|Jack Kelly (1969-1971)|
Joe Garagiola (1971-1974)
Jim Perry (1983-1989)
Rossi Morreale (2007-2008)
|Madelyn Sanders (1969-1974)|
Barbara Lyon (1969-1971)
Kit Dougherty (1971-1974)
Sally Julian (1983)
Lee Menning (1983-1984)
Lou Mulford (Sub for Lee in 1984)
Summer Robin Bartholomew (1984-1989)
|Elaine Hobson (NBC, 1983-1989)|
Connie Downing (NBC, 1983-1985)
David Gibbs (NBC & SYN, 1983-1989)
Gregorio Gaviati (NBC & SYN, 1983-1989)
Lou Mulford (NBC, 1983-1989; sub for Lee)
Lynnda Herrick (NBC, 1985-1989)
Karen Witter (SYN, 1985-1986)
Tina (last name unknown, SYN, 1985-1986
Dara (last name unknown, SYN, 1985)
|Bill Wendell (1969-1974)|
Jay Stewart (1983-1988)
Don Morrow (1988-1989)
Rolonda Watts (2007-2008)
Syndication (Weekly): 9/10/1973 - 9/13/1974
NBC Daytime: 1/3/1983 - 3/24/1989
Syndication (Daily): 1/7/1985 - 9/12/1986
MNTV: 9/5/2007 (2 sneak previews)
Syndication (Daily): 9/10/2007 - 5/23/2008
|Jones/Howard Productions (1969-1974)|
Reg Grundy Productions (1983-1989)
Fremantlemedia North America (2007-2008)
|Program Syndication Services/Screen Gems (1973-1974)|
Genesis Entertainment (1985-1986)
20th Television (2007-2008)
Sale of the Century was a long-running American quiz show mixed in with shopping.
The format centered around three contestants answering general knowledge questions, buying prizes at a low cost, and attempting to win a huge cash jackpot and other big-ticket items, including trips, cars, furs and other luxury merchandise.
Three contestants (one a returning champion) were given $20 to start. The host asked a series of questions, all of which were toss-ups, and only one person can answer each one. During the NBC run, many of the questions asked were based on events or topics that were relevant to the then-present year or then very recently, while the syndicated run used mostly general knowledge questions. The first contestant to buzz-in with a correct answer gets $5, but an incorrect answer loses $5. When a contestant has $0, the player's score display goes blank, and does not show "0", and unlike on Jeopardy! and The Challengers, if a contestant gets a question wrong and already had $0, the score remains at $0 and is never on the negative side. In the 1969-74 version, the players were given $25 to start, and the questions increased in value throughout the game from $5, to $10, to $15 each. From 1973 to 1974, the game was played with two couples; each started with $20 and the $15 questions were replaced by five $20 questions. On the Temptation revival, the contestants' scores were known as "Temptation dollars (T$)".
During the game, the player in the lead (originally all three contestants) or contestants who were tied was given a chance to buy a special prize for a bargain price. To buy the prize, the contestant must hit his/her buzzer; doing so won the prize which became his/hers to keep win or lose, but the bargain value of the prize was deducted from his/her score. On the original version, if a player buzzed in before the prize was revealed, the sale price was deducted from his/her score without buying the prize. Jim Perry usually tempted the contestant by offering some extra cash and/or lowering the bargain price of the prize, and afterward he said, "Going once, Going twice." If the contestant did not ring in, he said, “No sale.” Sometimes instant bargains offered "Sale Surprises", which were bonus cash amounts ranging from about $500 to $1,000, and the contestant who bought the prize got the bonus cash. Sale Surprises were added to the show by May 1984. The surprise would only be revealed either after the player bought the prize, or after Jim said, “No sale.”
During the 1985-1986 syndicated run, the typical values of Instant Bargains were accordingly:
- First: $300-$800, "yours today for only" $5-$6.
- Second: $600-$1,500, "yours today for only" $9-$12.
- Third: $900-$2,500, "yours today for only" $13-$17.
By mid-1986 on the daytime version, with Instant Cash played as the third Instant Bargain, the first segment could be worth as much as $1,500 and the second sometimes was as much as $3,000. During that time, the first Instant Bargain would be offered for $5 or $6, while the second was offered for $10 or $11.
On occasion, a Sale "Garage Sale" was held during one of the Instant Bargain segments, which was simply a collection of three to five prizes previously offered in Instant Bargains but not won. If the player(s) eligible for the Instant Bargain passed, Perry would open up the Instant Bargain to the other players, and would often lower the price to as low as $1 until someone decided to buy or all three players declined and a "no sale" was declared. The "Garage Sale" was the only time any of the players could potentially buy an Instant Bargain, and Perry noted that this opportunity allowed players who were well behind and not likely to win an opportunity to come away with some prize winnings.
