The Pricing Games
To use this section of the FAQ, go into the menu below and click on the name of any pricing game. You’ll be shown when it debuted, when it was retired (only if it is retired, of course), and when any other significant changes happened to it.
- 1 Add 'em Up
- 2 Any Number
- 3 Back to '72
- 4 Balance Game ('84)
- 5 Balance Game ('06)
- 6 Barker's Bargain Bar/Bargain Game
- 7 Barker's Marker$/Make Your Mark
- 8 Blank Check/Check Game
- 9 Bonkers
- 10 Bonus Game
- 11 Bullseye ('72)
- 12 Bullseye ('76)
- 13 Bump
- 14 Buy or Sell
- 15 Card Game
- 16 Check-Out
- 17 Clearance Sale
- 18 Cliff Hangers
- 19 Clock Game
- 20 Coming or Going
- 21 Cover Up
- 22 Credit Card
- 23 Danger Price
- 24 Dice Game
- 25 Do the Math
- 26 Double Bullseye
- 27 Double Cross
- 28 Double Digits
- 29 Double Prices
- 30 Eazy az 1 2 3
- 31 Finish Line
- 32 Five Price Tags/5 Price Tags
- 33 Flip Flop
- 34 Fortune Hunter
- 35 Freeze Frame
- 36 Gallery Game
- 37 Gas Money
- 38 Give or Keep
- 39 Golden Road
- 40 Grand Game
- 41 Gridlock!
- 42 Grocery Game
- 43 1/2 Off
- 44 Hi Lo
- 45 Hit Me
- 46 Hole in One
- 47 Hot Seat
- 48 Hurdles
- 49 It's in the Bag
- 50 It's Optional
- 51 Joker
- 52 Let 'em Roll
- 53 Line em Up
- 54 Lucky $even
- 55 Magic #
- 56 Make Your Move
- 57 Master Key
- 58 Money Game
- 59 More or Less
- 60 Most Expen$ive
- 61 Mystery Price
- 62 Now....and Then/Now....or Then
- 63 On the Nose
- 64 On the Spot
- 65 One Away
- 66 1 Right Price
- 67 1 Wrong Price/One Wrøng Price
- 68 Pass the Buck
- 69 Pathfinder
- 70 Pay the Rent
- 71 Penny Ante
- 72 The Phone Home Game
- 73 Pick-a-Pair
- 74 Pick-a-Number
- 75 Plinko
- 76 Pocket ¢hange
- 77 Poker Game
- 78 Professor Price
- 79 Punch a Bunch
- 80 Push Over
- 81 Race Game
- 82 Range Game
- 83 Rat Race
- 84 Safe Crackers
- 85 Secret "X"
- 86 Shell Game
- 87 Shopping Spree
- 88 Shower Game
- 89 Side by Side
- 90 Spelling Bee
- 91 Split Decision
- 92 Squeeze Play
- 93 Stack the Deck
- 94 Step Up
- 95 Super Ball!!
- 96 $uper $aver
- 97 Swap Meet
- 98 Switch?
- 99 Switcheroo
- 100 Take Two
- 101 Telephone Game
- 102 Temptation
- 103 Ten Chances/10 Chances
- 104 That's Too Much!
- 105 3 Strikes
- 106 Time I$ Møney
- 107 To the Penny
- 108 Trader Bob
- 109 Triple Play
- 110 2 for the Price of 1
- 111 Vend-O-Price
- 112 Walk of Fame
Add 'em Up
Debut: September 11, 1986; fourth show of Season 15; 61st game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 3, 1988.
Add ‘em Up appears on a few episode schedules between its final playing and November 10, but it was replaced with other games on all shows after October 3.
Add ‘em Up was retired because contestants had trouble understanding it, which led to the game taking too long.
The price display in this game was originally topped with an Add ‘em Up logo; the sign was removed after Pathfinder debuted, since the prop was used in both games. In fact, the entire prop is still stationed behind the Pathfinder board; part of it could be seen on-camera on MDS 26 and on October 2, 2018.
Although it was in the rotation during the late ‘80s, Add ‘em Up was never played for a 5-digit car.
Debut: September 4, 1972; 1st game to debut.
Any Number, obviously, was the first pricing game ever played. It was also the first game played on the '70s nighttime show and the last game on Bob's final episode, and it was played on Drew's first episode, as well.
Any Number's logo was added to its original board on May 28, 1974. For a few months before this, Bob frequently referred to the game as “Any Number Wins.”
While Any Number's prize reveal always goes immediately from the 3-digit prize to the car nowadays, in the show's early years, there was frequently a small discussion between Bob and the contestant between there reveals, or the 3-digit prize might be revealed after the car. Dennis James is also known to have done the reveal drastically differently on at least two Season 1 nighttime shows, first showing the car, then having the board come around with the 3-digit prize concealed, and then revealing that prize.
Any Number’s second board was first used on the primetime specials in the summer of 1986; it made its daytime debut a few weeks into Season 15, on October 10. The game's first four playings on the daytime show that year, which were all taped before the specials, still used the original board.
The third and current Any Number board, which was intentionally designed as a silver near-duplicate of the gold second board, was introduced on April 26, 2010. The biggest difference in the third board, and the primary reason it was built, is the presence of a used number display beneath the logo; the logo itself was taken straight off of the second board and attached to the third one.
