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Series / Trivia Trap

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Short-lived Game Show created by Mark Goodson which ran on ABC from October 8, 1984 to April 5, 1985. The show pitted a team of three "Juniors" (each under 30) and three "Seniors" (each over 30) against each other.

The original format had Round 1 offering two rows of four answers each. The team chose one of the two rows and was asked a question related to it. Each team member had to eliminate the three wrong answers from that row, with $50 won for each wrong answer eliminated and $300 if all three wrong answers were removed.


On December 17, Round 1 was re-tooled into two sub-rounds: First was "Fact or Fiction", wherein each team played two true-or-false questions, winning $25 for each correct answer. After it came the "Trivia Trap" round, playing two questions each (again with the two choices of four answers); here, the team members could agree or disagree on which right answer they picked, earning up to $200 if everyone picked the right answer.

Both formats used the same rules for the next rounds: the $1,000 Trivia Race, which was simply pick a category, answer a question, lather-rinse-repeat; the team in control kept playing until all three members missed the same question. The first ten questions were worth $100 each, with all subsequent ones worth $200. The first team to rack up $1,000 or more proceeded to the $10,000 Trivia Ladder, a multi-tiered bonus round.


Notable for being the final original Game Show created by Mark Goodson. Afterwards Mark Goodson Productions would only produce revivals of existing formats until their acquisition by Pearson Television (now Fremantle Media) in the 1990s.

This show provides examples of:

  • Animated Credits Opening: The original format had the word "Trivia" scrolling diagonally several times on a rainbow-striped background as various pop cultural images slid across the screen, followed by an idiosyncratic wipe shaped like a bear trap which then revealed the on-set logo.
  • Artifact Title: The second format didn't really involve answers catching contestants in a trap, or at least not more so than any other quiz show.
  • Bonus Round: The $10,000 Trivia Ladder. Four levels, each representing a question with four possible answers; the first three are for each individual teammate (order of play is determined by number of questions answered in the Trivia Race). A correct answer won $1,000 and moved them to the final level, where a correct answer split the money ($3,333 for all three, $5,000 for two, or $10,000 for one person).
    • It should be noted that the payout structure was unique for this show; while all front game money was divided amongst the team, the $13,000 offered in the Trivia Ladder was earned for each individual player (that is, if one person answered both their questions correctly, they alone would win $11,000 on top of all "team" money).
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  • Celebrity Edition: The week of November 19-23 had Bill Cullen, Jamie Farr, and Tom Poston playing against Jayne Meadows, Vicki Lawrence, and Betty White. The week of February 11-15 had soap operas competing.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Juniors team always wore blue sweaters, and the Seniors red. Both matched the respective colors of each team's podium.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: Any team that made it to the Trivia Ladder five times retired undefeated; the highest total given away was $65,500.
  • Opening Narration:
    • Original Format: "Here comes the fascinating world of trivia, where even a right answer can catch you in a trap! On Trivia Trap! And here's the host of Trivia Trap, Bob Eubanks!" (On October 29, 1984, "The Juniors are ready, the Seniors are set to play" was added before the last line.)
    • Revamped Format: Used a Cold Open.
      Eubanks: Hi there, I'm Bob Eubanks. Can you answer this trivia question? (asks a trivia question) You'll get the answer to that and be challenged by many more on (our all-new edition of) Trivia Trap!
      Hilton: Welcome to the fascinating world of trivia! Our Senior team is ready! Playing for the Seniors are [name], [name], and [name]! And our Junior team is set! Playing for the Juniors are [name], [name] , and [name]! And here's the host of Trivia Trap, Bob Eubanks!
  • Retool: As stated before, a gameplay overhaul happened starting with the episode airing December 17, 1984. Mark Goodson did this after a focus group from American Film International made the (possibly ill-advised) suggestion that the show's format of eliminating wrong answers was a "gameplay flaw".
  • Shout-Out: One contestant, when unable to give a right answer, gave a joke response of "Edd Kalehoff" (the musician who composed the Theme Tune).