Beginning in March 1986, the third Instant Bargain was replaced with the new Instant Cash. The player in the lead faced three black boxes numbered 1, 2 and 3. Two of them had $100 bills while the one remaining one contained a cash jackpot which started at $1,000 plus $1,000 more for every day it's not won. To play, the player in the lead must surrender his/her lead (the price was the difference between the leader and the second place player). In case of a tie for the lead, a dutch auction was held between those players. If he/she decided to play (by hitting his/her buzzer) or whoever decided to play, the player selected one of the boxes and whatever the amount inside was his/hers to keep.
Temptation's Instant CashEdit
The Temptation revival's Instant Cash was different from the 80s show; the boxes were replaced with wallets (red, white & brown), and the jackpot started at $500 and grew by that amount until won with a maximum of $5,000.
There was no Fame Game in the original version; it was added when the show returned in 1983.
80s Fame GameEdit
In the 80s version, and in all three rounds, all three players got to participate in the Fame Game. The host read a "Who am I?"-typed question in which the clues get easier as time progressed. The first player to buzz in had a chance to answer. An incorrect answer forced that player to sit out the rest of the question without money penalties. The first contestant to buzz in with a correct answer faced a game board with nine numbers (1-9). Behind those numbers were cash awards, prizes, surprises and Money Cards (this was obviously taken from Jim Perry's previous show, Card Sharks). Denominations of $10, $15 and $25 were added respectively in each round. By early-1985, there was an occasional $5 Money Card as well. The player in control chose a number, and whatever cash and prizes he/she found now belonged to that player, regardless of the outcome of the game. If a Money Card was found, its value was added to the player's score. Plus, at various times during the run, there were two spaces (three in the more earlier episodes) that gave the player in control to either take a cash prize or choose another number (one marked $400 and called "$400 or Pick Again" (sometimes accompanied by a space marked $200 and called "$200 or Pick Again"), the other a mystery amount between $1.75 & $1,500. That's called "Mystery Money or Pick Again"). At one time in 1984, there was a space called "True or False".
The prizes themselves ranged in value from just more than $100 to $500 during the first year; by 1984, all Fame Game prizes were worth at least $200, and although some were worth as much as $2,000, they mostly tended to fall within the $300-$750 range.
When the show started, the Fame Game board consisted of faces of celebrities (many of them NBC-related) instead of numbers. There was only one Money Card (the $25 Money Card) hidden on the board, and the rest were prizes. So finding the $25 Money Card early made the other Fame Game(s) useless since there were only prizes left. By July 1983, the $10 and $15 Money Cards would start to appear on the board.
Beginning in October 1985, the board became randomized (ala Press Your Luck). Lights around the numbers would flash at random, and stopped when the player in control hit his/her buzzer. In addition "Mystery Money or Pick Again" was renamed "Mystery Money or Try Again"; plus, the Money Cards were revealed at the outset. Once the player landed the number and whatever the player gets, whatever's hit will be taken off the board for the next Fame Game to come after.
On a special week from September 15-19, 1986, the board was used as a Play-Along Home Viewer Sweepstakes. Before the show, Summer Bartholomew drew three cards out of the bin. Unlike the regular Fame Game, instead of prizes, all other numbers are cash. Whatever the player hits, the Home Viewer gets the money. If a player hits the Money Card, the Home Viewer wins $1,000.
On special weeks from 1988 to 1989, the board was used to determine who would win a brand new car in a game of high number wins.
Temptation Fame GameEdit
In the short-lived Temptation's Fame Game, while host Morreale read a "Who am I?"-typed question, letters in the correct answer appeared one at a time (a la Wheel of Fortune's Toss-Up Puzzles & Scrabble's Speedword). There was no game board in this version; a correct answer won $15 to the contestant with the correct answer. Plus the Fame Game was only played once (though in an earlier episode, there was a second Fame Game with the value being $25).
Knock-Off (Temptation Only)Edit
The short-lived Temptation revival also had a new round called "Knock Off", which was played just like the 80s game show Wipeout.
A category was revealed, followed by 12 possible answers on a game board. Nine of them were correct answers which had money amounts behind them, while the remaining three were wrong, those were dubbed "Knock-Offs". The three contestants took turns picking off answers and each time a correct answer was chosen, the contestant in control won money behind the answer; but if the answer selected was a Knock-Off, the person who picked that was eliminated from the round.