The original Any Number board is now sitting in Bob Boden’s garage. (Mr. Boden is one of those lucky game show fanatics who actually has a job that deals with game shows. A former vice-president at Game Show Network, his garage also houses the gigantic skeeball ramp from Super Ball!! and the Season 1-12 and Season 13-29 Showcase podiums.)
The original Any Number board was a surprisingly versatile prop. Any Number itself was actually a cover that was placed over the board's electronics, which included three 4-digit price displays and a column with the numbers 1 through 10; the middle price display and the top seven numbers were used in Bullseye '72, whose board was a second cover that was swapped out with Any Number. It is strongly suspected that Double Digits was a third cover for the same board, also utilizing the middle price display. The board is also believed to have been used for the first three playings of Clock Game, with the Clock Game board itself somehow being attached to the front of the prop; Clock Game received its own base on its fourth playing.
There actually is a physical prop for Any Number’s piggy bank, but it hasn’t been used since September 13, 1972.
Any Number is one of only two games in which winning all of the main prizes is impossible (the other one being Telephone Game).
While it was not something that occurred on the daytime show, Any Number holds the record by a long way for appearances on the most consecutive shows -- during the first two seasons of the nighttime show, it was played 36 episodes in a row.
Back to '72
Debut: September 20, 2021's show (aired on September 14); Season 50 premiere; 111th game to debut.
Back to '72 is intentionally designed as a throwback the show's earliest days. Its set has the first instance of the "The New Price Is Right" logo since the summer of 1973, and its backdrop is a replica of how the stationary Turntable walls (but not the spinning panel, ironically) looked for most of Season 1.
The items that the contestant bids on in Back to '72 were actually used on the show during 1972, as was the prize copy George reads for them.
The prices of items that are bid on successfully in Back to '72 are included in the contestant's total winnings; it is unclear whether they are given cash in the amount of the original price (which seems the most likely explanation) or are given the actual prizes, but they are definitely awarded something.
Back to '72 is one of only two pricing games (the other being Triple Play) that can end before all of the prizes have been described.
Back to '72 is intended to only be played during Season 50; Drew has stated several times that it will be retired after the year ends.
Balance Game ('84)
Debut: April 9, 1984; 57th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on December 3, 1985
When Balance Game was played, two large screens with dollar sign graphics on them were placed on the stage, one on each side of the game’s main prop. While the one on the right slid away to reveal the small prizes, the one on the left really accomplished nothing beyond blocking the camera’s view of the Turntable and Door #1.
Contestants who won Balance Game got to keep a Barker Silver Dollar if they had any left over; evidently, the coins weren’t valid currency, as they weren’t counted toward a contestant’s total winnings.
Balance Game ('06)
Debut: February 6, 2006; 100th game to debut.
While the “Drew Dollars” given to contestants who play Balance Game are simply metal slugs with decals on them, the “Barker Dollars” used while Bob was hosting were actual Barker Silver Dollars from the original Balance Game.
The bags in Balance Game don't actually contain any money -- the five of them are the exact same sizes on every playing, with only the price labels changing.
Until May 18, 2006, Balance Game’s price display only had space for four digits. The change appears to have been made after an episode where one of the possible prices was five digits long; someone evidently realized that if it had been chosen, the prop could not have displayed it.
Barker's Bargain Bar/Bargain Game
Debut: April 22, 1980 (as “Barker's Bargain Bar”); 44th game to debut.
Barker's Bargain Bar currently holds the record for the third-longest gap between playings, having disappeared from the active rotation for three years, five months, and 20 days in Seasons 37-40. After the November 4, 2008, episode (which was aired early on October 28), it was not played again until the April 24, 2012, episode (which was also aired early, on April 10). The only games that have gone longer without being played are Check Game, which vanished for just over four years between 2009 and 2013, and Time I$ Møney, which was retired in Season 32 after 15 playings and unretired with a revamped format over a decade later at the start of Season 43.
The April 24, 2012, episode is also the show on which Barker's Bargain Bar's name was changed to "Bargain Game" and its second set introduced.
Barker's Bargain Bar's current name, "Bargain Game," has already been used in the much of the show's official documentation for decades.
Barker's Bargain Bar's original set was dismantled in the fall of 2008 after the first group of post-Roger tapings had finished; it did not appear in any lineups after that until late in Season 40, and the October 23, 2008, show, which was taped out of order and on which it was supposed to appear, saw Switch? played in its stead. The game did appear in a new show broadcast on December 5, 2008, but that program had been delayed from October 6.
Barker’s Bargain Bar is probably the most resilient game on the show. In addition to resurfacing in 2012 after a three-and-a-half-year absence, it was rarely subbed out of a show when its original set was in use even if its trilons and all of its lights were malfunctioning.
Barker's Bargain Bar's original sign consisted entirely of lights and was very hard to read. A backing was installed behind it sometime in the early '90s, and a new sign with more substance and the same logo was introduced on January 9, 1996.
As a tribute to Bob Barker, Barker's Bargain Bar initially retained its name in the wake of his retirement; ironically, his name is also why it was removed from the game rotation after Roger was fired.
