Break the Bank (1985)

Break the Bank (1985)

Infobox Television
show_name = Break the Bank
genre = Game show
writer = Rob Lloyd
director = Richard S. Kline
starring = Gene Rayburn (1985)
Joe Farago (1985-6)
narrated = Michael Hanks
country = USA
language = English
executive_producer = Richard S. Kline
producer = Gary Cox
runtime = 30 min.
channel = Syndication
first_aired = September 16, 1985
last_aired = September 12, 1986
imdb_id = 0088488
tv_com_id =

"Break the Bank" was a game show revived 1985, and once again the new show was completely unconnected to the ones that came before. It debuted September 16 in syndication with Gene Rayburn as host, but by December 20th, he was fired due to a dispute with the producers over its production. Rayburn was replaced by Joe Farago, who had previously been one of the participants for some stunts in the Prize Vault round, the following Monday. Kandace Kuehl was the co-host for the first week of the series and was then replaced afterwards with 1983 Miss USA winner Julie Hayek. V/O artist Michael Hanks was the announcer.

"Break The Bank" was the first game show produced under the "Kline & Friends" Production company, with former Barry & Enright director Richard S. Kline the executive producer and director of the series. Other former Barry & Enright staffers, who joined Kline, such as Gary Cox and D.A. Diana were also part of the staff for "Break The Bank".

In this version, two couples competed to break the bank. There were two formats to the show.

Format #1

The couples competed for "seconds" which would be used in the bonus round. Six questions were asked, the answers to which were one-word clues to a master puzzle.

Values of seconds

Each correct answer was worth different amounts of seconds as follows:

Puzzle solving

In addition to the seconds, the couple with a correct answer could either take a chance at solving the puzzle or answer another question for more seconds. A correct solution to the puzzle won the round, but an incorrect solution gave the opposing couple a chance to answer the next question unopposed. If neither team solved the puzzle after six questions, one more question was asked, the answer being the solution to the puzzle. The first couple to solve two puzzles won the game. If the game ended in a tie, one last round was played but without questions. Each clue to the puzzle was revealed one at a time until one couple buzzed in to solve it. The first couple to solve that puzzle won the game plus an extra 30 seconds.

The prize vault

The winning couple took the seconds they earned and entered them into the bonus game area known as "The Prize Vault". They used this time to participate in various knowledge/skill-based stunts in the endgame's Prize Vault. The Prize Vault featured 8 or 9 stunts with 45 or 50 "Bank Cards". Each completed stunt earned a bonus prize, as well as a choice of up to five Bank Cards for each stunt. During this round, one event was randomly selected to be played for more than one bank card; when that event was chosen, one of the players ran over to the "Number Jumbler" which shuffled numbers from 0-5. The contestant pressed a button to stop the Number Jumbler to determine how many extra bank cards they could take from the Number Jumbler before playing the event that triggered it. This process continued until all the seconds were used up.

Among the Prize Vault stunts/events featured:
* Answering true or false questions from a Celebrity Look-Alike.
* Trying not to laugh for a certain amount of time with a comic routine given by a celebrity comedian.
* Identifing smells or noises while blindfolded.
* Identifing songs played on musical instruments.
* Reciting a faux photo news roundup.
* Reciting a long tongue twister.
* Playing a game of tic-tac-toe with a person in a gorilla suit.
* Identifying charades from a mime.
* Finishing lines to popular songs or comic punchlines or TV and movie quotes.

After earning Bank Cards, the winning couple took them to bank vault to see if they can "break the bank". The couple fed them, one at a time, into an electronic reader to see if it contained the numerical code that would "break the bank". The couple could stop at any time and take a cash and/or prize buyout in exchange of the remaining bank cards in their hands. The bank in question is an accruing jackpot of cash and prizes that started at $20,000 and increased every day by around $1,000 in cash and/or prizes until won. If the couple failed to "break the bank," then on their next trip to the Prize Vault any cards they had used would be removed from the mix (cards they had sold back to the bank would be replaced).

Format #2

Not long after Farago took over as host, the format was adjusted somewhat. In the revised version, correct answers were now worth money instead of seconds, and the game was played to $2,000.

This is how the scoring worked in the new format:

In each of the first two rounds, whoever solved the puzzle won a bonus prize as well.

The bonus game

Whomever reached $2,000 first wins. The winners kept the money won, earned one Bank Card to start with, and played the "Master Puzzle" to earn up to ten more; a randomizer assigned values of one to three bank cards to each of the Master Puzzle's six clues. All forty Bank Cards were displayed on a stand in the Prize Vault, and could now each be worth a different prize or cash amount if they didn't break the bank. The couple could stop at any time and take the cash and prizes accumulated in the round up to that point; however, one card in the mix read "BANKRUPT". If this was picked, the couple lost everything they had won in the bonus round up to that point. As before, one card still broke the bank, and if the team didn't break the bank, and returned to the bonus round, the appropriate number of cards earned in the previous trip to the bonus round were taken out of the mix. However, the BANKRUPT card would always be in the mix, even if was picked previously.

Champions rule

For the first few months of the 80s run, teams stayed on until they won $75,000 or more, or until defeated. Anything over after $75,000 was donated to the teams' favorite charity. Later on, when the rules were changed, any team who broke the bank retired as undefeated champions.

ound effects

The sound effects used on this version of Break the Bank were previously used on other Barry and Enright game shows such as Tic Tac Dough, Hot Potato, The Joker's Wild and Play the Percentages.

Rerun/Episode Status

All rerun episodes of the 1986 version still exist.

Due to legal issues surrounding Gene Rayburn's dismissal from "Break the Bank", his episodes have never reran. Some say this is at his request; however, this is often confused with that of another Rayburn-hosted show, "The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour" (he reportedly hated working with that show's format and the host of the "Hollywood Squares" segment, Jon Bauman). However, no official proof that Rayburn issued a request of any kind has surfaced.

CBN aired reruns of the Joe Farago episodes.

Foreign versions

A French version of the 1985 BTB, "La Porte Magique", aired in the late 80s on the now-defunct network La Cinq. It was hosted by Michel Robbe.

External links

* [ Break the Bank '85 @ Game Show Utopia]
* [ Rules for Break the Bank (1985)]

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