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Trivia / The Joker's Wild

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  • Career Resurrection: The show's success helped get Jack Barry back in television's good graces after the dark stain the 21 riggings left.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • For years, it was believed that only the 1974-75 season existed due to being repackaged for syndication (whose high ratings led to the 1977 return). In 2000, the master tapes for the first two seasons and the entire run of Spin-Off (CBS' replacement for Joker) were found in a storage room at New York's WCBS.
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    • Only the first seven months of the CBS run was aired by GSN (September 4, 1972 to mid-April 1973), and of the following two years only the Grand Finale circulates. Another 122 episodes from the final year (mainly Edited for Syndication master copies), ranging from #418 through the finale, surfaced in October 2013.
    • The last time that GSN aired Joker was during the 2002 "Feast of Favorites", a special aired on Thanksgiving Day: home viewers were allowed to vote for their favorite game shows, and the network spent the entire day airing two episodes each of the top 12 most voted-on shows. Joker was represented by the last two episodes of the 1980 tournament of champions.
    • The 1990 version hasn't aired since 1994, when it was last rerun on USA Network; this stems from legal issues between Sony Pictures Television (who acquired the remnants of Barry and Enright in the 1990s) and NBCUniversal Television (the show's original distributor, Orbis Communications, was sold by its then-owner Carolco Pictures to Multimedia Entertainment (the people who brought us Donahue and Jerry Springer); that company was acquired by Universal in 1996); the John Davidson version of fellow Sony game show Pyramid is caught up in the same legal issues.
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  • Old Shame: B&E co-founder Dan Enright really regretted giving the host position to Bill Cullen instead of Jim Peck as per Barry's dying wishes. Moreso due to losing a good portion of the Barry & Enright Production Posse who were angry at Enright for that move.
  • Outlived Its Creator: The show outlasted Jack Barry by two years. Two revivals were produced afterward.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Snoop Dogg was a huge fan of the original show when he was a kid; now he's host and producer of the TBS revival.
  • Prop Recycling: The Joker Machine for the 2006 pilots was originally used for the 2005 Vegas Week on Wheel of Fortune, where it stood behind the players instead of the normal video wall; it had three smaller video screens for tumblers.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "The Savers" by Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley, used from 1972-74 and 1977-78. (1974-75 used a Suspiciously Similar Song composed by Alan Thicke; 1978-86 used a reorchestration done by Hal Hidey.)
  • What Could Have Been:
    • CBS, wary of the quiz show scandals, had three hosts in mind for the 1970s network run rather than Jack Barry: Allen Ludden (who did the 1960s pilots); Wink Martindale (who later did Tic-Tac-Dough for Barry-Enright); and Tom Kennedy (who also worked for Barry-Enright as host of Break the Bank (1976)). Due to each already having other game show commitments (Password, Gambit, and Split Second (1972) respectively), and despite Bob Barker begging to be given something other than Price, Barry was allowed to host...for 13 weeks. By January 1973, with no complaints from the viewers or network, Barry signed a regular contract.
      • Ironically, Martindale hosted the Philips CDI version of Joker with adult-level trivia, while Marc Summers hosted the "Jr." version geared for kids.
    • The 1983-84 season (the seventh in syndication) would've been Barry's last in any case. He was to pass the torch to Jim Peck, a frequent substitute host (and known to game show fans as the host of The Big Showdown, Second Chance, and Chuck Barris' infamous 3's A Crowd), on the Season 8 premiere. His fatal cardiac arrest shortly after finishing Season 7, however, caused Dan Enright to question Barry's choice (he wasn't sure Jim could carry the show). Enright instead hired Bill Cullen (from another B&E show, Hot Potato, which was canned shortly before this) based on his game show hosting reputation. With Cullen, the show lasted another two years in syndication (and would sadly be his last game show; Cullen died of lung cancer in July 1990). Though disappointed, Peck still continued with the series in a guest hosting capacity.
      • Enright later ended up regretting his decision not to let Peck host, as it led to the resignations of three key staffers on the show who were angry at him for defying Barry's wishes: executive producer Ron Greenberg, producer Gary Cox, and director Richard S. Kline. Greenberg returned to independent producing, Kline formed alongside many other B&E staffers (including Barry's sons Jonathan and Douglas) Kline and Friends, while Cox, after a brief stint with Kline and Friends, went to work for Reg Grundy Productions, the company responsible for NBC games Sale of the Century and Scrabble.
    • Sony Pictures and King World attempted a revival for fall 2007 that was taped in 2006, alongside another game show format called Combination Lock that had been bounced around since the late 1990s. Both pilots were planned for 2007 debuts, but neither sold- apparently, the NBC O&Os were interested, but the duo got tangled up in red tape and the NBC group ended up choosing Merv Griffin's Crosswords (ironically, the host of that trainwreck, Ty Treadway, hosted one of the pilots of Combination Lock- the other was hosted by Marc Summers, who of course got his start on The Joker's Wild).
    • Another reboot was pitched to CBS in 2009, to fill the gap left by the cancellation of Guiding Light- a revival of Let's Make a Deal was picked instead. Tom Bergeron would've hosted.


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