Barker's Marker$/Make Your Mark
Debut: September 12, 1994 (as “Barker's Marker$”); 23rd season premiere; 77th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 16, 2008's show (aired on October 9).
Barker's Marker$'s name was changed to "Make Your Mark" when Drew Carey took over the show in Season 36. Its first appearance under its new name was on February 21, 2008, the day it made its return to the pricing game rotation after the host transition; this was also the day the game's final color scheme debuted.
The name “Make Your Mark” originated on the Davidson version, where the game was played a single time; on that episode, a sign reading "Make Your Mark" in the shape of the "Barker's Marker$" logo was placed over said logo.
The show only has one set of five $100 bills, which was used for both this game and perfect bid bonuses in Contestants’ Row. If there was a perfect bid in the same act as Barker's Marker$, Bob or Drew had to hand the contestant the money for the bonus, then take it back during the prize descriptions so he could hand it over again during the game.
Barker’s Marker$ was originally staged with the prizes on the floor and the price displays atop individual podiums. The game’s normal prize staging and price displays are believed to have debuted on March 24, 1995.
Barker's Marker$ was retired after Drew explained the game incorrectly on its only appearance in Season 37, stating that as long as the contestant did not move the third marker, he would win the $500 no matter what. In order to avoid embarrassing Drew, the staff decided on the fly that these would be the game's "new rules" and allowed the playing to proceed; after the taping, they also decided that it would never be played again.
Blank Check/Check Game
Debut: October 14, 1981 (as “Blank Check”); 50th game to debut.
Not counting Time I$ Møney, which was outright retired for over a decade, Check Game currently holds the record for the longest gap between playings, having disappeared from the active rotation for four years, one month, and six days in Seasons 37-41. After May 14, 2009, it was not played again until June 20, 2013.
The last appearance of Blank Check was on November 26, 1986. The game returned to the rotation as Check Game just over two months later on January 29, 1987.
The explanation behind Blank Check's name change is somewhat unusual. In the mid-’70s, years before the pricing game existed, Barry & Enright had a game show on the air also called “Blank Check” that ran for 26 weeks and was then mostly forgotten. In 1986, the company was trying (unsuccessfully, it would turn out) to get the show back on the air, and they decided to file a lawsuit over the use of the name. Instead of trying to fight the issue, Price just took the game out of the rotation for a few weeks and then brought it back with its name changed to “Check Game.” (The revival and the lawsuit haven't actually been explicitly linked, but given the timing, it's almost inconceivable that they weren't connected.)
Check Game’s original think music was the same song used in Range Game. The current music debuted around 1988; it was definitely in use at the beginning of Season 17.
Check Game’s original win range was $3,000-$3,500. The second range, $5,000-$6,000, debuted on February 3, 1989, the same day the current ranges for Bullseye ‘76 debuted; the third range, $7,000-$8,000, was introduced on September 23, 2008, on the game's first playing of Season 37; and the current range of $8,000-$9,000 debuted on October 22, 2019, on the first playing of Season 48.
Check Game's current appearance, with video screens and the floating logo, was introduced the day it returned to the rotation in Season 41. Similarly, its darker brown color scheme is believed to have been introduced when it returned from its transition from Blank Check to Check Game in Season 15.
Despite what Bob sometimes told contestants, the giant pieces of paper used in this game are not valid checks. Every one of them had the same check number (#4620 while Bob was hosting; #1133 in Seasons 36 and 37; and #00xx, with "xx" being the season number, since a few playings after the game's return in Season 41), and before the date was removed after the checks were redesigned in 2013, they were always dated, “TODAY, 19NOW” or “TODAY, 20NOW,” depending on the timeframe.
Check Game has been played perfectly at least twice -- a contestant managed to get a total of exactly $3,500 on February 25, 1985, and another got exactly $6,000 on January 4, 1999.
Debut: September 24, 2001’s episode (aired on October 1, 2001); 6th show of Season 30; 92nd game to debut.
Bonkers was supposed to debut on the second show of Season 30; however, the game was malfunctioning that day, so they ended up playing Range Game instead and delaying the debut until the following Monday.
The episode on which Bonkers debuted aired a week after it should have because the 9/11 attacks pushed the start of the new TV season back a week. Therefore, although it ended up airing three days before the debut of Pass the Buck (which did air on the right day), they are really not part of the same week of shows.
On the first playing of Bonkers, the price reveal was on a price tag (a la Check Game) instead of on a flap under game. The standard reveal debuted on the game’s second playing, on October 9.
Debut: September 4, 1972; 2nd game to debut.
Bonus Game was the second pricing game ever played.
Surprisingly, Bonus Game was supposed to be retired in 1974, with Shell Game serving as its replacement; in fact, after June 13, 1974, five days and two episodes before Shell Game’s debut, Bonus Game was not played again on the daytime show until July 24, 1975, and after the July 28 show, it disappeared again until September 5. The game also vanished again a month later and was not played between October 6 and November 6. It is not known at this time why Bonus Game eventually returned to the game rotation, but its disappearance of one year and 41 days is the fifth-longest gap between playings of a game in the show’s history, surpassed only by the nearly two-year absence of Pick a Pair between 1988 and 1990, the nearly three-and-a-half-year absence of Barker's Bargain Bar between 2008 and 2012, the four-plus-year absence of Check Game between 2009 and 2013, and the decade-long retirement of Time Is Money between 2004 and 2014.
