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Smart Money

Producer: Ron Greenberg
Host: Jim Peck
Announcer: Bill Wendell
Taping Info: October 23 or 24, 1975 at CBS New York
Other Pilots: This one is marked as #3
Made it to Air: No

It's probably not a good idea to use many mirrors on your game show set. Other things show up on the set like cameras, cue cards, disinterested crew, etc. However, Smart Money doesn't take that advice, and adds the bonus of a green, orange and red set. Jim Peck makes a rare non-ABC foray into the hosting world for the pilot done in New York for CBS.

The game involves two contestants playing with incredibly large name tags. Each player starts the first round with $250 and tries to answer questions as some of the letters in the answer scroll by on "the fabulous ticker". Each correct answer is worth $25 and stops the 30 second clock used in round 1. Also during the round, five prizes are scrolled on the ticker with a dollar amount. If a player buzzes in on a prize, they buy that prize. However, they could make a mistake because the full dollar amount may have not scrolled by. For example, visible on the ticker may be "BEDROOM $10" when actually it may really be "BEDROOM $100". The five prizes in play for the entire game were a TV set, an African safari, a bedroom set, a stereo system and a 1976 Pacer.

In this particular game, Judy ended the first round with $250 and a bedroom set, while Connie had $275 and a color TV. Connie, in the lead, now had the choice of selling her one prize with the hopes of getting more money or buying other prizes. However, players had no knowledge of the buying or selling prices of the prizes for the round. Connie decided to buy the Safari, which set her back $100. Judy, now with knowledge of the price of the Safari, could also buy it for $100. She declined, but did pick up the Stereo for $175. Connie now had a larger lead ($175-$75), which is important because only the player with the most cash at the end of the game would be the winner and keep their prizes.

The second round played just like the first, with $25 for a correct answer and prizes scrolling on the ticker. Connie picked up the Pacer for $100 and the stereo for $10 and answered one question, so she had $90, while Judy answered four questions to take the money lead with $175. However, the buy/sell prices of the prizes have changed. Judy tries for the safari, but now it's $200 and she can't afford it. Connie, knowing the safari is now worth $200, decides to sell her Safari for a $100 profit and is now in the lead with $290.

Round 3 saw the question values going up to $50, while the prizes stayed in the $10-$250 range. Connie repurchased a Safari during the ticker round for $150 but answered 7 questions to sit on $490, while Judy got a $20 TV and only one question to sit on $205. For the buying and selling portion, the choices of what to buy or sell were not done in turns, instead, both players secretly decided what to buy and sell. Judy manages to get $200 for the bedroom set, while Connie only gets $5 for her TV set, making the game much closer for the fourth round.

The fourth round was now worth $100 per question with no buy or sell round. Two questionable judging decisions accepting "Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson" for "Lady Byrd Johnson" during the question "This Texan was married to a former President" plus accepting a not-close-enough pronunciation of ornithology allowed Connie to win the game by $95. Also, in the other three rounds, the last question was played to completion even if the bell rang for the end of 30 seconds. However, in this round, the clock was stopped and the game declared over when the bell rang. Judy was hosed.

The bonus game, or "The Super Ticker Round", gave the winner a chance for $15,000 in cash plus prizes which included a piano, a mink coat, a boat and a trip to Paris. A ticker ran that would flash the prizes and a price by, in which in the beginning of the round the contestant would have to buy some prizes from anywhere between $50 and $500. Hopefully, she bought them at low prices, because she could later sell the prizes at a higher price if that price scrolled by during the 60 second round. If you were able to convert the $500 you were staked at the beginning of the round into $1,000 due to shrewd and/or random selling, you would win $15,000 plus any prizes you still had.

The main game was fine, the bonus game was not. The concept of buying and selling the same prize for an arbitrary amount seemed neat when coupled with trivia questions, but was not as fun when only four prizes were involved for well over a minute, since the clock stopped when a prize was bought or sold. It may have been better if there were at least ten prizes involved with a much wider price swing to make it harder for the player to remember and play well.

This pilot has been viewed 7568 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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