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Series / Eye Guess

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Late-1960s NBC Game Show produced by Bob Stewart after leaving Goodson-Todman, in association with Filmways (who would later acquire Heatter-Quigley Productions). Two contestants faced a board of nine windows in a 3x3 setup. The windows were opened, with the outer eight (numbered) showing answers, for eight (later seven) seconds. Afterward, host Bill Cullen read a question and the players had to find the window the answer was in; 10 points were awarded for a correct pick, and that player kept going until picking a wrong window.

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If the player believed that the answer was not among the eight shown, s/he said "Eye Guess" and the center window was revealed: the answer if correct, a blank space if wrong. The first to reach 100 points won the game and some cash ($1 per point) and played the Bonus Round.

Sometime in 1969, the format was changed to use prizes instead of points in the front game. Whoever won seven prizes first would go to the Bonus Board.

While the entire run was destroyed (network practices of the era), from the surviving footage it's clear Eye Guess ran on Rule of Funny: the game wasn't taken too seriously, Bill and later announcer Jack Clark bantered at times and lobbed puns at each other, the home game plug used a Password game at least once, and by 1969 a prize began to be awarded for four consecutive wrong picks - both players got a set of home memory-improvement courses.

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Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: Three were used, all referred to as the Bonus Board.
    • The first, only used for the first two weeks (January 3-14, 1966), involved eight sets of celebrity couples. Bill read a name, and the contestant had to find that person's spouse on the board. Each match awarded $25, and matching all eight won a new car (placed behind the "Eye Guess" spot on the board).
    • The second iteration, introduced on January 17, simply had seven prizes of varying value on the board (originally including cash amounts up to $100, although these were removed by November 8, 1967). The contestant continued to pick numbers until s/he found all seven (which also awarded the car) or found the "STOP!" card (which ended the game with all prizes accumulated up to that point).
    • The last version, which debuted sometime in 1969 and remained through the show's demise on September 26 of that year, replaced the prizes with "GO" cards and didn't use spaces 4-5. The player now won prizes of increasing value for each GO card, whereas the STOP! now took away their prizes; as such, the contestant could now quit at any point, although finding all five GO cards also awarded the car.
  • Bonus Space: "Jack's Pot" (a cash jackpot) was added to the Bonus Board around 1968. The jackpot started at $200 and increased by $100 every day it wasn't found on the first pick (in which case it was revealed immediately).
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    • Also, whoever picked five consecutive right answers won the "jackpot prize", which changed from week to week.
  • Celebrity Edition: At least one, from October 17-21, 1966 - which is when Mel Brooks infamously discovered Bill's issues with walking, as he's recounted several times.
  • Consolation Prize:
    • During the second bonus round era, picking the STOP! first allowed that player to choose another number for a consolation prize.
    • As mentioned above, four consecutive wrong picks in the front game awarded both players a set of home memory-improvement courses.
  • Home Game: Four were released, one per year, and were the only ones of Bill's career that had him on the cover.
  • Personnel:
  • Progressive Jackpot: Jack's Pot, which got up to $1,500 at least once.
  • Zonk: The STOP! card in the second Bonus Board format. The third format promoted it to Whammy.

This show provides examples of:

  • Grand Finale: The very last bonus game (September 26, 1969) had Bill encouraging the player to keep picking numbers. After the car was won, it was revealed that the STOP! card wasn't even on the board - Bill had it all along.
  • Rule of Funny: The show's bread-and-butter, especially during the second Bonus Board era.
  • Spiritual Successor: Quicksilver, on USA Network.

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