Oddly enough, Bonus Game and Shell Game both appeared on the nighttime show throughout the third season, even though the former was completely absent in daytime.
Bonus Game has had two color schemes in the post-brown-set era. The current one debuted late in 1981 or early in 1982, while the game's current windows and small prize panels debuted on March 18, 2013's show (which was aired a day late, on March 19).
The current, yellow color of Bonus Game's "blue windows" is technically a reversion -- the windows were also yellow on the very first week of shows.
Bonus Game's plasma screen debuted on the March 18, 2013, episode (which was aired a day late, on March 19). A flashier set of "HIGHER/LOWER" displays were introduced the same day, although they were changed to something more akin to the original ones on October 12, 2018.
Bonus Game is the oldest pricing game that still uses its original set; in fact, the shell of the board is believed to be the only set piece from the first episode that is still in use.
For most of its existence, Bonus Game was revealed before its prize is shown; however, it was revealed afterward for most of Season 2 and has been again intermittently since December 14, 2010, and consistently since a couple of years later.
On May 17, 2017, as part of Dream Car Week, Shell Game's perfect pricing bonus was applied to Bonus Game; getting everything right and guessing which window the Bonus was in won a car in addition to the trip the game was actually being played for.
Debut: September 5, 1972’s show (aired on September 6); 5th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on September 14, 1972.
Bullseye was the fifth pricing game ever played and the last of the original group of games to debut.
This is not the grocery item game currently seen on the show. It was an ill-conceived car game that was probably created alongside Clock Game and eventually resulted in the creation of Double Bullseye.
Bullseye was never won; in fact, it holds the distinction of being the only pricing game in the show’s history in which absolutely nothing was ever awarded to a contestant. The similarly short-lived Double Bullseye, a game which was guaranteed to produce a winner, was created to make up for this.
Bullseye was only played five times. Its 2nd, 3rd, and 4th playings were on replacement September 6, September 8, and September 12.
On the third and fourth taped playings of Bullseye, on episodes 3(R) and 7, contestants were provided with a $500 bidding range; on the game's fifth and final playing, the car's price was rounded to the nearest $10. Needless to say, neither of these changes made the game significantly easier to win.
In addition to the game's numerous used formats, Bullseye's board is known to have contained lights for 8th, 9th, and 10th bids that were covered up by its graphics, suggesting additional variations on the rules that were proposed before the show began taping.
Before it was learned late in 2005 that Bullseye actually was officially named “Bullseye,” it was referred to nearly universally as “Bullseye I” to differentiate it from the other Bullseye that has been played since 1976. CBS’s website used to referred to the game as “‘Old’ Bullseye” in the late '90s, but that is not its proper name, and no one actually calls it that.
Although Bullseye did not survive the show's second week, portions of it continued to appear on the show in plain sight until early in Season 15, as the game's prop was also the original Any Number board. The display for Any Number's 3-digit prize actually contained four digits and was used to show a Bullseye player's most recent bid.
Debut: July 1, 1976 (probably); 2nd-last show of Season 4; 31st game to debut.
The earliest appearance of Bullseye recorded in the show's stats is on episode #2015D, the fourth show of Season 5. However, Bob states on that program that "We've only played [Bullseye] once," and there is no grocery item game recorded in the stats for episode #2004D; the logical conclusion is that this is the "missing" playing. Indeed, it is possible that there was simply no stat sheet created for Bullseye for Season 4, since it debuted on the second-last show of the season.
Bullseye’s original target range was $5-$10, with $9-$10 as the bullseye. This proved too hard with the era’s low prices, and on the game’s 12th playing, on November 11, the range was changed to $1-$6, with $5-$6 for the bullseye. The current target values -– $2-$12 with $10-$12 for the bullseye –- debuted on February 3, 1989; probably not coincidentally, the $5,000-$6,000 win range for Check Game debuted the same day.
Early in Bullseye’s life, the hidden bullseye could only be used for a comeback win if its item had the marker on the target that was closest to the bullseye. This was replaced with the regular rule not long after the game debuted; it seems reasonable to assume that it happened on November 11, 1976, but that can’t be confirmed at this point.
The current incarnation of Bullseye's set debuted on December 29, 2017, the last show of that year; because of shows being taped out of order, the original set was subsequently used on two more non-consecutive playings, on January 12, 2018's show (which was not aired until March 9) and March 23, 2018.
This game is occasionally referred to as “Bullseye II” to distinguish it from the original Bullseye, which was once commonly known as “Bullseye I.”
Debut: September 13, 1985; fifth show of Season 14; 60th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 20, 1991.
After its last playing, Bump continues to appear on episode schedules up through January 24, 1992, but it is always replaced by something else on the actual shows.
Bob likely had Bump retired after his and Dian’s infamous break-up.
Buy or Sell
Debut: March 27, 1992; 72nd game to debut.
Retired; final playing on May 29, 2008.
Beginning on October 30, 1997, contestants who won Buy or Sell also won any money they had in the bank at the end of the game; prior to this, they only won the three prizes.