Four of the answers (sometimes two) were worth $2, (sometimes) another two of the answers were worth $3, three were worth $5, one was worth $10, and one was the least obvious answer and was worth $15.
The round ended when all three players were eliminated or if all the money amounts were found (all the correct answers were chosen).
For the first year in the 80s version, host Perry would read three more $5 questions for a total of $15. This was scrapped when many games were already decided prior to this, in favor of the well-remembered Speed Round by late-March 1984.
In the Speed Round, the host would ask as many questions as possible during the next 60 seconds (originally 90, 30 in the Temptation revival with two others played earlier in the game). Correct answers were still worth $5 in the 80s version, and doubled to $10 in the Temptation revival.
- The original cue for the "Speed Round" (used from 1984 to 1986) was also used for the "Winner's Circle" bonus round from Pyramid.
- Another cue that sounded similar to the "Speed Round" (and the "Winner's Circle" bonus round from Pyramid) was also used on a 1990 unsold game show pilot called Body Talk hosted by Vicki Lawrence.
The player with the most money won the game. If there was a tie at the end, the host would read one final question (a Fame Game/Who am I question in the earlier months of the 80s version). A correct answer won $5 more and the game, but an incorrect answer cost $5 and the game. In the case of a three way tie, the first contestant to buzz-in and miss was out of the game. The winning player became Sale of the Century champion and in the final years of the show also won a bonus prize (originally a choice of one behind numbers 1-6), while the losers kept their final scores in cash in addition to everything else.
The "Temptation dollars (T$)" in the Temptation revival were not valid currency; so there was always a possibility that any losing contestant would leave with nothing except unacknowledged parting gifts.
The champion won a chance to buy a grand prize at a bargain price using his/her winning score. Six prizes were on display with the biggest prize being a brand new luxury car. The champion can either buy the grand prize which he/she had enough money to buy with and leave the show, or return on the next show with the money scored that day being added to the next day's winning score. In the 60s & 70s version and in the 80s version Tournament of Champions, (grand) champions can buy more than one prize. Occasionally in the 80s version, if a champion scored more than enough to buy the next prize in line while shooting for the intended target prize, then the champion had a choice of two prizes. In the Temptation revival, the contestant always had a choice of prizes no matter how much money s/he had. In the 60s & 70s versions and in the Temptation revival, the highest the winning contestant can buy was a new car.
On the 1973-1974 syndicated series, the winning couple answered a series of questions worth $100 and could stop at anytime and buy one of three prizes (trip, fur, or car). Later, the couple must correctly answer three questions, the difficulty of which depended on the value of the prize; low end prize was $50 a question, medium $100 and high end $200.
During the first few months of the 1980s run, the prices for the six onstage prizes tended to vary, although $510 was always originally the goal for the Lot. By about mid-April 1983, the prices were fixed to:
- $55 - $2,000 to $2,500 prize
- $120 - $3,500 to $4,000 prize
- $185 - $5,000 to $7,000 prize
- $250 - $10,000 to $12,000 prize
- $335 - $20,000 to $25,000 prize (typically a boat, but occasionally other prizes)
- $420 - $35,000+ car (in the earliest months a Mercedes-Benz, later a Cadillac)
- $510 - Originally, all of the above plus enough cash to round out the Lot to exactly $95,000. Beginning on May 30, 1983, this level became a Cash Jackpot that started at $50,000 and went up by $1,000 per day until won.
- $600 - Once the Cash Jackpot was added, $600 was the goal for the Lot (all six prizes and the Cash Jackpot).
Once the Speed Round came into play in March 1984, the values were upped to the following:
- $540 (car)
- $650 (Cash Jackpot)
- $760 (The Lot)
When the syndicated series debuted, the prize structure ran as follows, with each of the first five levels below roughly corresponding to the same spot prize-wise as the daytime run:
- $610 (car)
- $720 (all prizes)
- $830 (The Lot)
Beginning on the 16th episode (January 28, 1985), these were tweaked slightly to their more familiar structure:
- $85 (unchanged)
- $530 (car)
- $640 (all prizes)
- $750 (The Lot)
The price drops were probably done to make getting the prizes a bit easier: during the first three weeks, no champion stayed on for more than four days, no player banked more than $223, and nobody opted to purchase an endgame prize. Note also the progression: for the first three weeks, the price jumps were $110-$90-$105-$95-$125-$110-$110, whereas the standard structure had jumps of $90-$85-$80-$105-$85-$110-$110.
Big Winners during the 80s shopping eraEdit
- Mort Kamins: Was the very first Lot winner in the 1980s revival, and the only one to win the original $95,000 Lot, in early 1983. He later went on to win the very first Tournament of Champions (November 1983), winning a grand total of $249,982.
