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Twisters


Producer: Bob Stewart/Sande Stewart
Host: Jim Perry
Announcer: Jack Clark
Taping Info: 1982
Made it to Air: No
Availability: It has aired on GSN and is available on the trading circuit.

You know, I have always felt that there just isn't enough table shuffleboard on television today. And the Stewart family attempted to come to my rescue with the game Twisters which combined elements of Stewart's Jackpot and unsold pilot $10,000 Sweep with the bonus shuffle of the 1979 version of Goodson-Todman's Beat the Clock. Jim Perry, fresh from his stint on Card Sharks, was chosen to be the host of this pilot.

Ten contestants were brought in, with nine of them sitting on a bizarre altar while the tenth was "King of the Hill." Oddly, the "king" was usually a queen and the "hill" was the lowest part of the stage. The king would then slide a disc across a modified shuffleboard table that has bumpers all around instead of a landing spot on each end. The disc could land on any of ten spaces either the numbers one through or nine or a red spot. If the disc was on a number, the contestant that is designated that number on the altar has two choices of a beginning of a question. This player is hoping the king of the hill would miss the question. If the king misses, the player and the king switch places.

Being the king was important since you had to be the king in order to win the game and go on to the bonus game. For each question the king answered correctly, the number of the selected player was deducted from the score, which started at 40. When the score reached 0, the game was won and the king plus the contestant who was selected to seal the win split $1,000 and tried to qualify for the bonus game.

To qualify for the bonus game, the two players must each answer a question that was started by the other player. Unlike the main game, the players were cooperating so the question part to be chosen needed to be one that would be answered. If both questions were answered correctly, the players moved onto the bonus game. If they failed, no bonus game was played, the king of the hill went back to the altar and the other player became the new king of the hill.

The bonus game was straight out of the 1972 Stewart pilot $10,000 Sweep. Jim Perry would start a question, one player would see the answer and try to complete the question, while the other player would answer the question based on what he/she has heard. If 10 questions were answered in 60 seconds, the duo split $10,000, otherwise, they split $100 per correct answer.

Extra fun things in the game included an automatic win if the disc landed on the final digit of the current game score, and a chance to win the car if the red space was landed on the board. The game was also environmentally friendly, as the theme was recycled from Jackpot and the music played while the disc moved up and down the board was from Chain Reaction. Finally, the player who accumulated the most money over the five days was considered the returning champion and would come back the following week.

I'm surprised this game didn't sell. Not that it would have been a long-term hit, but it would have been one of those games that would have fascinated children and pretty much forced the parents to watch. When Jackpot was revived by the USA Network in 1985, this would have been a better game to try.


Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Its Twisters!

Here's host Jim Perry with the first king of the hill.

The puck goes up and down. A lack of an overhead shot hurt here.

The player on the altar tries to find the question that the King of the Hill can't answer.

A shot from the bonus game.


This pilot has been viewed 8679 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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