Buy or Sell went through a flurry of set changes in the first year or so of its life. The scoreboard’s base was briefly much taller than what we’re used to (although it appeared at its normal height on the game’s premiere), and the prop spent several months being placed in different spots next to and behind the prizes before settling into its standard location in front of the Turntable. March 17, 1993 may have been the date that the game’s staging stabilized.
Buy or Sell’s pink tote board was replaced with a much clearer black one on November 30, 1998 -– the game’s first playing in Season 27.
The highest cash amount that could be offered in Buy or Sell was $1,900, as this was the largest multiple of 100 that the tote board was capable of displaying. This amount was achieved at least once, on October 4, 2004.
Debut: July 4 or 5, 1974; 19th game to debut.
The exact date of Card Game's premiere cannot be determined due to a typo in the pricing game records, although circumstantial evidence strongly favors July 4.
For most of 1983, starting on March 16, Card Game was known as “New Card Game”. With the name change came a new paint job, a new logo, an automatic starting bid of $2,000, the removal of the three lowest values from the original special deck (along with $900 for seemingly the first two playings), and the introduction of the “aces are wild” rule (prior to this, they could only be made worth up to $1,000). The game's name was not changed back to just "Card Game" until June 20, 1984, its final playing of Season 12.
On the Season 12 premiere on September 12, 1983, aces were further modified to allow a contestant not to play them immediately and instead save them for later in the game.
In late 1985 or early 1986, Card Game got a new, 5-digit bid display and another new paint job.
The starting bid changed to $8,000 on May 7, 1993, at which time the game stopped offering 4-digit cars. It changed again to $10,000 on June 8, 2001; again to $12,000 on May 11, 2005; and yet again to $15,000 on April 22, 2008.
Card Game’s third logo, as well as its table’s grooveless appearance, debuted on November 19, 2004.
Card Game’s original special deck contained one card with each value from $200 to $1,000 in increments of $100. The second special deck, which debuted when the game temporarily became New Card Game in 1983, contained two each of the values from $500 to $1,000, again in $100 increments; the first two playings with this deck had only 10 cards, with no $900 cards, but that value was restored on April 4, 1983. The third special deck, which debuted on May 7, 1993, contained three each of $500, $1,000, $1,500, and $2,000. The current special deck, which was first used on May 11, 2005, contains two each of $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000, and one $5,000 card. Each change in the special deck corresponded with a change in the game’s starting bid –- $2,000, $8,000, and $12,000. The game has also been played for luxury cars on occasion since its return to the rotation in 2014; when this happens, the starting bid is raised to $60,000.
Card Game was removed from the pricing game rotation after February 16, 2012, and was not played again for over two years. When it finally returned on May 14, 2014, its video set and logo were introduced, as well as its current staging. The "Welcome to Carey's Card Club" sign on Door #4 was also introduced at this time.
Card Game's current, longer table was introduced on September 30, 2019, on the game's first playing of Season 48.
Very early on in Card Game's existence, the contestant's range is believed to have been determined simply by drawing a card from the regular deck. How an ace would have been treated under these circumstances is not clear. This format was abandoned in favor of the special deck by the game's fifth appearance, on August 9, 1974.
The $5,000 card in the special deck had a large, gold star behind the number until the game's set was redone in 2014.
Unlike most car games played on the stage, Card Game’s car was placed behind Door #2 until the game was relocated in 2014.
Despite Drew stating otherwise, contestants in Card Game are not actually required to draw any cards before freezing their bids.
Aces cannot be used to decrease a contestant’s bid; although Bob and Drew say they can be made “anything you want,” using them to represent negative numbers is not allowed.
The day Card Game rejoined the pricing game rotation in Season 42, the first showcase was themed around celebrating its return.
Debut: January 28, 1982; 51st game to debut.
Check-Out’s current set was first used on December 19, 2000 (the game’s first playing in Season 29). Due to some errors in timing, it soon became obvious that the buttons on the “giant calculator” no longer really did anything; as of the February 23, 2001 episode, the calculator was gone.
The game’s original win range was 50 cents above or below the actual total. It was increased to $1.00 on April 3, 1996, and again to $2.00 on October 13, 2003 (the game’s first playing of Season 32).
April 3, 1996 was also the day the “eggcrate” version of the center scoreboard debuted.
Check-Out was originally conceived as having three possible win ranges –- 50¢, 75¢, and $1.00 -– that would be used on different playings based upon how difficult the groceries were that day. By the time the game premiered, though, the range had been frozen at 50¢.
At least twice, a contestant playing Check-Out has managed to win with a perfect total; however, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever made all five bids exactly right.
Check-Out was listed as a retired game in the first printing of Stan Blits's book; this was nothing more than a misprint.
Debut: September 21, 1998’s episode; 27th season premiere; 85th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on January 6, 2009.
Clearance Sale's debut ended up airing on September 22, 1998; a pre-emption caused the episode to be delayed a day.
Clearance Sale had different props on its first two playings. The price podiums had the shelf for the tags on the top with a downward-opening price flap below it, with blue letters on a white background for the prize descriptions. The price tags were also white with blue numbers. The regular props were first used on the game’s third playing.