- Richard Heft: Won an $82,000 Cash Jackpot in July 1983. Was the first person to claim the jackpot.
- Barbara Philips: Won $151,689 in August 1983, becoming the first contestant to win over $150,000 on a daytime network show. On her final show, Phillips needed $116 to win all the prizes plus the Cash Jackpot ($68,000), and she won everything in dramatic fashion, needing to answer the final three $5 questions correctly, thus making her the only player to win all the prizes and the Cash Jackpot as well as the second and final daytime player to win the Lot – all the other big network winners took the Cash Jackpot and left.
- Kathy Riley: Won a $78,000 Cash Jackpot in January 1984, albeit in a rather anticlimatic fashion – Kathy was $15 ahead of Bob, one of her opponents, as the game was going to the final three questions, ergo Bob needed to answer all three to tie the game. Roger, who was in a distant third, buzzed in on the first question, therefore giving Kathy the Cash Jackpot by default...although nobody seemed to realize this until Bob missed the second question, at which point Jim threw away the last and declared Kathy the winner. The Speed Round was instituted shortly thereafter.
- David Rogers: Won $122,084 in April 1984, including a $109,000 Cash Jackpot (the highest ever won on the show). His big win came just two weeks after a previous champion, Dawn McKellar, tried for a $99,000 Jackpot but lost the game by just $2. Rogers was among the first big winners since the incorporation of the Speed Round, and later appeared on Jeopardy! in 1987 (under the name David Nagy).
- Bill Baxter: Won a $70,000 Cash Jackpot in somewhat dramatic fashion in May 1984 and left with total winnings of $85,256. Baxter had a total of $659 in his account the day of his big win, and would've needed to come back the next day and win with at least $101 to get the Lot, which totaled $142,855.
- Stephanie Holmquist: Won a $74,000 Cash Jackpot in June 1984 with her bank account on the show. Her cash and prize total was $83,337. Stephanie had $723 when she bought the Jackpot, and she would have needed at least $37 or more on the next show to win the Lot, which totaled $147,095. In 1985, she appeared again, this time in the Tournament of Champions, where she won $35,000 and a Porsche. Her total winnings were $152,897, which was the highest ever in daytime at that time, until her record was overtaken by Tom O'Brien two years later.
- Susan Wolfe: Won $69,798 in Summer 1984, including a $61,000 Cash Jackpot.
- Bill Fogel: Won $66,459 in late 1984, including a $61,000 Cash Jackpot, but not before winning the game with $145 (setting an all-time main game record). Bill was the last big-money winner of the NBC shopping era and had a total of $721 in his account the day of his big win; a win of just $39 more would have won the Lot, which totaled $131,761.
- John Goss: Won $156,339, including a $72,000 Cash Jackpot, in February 1985, becoming the first player on this version to win the Lot. In his final game, Goss had $655 in his account, needing at least $95 to win everything on the stage, and he won the game with exactly $95. It was revealed after his big win that John was between jobs at the time, making the fact he continued to take risks that much more remarkable.
- Helaine Lowey: Won $142,974 in February 1985, including a $64,000 Cash Jackpot. On her final show, Lowey had $703 in her account, needing at least $47 to win the Lot.
- Alice Conkright: Won $141,406 in April 1985, including a $77,000 Jackpot, in only six shows (the shortest amount of time it took anyone to do so on the American version; the three other nighttime lot winners all needed eight shows to win) and won every single show with at least $115, including a record $145 (tying Bill Fogel's record) on two separate occasions. On her first show, she defeated Michael Friedman, who himself needed $101 to win the $72,000 Cash Jackpot. In her final show, Conkright had $660 in her account, needing at least $90 for the Lot. She won her final game easily with $115 to her opponents who finished with $20 and $25 respectively.
- In addition to her adeptness at answering questions, she refused to buy any of the Instant Bargains she had a chance to take despite the cajoling of host Jim Perry, even when she had seemingly insurmountable leads (which kept her scores relatively high). Jim remarked on her final show she had turned down a total of $11,000 in cash offers along with the Instant Bargain prizes.
- Tim Holleran: Won $166,875 in September 1985, including a $90,000 Cash Jackpot (the highest it ever got on this version, and second only to the $109,000 jackpot won by David Rogers in daytime), becoming the biggest winner in American Sale history (notwithstanding tournaments). In his final show, Holleran had $707 in his account, needing at least $43 for the Lot. In 1987, Holleran competed in the International Invitational Tournament, and was the United States' representative in the Finals. He finished second place to Cary Young of Australia, but won additional money during the Tournament, giving him a final total of $183,373. NOTE: A young Kevin Nealon appeared onstage to congratulate Tim after his Lot win.
