired on ITV from 16 June 1959 to 7 June 1960. Original host Barry McQueen was replaced by Chris Howland in 1960 and David Gell toward the end of the run. Blumenthal saw it, along with his staff:
      Blumenthal: My entire staff watched together and agreed it was extremely slow moving and sort of boring. Aside from the fact that the puzzle solutions were expressions and names of bands or singers and expressions unheard of to all of us, it didn't work for us. After a while, we figured out why. There were no commercial breaks!note 
    • A revival, produced by TVS (which also produced the above-mentioned Catch Phrase) and using Classic's graphics package aired from 4 September 1988 to early 1990, with hosts Nick Jackson (1988) and Bob Carolgees (1989-90). The game was pretty much the same, but the bonus round used trips instead of cars.
    • Concéntrese aired in Colombia during the 1970s and 1980s.
    • The Vietnamese version, Trúc xanh with Do Thuy, aired on HTV7 from 2004 to 2009.
  • Undesirable Prize:
    • Alex Trebek jokingly invoked this trope when describing genuinely good prizes. For example, a vacation to Bermuda that was marked as "Sands of Bermuda" was described by Trebek as "we give you a cup of sand that we got from a beach in Bermuda."
    • Classic Concentration gave away a lot of Hyundai Excels, a car that's infamously remembered today for its very poor build quality and reliability. In fact, the Excel was the most frequently offered prize car, seemingly always being up on the rafters no matter how much the other prize cars rotated. Multiple contestants show some visible disappointment upon winning it. They entered the Winner's Circle seeing that they could win a Jeep, a convertible or a Toyota, and instead they win an Excel. To add some context, the Excel was such a bad car that it took decades for Hyundai to repair the damage it did to their reputation. It wasn't until The New '10s that they were finally able to become a respected player in the American auto industry.
    • In at least a few episodes of 1987, they also had the infamous Yugo on the rafters as a prize car to win.
  • Whammy: Forfeit One Gift. After being chopped down from three pairs to one pair at the beginning of the Narz era, they were ousted altogether during the 1974-75 season in favor of Free Look.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: During the second game of a 1989 Woodstock-themed episode, one of the prizes is a "Right On Pen and Pencil Set"
    Alex: (whistles dismissively) Boy, we really went, uh, quite some ways to come up with interesting prizes on this. "Right on pen and pencil"? Cheap prize.
  • Zonk: Three "gag gifts" in each game of the original series, which made the above Whammy useful on occasion. If a contestant won any of these "prizes", they were given $1 for each.
    • The Trebek version had similar things for one Halloween week. He even said, "Monty Hall would call these Zonkers." In this case, they included things that related to Halloween, like "5 Pounds of Graveyard Dirt".