Clearance Sale’s final price podiums, with yellow bases and tag-shaped shelves, were first used on October 26, 2004.
Clearance Sale had four different “think musics” during its life. On its first playing, it used the think music from Eazy az 1 2 3. On its second playing, it used a western-sounding cue. On the third playing, a circus-style cue debuted that was used for the remainder of Season 27 and the first three playings of Season 28. On the fourth playing of that season, the game’s regular think music debuted; it remained until Clearance Sale was retired. The show actually had two different edits of the main song, one of which started four measures later than the other; there doesn’t seem to be any real pattern as to which one got used when.
Although there could theoretically be more than one way to win Clearance Sale, the game was always set up so that there wasn’t.
Clearance Sale was essentially the same game as Eazy az 1 2 3, although enough subtle differences exist between the formats that the two can't be called identical.
Debut: April 12, 1976; 28th game to debut.
Frighteningly, Cliff Hangers has used two different mountain climbers over the years! (It’s possible, though, that the guy simply changed his clothes, lost some weight, and got a nose job.)
The mountain climber has no official name. Doug Davidson frequently called him “Hans,” and the folks at The Price Is Right LIVE! have taken to calling him “Johann,” but Drew tends to refer to him as "the yodely guy," and Bob always called him simply “the mountain climber.”
Doug Davidson's references to "Hans" were a tribute to his The Young and the Restless co-star Eric Braeden, whose real name is Hans Gudegast.
The famous yodeling song associated with Cliff Hangers, whose little-known name is On the Franches Mountains, is not the only tune the game has used. In its early days, it used a yodeling song called The Silly Song from the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Before long, though, the music supervisor found the regular song on an album from 1975 or ‘76 called Swiss Mountain Music, and it quickly became the game’s signature tune. It is not known exactly how long The Silly Song was in use, but On the Franches Mountains was being used by May 18, 1977.
The portion of On the Franches Mountains used during Cliff Hangers is a looped section from the middle of the song. The full song is occasionally played as a prize cue for trips to Switzerland.
The "crashing" sound effect heard when Cliff Hangers is lost was originally the same one heard when someone lost Hurdles. The current sound effect was introduced sometime in 1986.
Cliff Hangers was originally conceived as using four small prizes and a 50-step mountain. The 50 steps were never actually used, but four small prizes were used on the game’s first eight playings, up through June 1, 1976. The game’s normal format debuted on its ninth playing, on June 10.
Early in Cliff Hangers's life, the hash marks on the mountain were noticeably longer and were not numbered. It is not currently known how long this lasted, although it had changed by May 18, 1977.
The introduction of Cliff Hangers could not possibly have been timed worse than it was. Shortly before it debuted, Janice’s first husband disappeared while on a trip in the Alps. It has been rumored that after the game was played for the first time, she ran backstage and spent the rest of the taping crying in her dressing room; regardless of whether or not this account is true, there is a show from early in Season 5 where Janice fills in for Anitra at the small prizes and is noticeably shaken up.
Cliff Hangers has been played perfectly several times over the years. In his last few years on the show, Bob developed a habit of declaring that it was the first time it had ever happened every time someone did it, probably to make the contestants feel special. The above also holds true for the game being lost on the first item; the worst guess in the game’s history was over by almost $2,000.
On September 24, 2013's show (which was aired out of order on October 16), as part of Big Money Week, Cliff Hangers was played for $250,000, with $10,000 being deducted from the total for every step taken by the mountain climber; this had the odd side effect of making the game impossible to outright win if the contestant gave any wrong answers. The mountain climber started at 1 on this playing instead of 0, as moving from 0 to 25 would have gotten rid of all the cash without the mountain climber going over the cliff; this had the additional odd side effect of making the game harder, in spite of Drew's assertion that they were trying to give away as much as possible during the course of that week. This format was reused on October 28, 2016, for Season 45's Big Money Week; on this playing, the mountain was relabeled with the dollar amounts instead of the step numbers.
Debut: September 11, 1972; 6th game to debut.
Contrary to long-held belief, Clock Game’s debut was never reaired on GSN; in fact, the game’s first two playings are both unairable due to Bob’s fur ban. The show that was long believed to have featured its premiere is now known to have been the September 15, 1972 episode, which was actually its third appearance.
Clock Game very nearly never got on the air; the staff had so much trouble getting the clock to work properly in rehearsal that Mark Goodson almost had the game scrapped.
All prizes used in Clock Game from the late '80s through late 2008, as well as all prizes since the spring of 2009 that the contestant must bid on, cost less than $1,000; as a direct result of this, a $1,000 cash bonus for winning the game was added on December 14, 1998. Strangely, the bonus was not discontinued when 4-digit prizes began to be used again in 2008; it was finally removed six years later, on the game's first playing of Season 43.
Clock Game also offered a $1,000 bonus on the '70s nighttime show for winning with at least two seconds left on the clock; a "shadow" space, which can be seen on the cover of the First Edition home game, was added to the final two seconds on the clock face to indicate the range in which the money was no longer available. The bonus was only used the first six times the game was played, with its last appearance coming on episode #019N.
Starting about halfway through Season 6, Clock Game became a three-prize game on the '70s nighttime show. It was played this way on episode #215N, offered two prizes again on #218N, and then went back to three prizes for the remainder of the run on #223N.
