Bill Cullen
Bob Clayton
CBS Daytime: 4/3/1978 – 6/30/1978
Bob Stewart Productions

"Ladies and gentlemen, these 4/3/2 players are about to make instant decisions under pressure. Only the last survivor will win the game and all the money, on "Pass the Buck". With your host, Bill Cullen!"

SPIEL 2 (if the show starts with the Fast Bucks round):
"This is (Contestant's name, occupation, hometown).  He's/She's about to try for $5,000 in 15 seconds, on "Pass the Buck" with your host, Bill Cullen!"

Pass the Buck was a game show where players were given a category and had to list as many possible answers that fit.


Main GameEdit

Four players competed. A category was revealed (e.g., "Food eaten at a fast food restaurant") and the contestants had to come up with as many items that fit it as possible. The order of contestants giving answers went down the line from left to right, with each giving one answer on his/her turn. The bank for each game started at $100, and each correct answer added $25. The most money ever accumulated in the bank was $1,400.

If at any point a player repeated a previous answer or gave an answer that the judges ruled incorrect, the next player in line could give one correct answer and knock that person out of the game, with the eliminated player going to the "bullpen" to sit out the rest of the game. If the second person missed as well, the next person in line could knock out both contestants who answered wrong; if the third person also misses, the fourth could eliminate all three with a correct answer. If all the players alive during a question gave consecutive incorrect answers for a question, that question was thrown out and play would resume with a new question. A new round would begin after a player(s) was/were eliminated from the game, and was played under the same process.

Play continued until one player was left, with that last player winning the contents of the bank and going on to the "Fast Bucks" bonus round.

Fast BucksEdit

The Fast Bucks round was played on a triangular board with four different levels - one box on the top level, two on the second, three on the third, and four on the bottom.

The winning player would begin on the bottom level and was given a category with more defined answers (e.g., people from Happy Days, U.S. States, etc.). The winner's job was to reveal as many of the four hidden answers on the bottom level in 15 seconds.

If the contestant revealed at least one answer on a level, he or she would move up to the next level. The process was the same for the remaining levels. If at any time the player didn't reveal any answers on any level when time expired, the bonus round ends and the player received $100 for each revealed answer on the board. However, if the player revealed all answers on one level OR at least one answer on each of the four levels, he/she won $5,000.

The same four players stayed on the show until one of them won the $5,000, at which point the other three players would leave the show (but would keep any money won up to that point). The $5,000 winner would then face three new challengers.




Ed Sullivan Theater, New York City, NY


72px-TV-G icon svg


Frank Talley

The music would later be reused on the unsold pilot Caught in the Act (2).

The intro to the theme song was originally used in Jackpot and was later used in $50,000 a Minute.



Rules for Pass the Buck @
Pass the Buck @ The Game Show Utopia
Another Pass the Buck Rules Page