Super Knock-Off (Temptation Only)Edit
Super Knock-Off was played like regular Knock-Off except that it was a 50/50 split (six right, six wrong), the money amounts were now higher, and only the winning contestant can play. Any money collected in this round affected the main game score plus any money in the bank should the winning make a return trip.
Once again, a category was revealed followed by the 12 possible answers. The winning contestant picked off answers one at a time and each time a correct answer was chosen, he/she won the money attached to that answer. But if at any time a Knock-Off was chosen, the winning contestant lost all the money accumulated in that round. But to prevent this from happening, the winning contestant had an option to stop and take the money after each correct answer.
Four of the correct answers were worth $25, one was the second least obvious answer worth $50, one was the least obvious answer and was worth $100, for a maximum total of $250.
80s Bonus GamesEdit
In the later years of the 80s revival, the shopping format was dropped, and new bonus rounds were played.
Starting in October 1984 on the NBC version, and November 18, 1985 on the syndicated version, the winning contestant faced the Winner's Board. The Winner's Board consisted of 20 numbered squares. Behind those numbers were seven matching pairs of prizes (one of which was $3,000), and two WIN cards which constituted an automatic match. The champion picked off numbers to reveal the prizes; the first prize matched was the prize won. If at any time one of the WIN cards was revealed, the next prize revealed was the prize won. The two biggest prizes were $10,000 and a new car; they both appeared only once. To win either one of those, the player must first find one of the WIN cards, then find one of the biggest prizes. Should the two big prizes be left on the board, then only two numbers hiding those prizes would be shown. There was no bonus for finding both WIN cards in succession; the champion simply picked another number.
The combined value of all the prizes, including $13,000 cash, nominally added up to between $50,000-$60,000.
Once the board was cleared (all prizes matched), the champion must then make a decision to either keep all the prizes and retire, or play one more game for a chance at adding an additional $50,000. The catch in the latter instance was that the contestant, if they wanted the opportunity, had to put all 10 of the Winner's Board prizes up as collateral -- essentially, it was a form of the player competing against the house. (All front game prizes were not at risk.) A win by at least $1 meant claiming the $50,000 plus keeping the 10 Winner's Board prizes and retiring undefeated. However, if one of the contestant's opponents won, the champion lost all 10 Winner's Board prizes.
Based on circulating episodes and fan recollections, all contestants who took the risk won their final game. However, more than once, the final game came down to the closing seconds of the Speedround before the win was secured, and at least once -- in the case of Mark DeCarlo, in April 1985 -- a tiebreaker was needed to determine the day's winner; he won after the opponent he was tied with at the end of the Speedround rang in too early and gave an incorrect answer, costing her $5 and the game.
Furthermore, there were at least six daytime contestants -- Jeff Hewitt and Margerite Newhouse (both in 1984), Tim O'Rourke and Dave Goodman (1985), Judy Cahill (1986), and Andy Ross (1987) -- who opted to walk away after winning their 10th game. Plus, there were several contestants who lost on their 10th game, with two of those contestants failing to win only the car and another needing to clear just the $10,000 cash jackpot. Another 10th-game loser, Jody Spreckles, was invited back to a show after a judge's error was discovered; she reclaimed her championship by defeating a six-day champion, and went on to win the $50,000 bonus after a suspenseful Speed Round.
In the transition from the Shopping to the Winner's Board, the champion at that point was given the option to leave with the prize offered, or keep the prize and continue as champion into the new format. In both the daytime show and the syndicated series, the champion chose the latter. Debbie Morris, the champion on the NBC show kept a prize and on the first ever Winner's Board show the champion successfully defended her crown (winning a TV). The champion on the syndicated show kept a $5,000 custom women's wardrobe (by French designer Ted Lapidus) and on the first syndicated Winner's Board show the champion successfully defended his crown (winning a Beverly Hills Shopping Spree).
Big Winners from this eraEdit
- Jeff Hewitt: One of the first to clear the Winner's Board in late 1984, Jeff declined to go for the $50,000 bonus, leaving with $72,794.
- Margerite Newhouse: Won over $65,000 in late 1984, including winning a new Mercedes-Benz in dramatic fashion during her next-to last game with two prizes and four numbers left on the Winner's Board. Newhouse declined to go for the $50,000 bonus.
- During the debut of the Winner's Board format, she lost due to an error (Debbie Morris, the last winner of the previous bonus, won that day), so she was brought back a few weeks later.
