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Twenty-One (1982)


Producer: Barry-Enright
Host: Jim Lange
Announcer: Charlie O'Donnell
Taping Info: April 24, 1982 at CBS Hollywood
Made it to Air: This version, no. It ran in prime-time from 1956-1958 plus a run in 2000.
Availability: Trading circuit

It was big in the 1950s. And, if it wasn't rigged, it would have been a very boring show. So, Barry-Enright, seeing that Bullseye is failing, tries to get a new show ready for syndication. Jim Lange, without glasses, is your host.

Same rules as before, there are questions whose values are chosen by the contestants, and they can be worth anywhere from one to eleven points, with one being easy and eleven being very hard. You receive the points if you answer the question correctly, or have them deducted if you answer incorrectly. The two contestants are in isolation booths, since there is the possibility that the players may get the same question if they pick the same point value, plus the strategy of not knowing when to hold them and when to fold them in respect to your score. The category of the question is determined randomly by a spin of Jim Lange's question Lazy Susan keeping him company while the contestants are in the isolation booths.

If you win the game, either by reaching an uncontested 21 or calling for the end of the game after any completed question round and having more points than your opponent, you win $1,000 per point difference in the scores. If the previous game had tied, the winnings was $2,000 per point difference. Unlike the 50's, there was a bonus game, a classic Barry-Enright no skill involved affair, where you essentially played Blackjack against the house. You decide whether the next draw will go to you or the computer, with the computer staying at 17 or up. If you win, you added $2,000 to your score and won a trip.

The kicker, like on the 50's show, was that a returning contestant had the chance to lose money. If a player decided on defending his/her championship, they would lose the money won by the other player in the game they eventually lost. For example, if you had $16,000 going into a game and lost by 7, your final total would be $9,000.

And of course, this was rigged too, since Jim forgot to ask whether to end a game after a round of questions and nobody seemed to mind. You can do that, because it's a pilot, but if you have to, what makes you think the game is going to work, especially five-a-week? Music for the pilot was provided by the Alan Parsons Project, which I believe is some form of hovercraft.


The new modern set of 21.

Your host, the unbespectapled Jim Lange.

The contestants in their booths, no sweaty guy to be found anywhere.

The bonus game, supposedly random, but you never know with a big computer just spouting out numbers.

A ticket from the pilot.


This pilot has been viewed 45 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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