In the early ‘80s, TPIR briefly tried playing Clock Game with 4-digit prizes, but it just didn’t work out; the big numbers were too long for the contestants to spit out in such a fast-paced game. They even tried telling the contestants the thousands digit and not requiring them to say it, but that just led to people forgetting about the first number. We only know of one instance of this happening since about 1984 -– a two thousand-some dollar trip offered in 1987.
Clock Game began offering 4-digit prices on a regular basis in Season 37; they first appeared on October 21, 2008, during a week of shows that had been taped out of order, and returned permanently on the November 20, 2008 episode (which was aired a week early, on November 13). This change lead to the game being lost every time it was played for nearly six months; presumably as a result of this, the game began to have the contestant bid on a 3-digit portion of the full second prize, or occasionally having a completely separate "bonus" prize, on April 29, 2009.
The first three times Clock Game was played, the game’s board was much bulkier than usual; it appears as though only the top half of the prop existed and was somehow attached to the front of Any Number/Bullseye ‘72.
Clock Game’s yellow color scheme debuted on May 30, 2003, and its blue color scheme on November 23, 2005. The game was repainted the first time because it was discovered a bit too late that the new Turntable walls used the exact same shade of blue as the game’s chroma key area. The new paint jobs are considerably better than their first solution, which was to put a gigantic, yellow circle behind the game for two playings.
The current Clock Game board was introduced on September 26, 2014, in the game's first playing of Season 43. Despite this, the original board was never removed from the fifth Race Game Curtain.
The first prize ever offered in Clock Game was a clock.
The audience is not allowed to talk during Clock Game. While the game is being played, a staffer holds up a cue card with “SHHH!!” printed on it in big, red letters.
The little boxes that Bob and Drew look at to see the prices in this game are irreplaceable; the man who built them died years ago, and no one else knows how to make them.
Clock Game had no set on the Davidson version; instead of using the game’s board, a graphic of a digital clock was displayed on the screen for viewers and on the video wall for the folks in the studio. The traditional price tag graphic used to display the price was ditched as well, being replaced by large, gold numbers.
The Davidson version frequently played Clock Game with 4-digit prizes, restoring the practice of not requiring contestants to say the thousands digit. It also sometimes offered a third prize as a bonus for winning the game.
Although this is rarely done nowadays, seemingly having been forgotten in favor of turning the clock back, the official way to handle the host making a mistake in Clock Game is to stop the clock and give the contestant two free bids before starting it again.
Unlike most non-car games, Clock Game has had two different formats for offering a car. In the era of 4-digit cars, the car was simply the second prize that the contestant bid on; in the era of 5-digit cars, which the game did not begin offering until after the bonus prize had been added, the car serves as the bonus prize.
Clock Game served as the $1,000,000 game on the 19th MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to win the game in 10 seconds or less. The million dollars would be awarded in addition to the primetime-standard $5,000 bonus for winning the game.
Coming or Going
Debut: October 2, 2003; 97th game to debut.
This game was originally going to be called “Coming & Going.” However, the name was changed before it ever appeared on the show.
Coming or Going was originally planned to have a Check Game-style price reveal, but it was scrapped before the game got on the air; one was finally introduced, along with an alternate version of the game's logo, on June 8, 2010.
Debut: September 13, 1993; 22nd season premiere; 74th game to debut.
Cover Up’s debut was pre-empted in most areas of the country and was never reaired; it was seen in a small number of East Coast markets that were airing TPIR an hour early at the time. For those curious, the lineup that day was Cover Up, Punch a Bunch, Make Your Move, Squeeze Play, Money Game, Pick-a-Pair.
Aside from Golden Road, Cover Up is the first car game to be incompatible with 4-digit prices.
Cover Up normally uses the same think music as Check Game and Make Your Move; however, for many years, it has had a tendency to use the music from Line em Up and Push Over two or three times a season, including for the entire month of February, 2010.
Cover Up served as the $1,000,000 game on the 23rd MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to win the game on the first turn.
Debut: December 7, 1987; 63rd game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 31, 2008.
Even though they were far too small to be made out on television, the fake buttons on Credit Card’s ATM prop were all labeled like a real ATM. A close-up of the buttons can be found in the “The Props” section of our Golden Gallery.
The actual credit card, which was rarely shown clearly on the air, had a Credit Card logo on it with a Super Ball!! dollar sign on each end, as well as a mimic of the TPIR logo in a different font. It also listed an expiration date of 12/07 – 20 years after the game’s debut.
Debut: January 8, 1976; 25th game to debut.
Danger Price holds the distinction of being the only pricing game not from the half-hour era to debut on a half-hour episode.
Danger Price’s original board was originally placed on the Turntable; it was moved to center stage between February 3 and March 3 of 1977.
Danger Price was originally conceived as a five-prize game, with the goal being to pick the four prizes that weren’t valued at the danger price. This format was never actually used on the show.
Contrary to popular belief, Danger Price’s current set did not debut on the primetime specials in the summer of 1986. It was actually introduced sometime during Season 14; it is known to have been in use by February 11, 1986.
Danger Price is the oldest active pricing game that has never offered a car. (The oldest such game overall is and forever will be Poker Game.)