- Tim O'Rourke: Tim won $62,843 in January 1985, declining to go for the $50,000 bonus.
- Cindy Barr: Won $111,590 in 1985; her final-day score was 115, and her 10th-day prize was a white-iron and brass-accented bed. During her congratulatory celebration, Barr announced that a portion of their winning was going to various charities to feed children in Africa.
- Mark DeCarlo: His final game (April 1985) came down to a climactic tiebreaker. His opponent buzzed in early and answered incorrectly, which by default netted him the win and the $50,000 bonus, for a grand total of $115,257. He was the first contestant to win the $50,000 bonus. He won $10,000 on his 10th day; prior to that, he picked up a Mexican cruise, a pearl necklace, a lady's fur coat, a high-end stereo system and a Nissan 300 ZX T-top 2 dr. coupe from the Winner's Board.
- Jeff Colbern: Won $123,753 in April 1985, including an Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham 2 door coupe (won on his 10th day).
- Dave Goodman: Who took home $64,045 in October 1985, opting to retire undefeated after winning $10,000 on his 10th day.
- Judy Cahill: In January 1986, she won $89,780; her 10th day prize was a Persian rug. Deciding she (and her husband) could do a lot of good with what had been won, she walked away.
- Richard White: An attorney who won over $120,000 in May 1986, including $70,000 cash. His wife Rani won over $140,000 in the Winner's Big Money game era in April 1988, becoming the only person to win the $50,000 bonus there.
- Jody Spreckles: Won $107,462 in August 1986. She won her final game by $10. She had earlier lost her 10th game, but due to an error that cost her that game, she was invited back, reclaimed her championship (picking up $3,000 cash upon doing so) and went on to win everything.
- Diane Cross: In January 1987, she was a big winner during the final year of the Winner's Board era, and was invited back for the final Tournament of Champions in 1988 and was that year's biggest tournament winner, having won a Mercedes-Benz worth over $30,000, plus other cash and prizes previously, including over $80,000 in cash and prizes during her run in the Winter of 1987. Among the prizes she won in 1987 included a $21,000+ Ferrari Daytona Spyder, a $2,000+ trip to London, England, and an unusual trip to an underwater hotel in Key Largo worth about $4,000. She won other prizes during the Tournament of Champions in 1988 along with the Mercedes-Benz, giving her a grand total of $146,995.
- Andy Ross: Won $81,900 in early 1987 (known to have been during the run of Bill Rafferty's Blockbusters), declining to go for the $50,000 bonus.
- Linda Credit: Won $140,457 in June 1987, including a $14,000 Instant Cash jackpot. She then played in the 1988 Tournament of Champions and won another $5,700, for a total of $146,157. One of the last big winners during the Winner's Board era.
- Tom O'Brien: The last big winner of the Winner's Board era, Tom won a total of $152,847 in his first eleven games. He was brought back for the final Tournament of Champions in 1988 and added another $20,217 to his winnings, giving him the then-biggest ever daytime total of $173,064.
- It is theorized (but not certain) that this is the same Tom O'Brien who later won $500,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He chose to walk away after seeing his $1,000,000 question, and was the first contestant to realize that he would have won it had he not opted to stop.
- Curtis Warren: One of two Winner's Board lot winners on the syndicated show. In January 1986, he left with $136,288, including $69,600 cash; his Winner's Board take was $56,241, including a Nissan 300ZX. He would later go on to win $1.41 million on Greed in 2000, which at the time was the all-time winnings record (has since been broken four times, most recently by Brad Rutter). He also won $700 on Win Ben Stein's Money after he failed to beat Ben in the Best of 10 Test of Knowledge.
- Lisa Muñoz: Won $122,551 in February and March 1986, including the $50,000 bonus. Lisa won her final game with a whopping $140.
Winner's Big Money GameEdit
On December 28, 1987, the bonus was changed one more time. In the Winner's Big Money Game, the day's champion had solve a series of six-clue word puzzles within the time limit. To start, host Perry gave the champ a choice three envelopes (red, yellow, or blue). Whatever the choice, the player started to hear and see the words of each puzzle appear one at a time; as soon as the contestant knew what the puzzle was talking about he/she must hit a plunger in front of the player to stop the clock (the clock started when the first word appeared). If the champ is correct, he/she won the puzzle and a circled checkmark lit up on the winner's podium. The champion can miss one time and continue, but two misses or time running out ended the game. The player can buzz-in and opt to pass without penalty if he/she can't come up with an answer. Solving four puzzles in 20 seconds (originally five in 25 seconds until sometime in 1988) won the champion $5,000 plus $1,000 for every return trip till he/she played the $10,000 game; and then the next Winner's Big Money Game was worth a new car. Losing that game meant the player left the show, but winning the car gave the champion the right to play one more game. Winning that final game earned a chance to play one last Winner's Big Money Game for $50,000.
