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Concentration


Producer: Mark Goodson
Host: Orson Bean
Announcer: Gene Wood
Taping Info: 1985
Other Pilots: There's at least a pilot floating around for the Alex Trebek version.
Made it to Air: This particular version did not air. However, other versions were long time staples of the NBC lineup from 1958-1983 and 1987-1993. It was also in 5-a-day syndication from 1973-1978.
Availability: It's on the trading circuit

Concentration, the long time favorite, had now been off the air for seven years, an eternity in the recycled enduring format world. So, in 1985, Orson Bean was given a shot to host this revival. However, there would be a huge twist.

The twist is now that instead of trying to match prizes, you are instead trying to match two related words (such as "Christmas" and "Fruitcake"). Each successful match revealed two puzzle pieces and netted the player $100. There were the three wild cards, but there was no take card. Successfully guessing the puzzle moved you on to the bonus game.

Like on Classic Concentration, the bonus game consisted of fifteen squares and an arbitrary time amount that increased for each game not won. However, instead of matching cars, you were matching prizes. Any matched prizes were the player's to keep, and a successful matching of all prizes added a $5,000 bonus. There was no mention whether it was two-losses-and-out, best-two-of-three, or you stayed on for one show.

Orson Bean is an acquired taste, and that's one taste I've never acquired. Although he was toned down a lot in this game because he had to keep it moving, it just didn't work for me. Plus, the connection thing seemed just wrong, since I could come up with about any connection of two words if I could think hard enough. A return to the classic format and a new host proved to be the tonic two years later.


The open and set.

Orson flanks the contestants.

The game board. The numbers and rebus were computer generated, but the words were chyron.

Same thing here.


This pilot has been viewed 9487 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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