Two people made it to the $50,000 Winner's Big Money Game, but only one won it. Veteran game show contestant LaRae Dillman in January 1989 and Darrell Garrison during the last week of the show in March 1989 both made it to the seventh Winner's Big Money Game, but both lost when playing for the car. The $50,000 bonus appears to have been eliminated sometime between late October 1988 and March 1989, as Darrell was told on-air that his last time playing the bonus would be for the car, and there was no mention of the $50,000 bonus when LaRae was playing for the car in January 1989. Ironically, the $50,000 top prize was still mentioned in the opening spiel despite having been eliminated.
- The Winner's Big Money Game was originally the bonus round of the unsold 1985 Reg Grundy pilot Matchmates, hosted by Michael Burger.
Big Winners from this eraEdit
- Rani White: Won $140,011 in May 1988. She was the only contestant to win the $50,000 bonus during this era.
- Phil Cambry: Won $91,323 in October 1988. He won his final game, but missed the $50,000 bonus.
- Darrell Garrison: Won $79,348 during the final weeks of the series in March 1989.
During the NBC run, there were tournaments held at least once a season. These tournaments likely occurred during a sweeps period, when major ratings events tend to occur. There were no tournaments in the syndicated run.
The first Tournament of Champions was held in Fall 1983. In this first tournament, there were three weeks of semi-final games. Players accumulated money over the course of a week until Friday, when the person with the highest score would win the week and spend that money on luxury merchandise (even a combination of merchandise if the player accumulated enough money by Friday), with the top prize being $50,000 cash for $510.
The winners of the semi-finals would qualify for the finals, where the winner would supposedly win a Chevrolet Corvette and $50,000 cash.
Winner's Board EraEdit
The 1985 tournament had 18 players, all of whom played during either the Shopping or Winner's Board eras, competing three at a time until two players were left. The finals were best-of-three, with the winner getting a $25,000 Porsche and $25,000 cash.
The 1987 International Invitational Tournament had various winners from 1984 to 1986, as well as big winners representing Australia and Canada. At least Alice Conkwright and Tim Holleran were brought back from the 1985-86 syndicated run to participate, although Alice didn't do well, possibly because the NBC version's questions tended to be based on current events whereas the syndicated series almost never used them. It is believed that the winner of a match in this tournament would play the Winner's Board, though s/he would not be able to clear the board on their own. The finals were a best-of-seven playoff between the three countries' finalists; the first player to win three games received a Chevrolet Corvette. It is believed that this tournament was originally broadcast in May 1987, since that is a sweeps period, but not in February 1987, as NBC's big event during February sweeps was the "Car-azy February Sweepstakes."
Winner's Big Money Game EraEdit
In 1988, supposedly in February (as the "5 answers in 25 seconds" rule was present, plus Don Morrow had recently taken over as announcer by that point; Rani White's $50,000 win happened in May, by which point the "4 in 20" rule was in place), the nine top winners from 1987 would participate in three days of semi-finals. The winner of each semi-final match played the Winner's Big Money Game for an extra $5,000.
On Thursday of the first week, the three finalists would play a series of matches for up to four days. If a player win his/her first match, he/she would play the Winner's Big Money Game for $10,000; but the first player to win two matches in the finals would get $10,000 in guaranteed cash and play the Winner's Big Money Game for a $32,195 Mercedes-Benz. Unlike previous tournaments, there was a possibility that the player could have lost the car, resulting in the tournament ending on a sad note, but this was not the case as the car was won. This would possibly be the last time a car valued at $30,000 or greater was offered during the NBC run.
Although there were no tournaments of champions after February 1988, there were other tournaments that occurred that did not involve former champions. One example is the Salute to True Romance, in November 1988, which involved new players for the first nine shows, and the top three winners among those nine shows would play one final match where the winner would automatically win a new car valued at least $13,000. The Winner's Big Money Game was played for $5,000 on each episode during the first nine episodes, but on the finals, no end game was played. The finals during the Salute to True Romance tournament, oddly enough, involved three men competing, and was the last time in the series that three men competed.
In February 1989, as the series' final sweeps stunt, the show held Brides Week, which had three female newlywed contestants every day that week. The Winner's Big Money Game was played for a flat $5,000 each day. The winner of each match during that week, including Friday, would play a special end game after the Winner's Big Money Game on Friday, where the Fame Game board was used, and each contestant would stop the board on a number 1 to 9. The player with the highest number won a new car. In the event of a tie for the highest number, the contestants involved would play a tiebreaker until a winner was declared. The Friday episode of Brides Week was the last time a car was won by a contestant in the series.
Two other such tournament weeks involving the Fame Game board to determine the winner of a new car included the End of Summer Bash during August 29-September 2, 1988, and Pep Rally Week in October 1988. The grand prize for each was a Jeep Wrangler, with the same Fame Game "highest number wins game" used later on Brides Week played on the Friday episode for the car.
The following are a list of countries that did their own versions of Sale of the Century and/or Temptation:
- France (two 1995 pilots that have never made it to air)
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
In Popular CultureEdit
Sale of the Century was featured in the 1988 film Rain Man.
Brief footage from an episode of Sale of the Century did appear in the 1986 music video "Welcome to the Boomtown" by the music group David & David. There is no certainty if footage was from the NBC or syndicated run, but it definitely aired no earlier than May 1984 because Version 2.0 of the contestant podiums, which first appeared in May 1984, were prevalent. The footage can be seen at about 1:49 in the video, and it appears the footage is from about the start of the match; plus, two of the contestants' names are Steve and Sarah. It is possible that such footage was from Ep. S-114, originally aired on October 3, 1985 - about one year before the music video was released.
The glass money briefcase used to represent the cash jackpot or $50,000 was also used on Sale of the Century’s sister show Scrabble during the finale of its 1985 Tournament of Champions.
In 2001, TV Guide ranked Sale of the Century #41 as one of The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All-Time. Prior to this, the show was also mention of "The 60 Greatest Game Shows of All-Time" as a list of "The Other 50" (in alphabetical order) in 2013.
Before GSN and Buzzr, USA Network originally aired reruns of the entire 270 episodes of the 1985-86 syndicated version and 120 episodes of the 1988-89 NBC daytime version from 1992 until 1994 for a total of 390 episodes.
In 2006, GSN ranked Sale of the Century #34 as one of The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All-Time. The special was hosted by Bil Dwyer. Interestingly enough, Sale (80s version) had not been on the GSN schedule (save for a few clips in a GSN special) until March 2013, when the network announced their acquisition of 65 episodes from the 1988-89 (final) season, which began airing on April 1. The 1985-86 syndicated version of Sale began airing on the network in November. Those episodes aired on GSN until March 2015, when the network dropped the show from the schedule. Buzzr later started broadcasting reruns from the 1985-86 syndicated version in September 2015.
Sale of the CenturyEdit
Milton Bradley era (1969-1970)Edit
Based on the 1969-1974 version in two editions.
American Publishing Corp. era (1986)Edit
featuring the "Quizzard" game system based upon the 1983-89 version of the show.
Video Slot MachineEdit
IGT/International Game Technology (2003)Edit
Released as part of their "Game Show Greats" lineup, its logo was based on the 1983-89 version, but instead of Jim Perry, Joe Garagiola (who hosted the show from 1971 to 1974) appeared in the game.
Unreleased Video GameEdit
The Great Game Company (1983)Edit
A cancelled video game version of Sale of the Century based upon the 1983-89 version was planned to be released for the Atari 2600, but since the Video Game Crash at the time, the project never got off the ground; therefore, it was cancelled.
Temptation: The New Sale of the CenturyEdit
Before commercial breaks, offers for products at discounted prices were advertised. These items were purchased online through the show's official site. The offers were originally separate items, but later became generic "60% off retail" plug offers.
1969 - Al Howard and Irwin Bazelon
1983 - "Mercedes" by Ray & Marc Ellis
1987 - Ray & Marc Ellis
2007 (Preview) - Used same theme as the Australian version
2007 (Series) - Unknown
Lyrics to Temptation: The New Sale of the Century Theme Song (2007)Edit
You can't fight the Temptation!
Can you hear it call?
The Best 80s & 90s Game Shows: Sale of the Century
Rules for Sale of the Century @ loogslair.net
Rules for Sale of the Century @ Game Show Temple
Josh's Sale of the Century Rules Page
Travis' Sale of the Century Rules Page
Another Sale of the Century Rules Page
A Blog about "Sale of the Century"
Official Pearson website for Sale of the Century via Internet Archive
Sale of the Century program description @ Fremantlemedia (via Internet Archive)
Lou Mulford's Sale of the Century Demo Reel
Jim Perry Promoting Daytime Wheel...ON THE SET OF SALE OF THE CENTURY?
Barbara Philips becomes one of the biggest winners in the series
Winner's Board Debut
Mark DeCarlo takes a risk and goes for over $100,000