Debut: June 2, 1976; 30th game to debut.
When Dice Game was played for 5-digit cars in the ‘80s (a time when 4-digit car prices were still common), it was called “Deluxe Dice Game.” This format was first used on April 22, 1983.
Dice Game’s yellow color scheme debuted on November 1, 1983.
Dice Game offered its last 4-digit car on January 8, 1988. The game then existed solely as Deluxe Dice Game through June 27, after which the 5-digit version became just plain “Dice Game.”
Deluxe Dice Game is also the only version of the game that was played on the Kennedy version.
The current Dice Game board debuted on December 15, 1989.
Until sometime in the second half of Season 5, prices in Dice Game could (and did) contain 0s and numbers higher than 6; obviously, this made the game ridiculously hard to win. The original rules were still in place on January 31, 1977, but were gone by June 29.
On October 24, 2016, as part of Big Money Week, every correct roll in Dice Game earned the contestant a $10,000 bonus.
Dice Game has been won a small number of times over the years without the contestant having to make any decisions; a few people have rolled all right numbers, 1s, and 6s, and at least one contestant, on October 10, 1996, actually managed to roll the entire price.
Not counting the Barker's Marker$/Make Your Mark incident that lead to that game's retirement, which involved a very different set of circumstances, Dice Game is the only pricing game known to have undergone a rule change on the fly. On an episode in 1983, the chase lights around the number windows weren’t working, so it was declared that for that day only, the correct number for each spot would be lit up as soon as the contestant guessed higher or lower.
Do the Math
Debut: September 23, 2013's episode (aired on October 18, 2013); Season 42 premiere; 107th game to debut.
As a result of entire weeks of shows being aired out of order, the first playing of Do the Math was actually the third playing to be broadcast; the show's staff took this into account when the September 30 program, which included the game's second playing (and first aired playing), was taped and put all of the traditional "game debut" verbiage into that episode.
Incidentally, as another result of shows being run out of order, Do the Math did make its first on-air appearance on the right day, although not on the intended episode.
Do the Math was originally supposed to debut on the second show of Season 37; in fact, there was supposed to be a new game every day that week. However, budget issues with CBS caused all of the debuts besides Gas Money to be scrapped, and the planned playing of Do the Math was replaced by Check Game.
The chalkboard in Do the Math is believed to be the original Door #4 used in Seasons 37-39.
Most of the equations scribbled on Do the Math's chalkboard are actually roundabout ways of spelling either "Price" or "TPIR."
Debut: September 19, 1972; 7th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 10, 1972.
This game’s name refers to the retired car game Bullseye from 1972, not the grocery product game that debuted in 1976.
Double Bullseye actually has its origins in the ‘70s nighttime show. When the staff saw that the original Bullseye was probably never going to be won, they decided to try “forcing” a win in it on a nighttime episode by altering the rules to make it a race between two contestants; the new format was different enough to be designated as a separate game. They liked the results of the experiment, and Double Bullseye was thus migrated to the daytime show.
Ironically, at least two playings of Double Bullseye ended in less guesses than the maximum allowed in the game it was created to replace.
There doesn’t seem to have been a hard and fast rule regarding which contestant started the bidding in Double Bullseye. It began with the first One-Bid winner on its 2nd, 3rd, and 4th playings and with the second One-Bid winner on its 1st playing.
Although Double Bullseye was only played four times on the daytime show, it actually managed to have a lifespan of 16 episodes; its four appearances were on September 19, September 21, September 28, and October 10, 1972. The playing aired on GSN that was long touted as its debut is now known to have been its third appearance; the other three episodes are all unairable due to Bob’s fur ban.
Incidentally, Double Bullseye was also played two times on the nighttime show, appearing on #005N and #008N. Surprisingly, #005N, the first show on which it was played, was taped just one day after #0024D, the last appearance of Bullseye '72.
This is the only pricing game that involves two contestants competing against each other; two separate One-Bids were played before it, with a new contestant being called from the audience for each one.
As the winner of this game’s first IUFB came onstage, the show’s theme played instead of the “come on down” music.
Debut: June 8, 2012; 106th game to debut.
Double Cross's "think" music was not added until its second playing, on August 14, 2012's show (which was aired on August 17).
The digits that were not selected at any given moment were originally backed by dark green and dark yellow, which made it very hard to tell what was and was not highlighted; the blue background for the non-selected digits had debuted by the time the 40th anniversary show was taped.
The alternate Double Cross logo seen on PriceIsRight.com was used during the game's planning stages; it was intended to go atop the game's board but was replaced early on by the logo on the floor.
For its first three years on the show, Double Cross's animations were somewhat jerky; since the beginning of Season 44, the highlighters have moved significantly more smoothly.
Debut: April 20, 1973; 14th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on May 18, 1973's episode (aired out of order on June 15).
After years of speculation by fans over how long Double Digits was around, we can now state definitively that it was played five times; of its five appearances, the first was the only one on which it was won. During its short life, it had two completely different sets of rules (both of which have been described on other websites).
It is strongly suspected that the Double Digits board was merely a cover that was attached to the original Any Number board, with the contestant's bid on the car being shown on the display for the 3-digit prize (which is known to have actually had spots for four digits).
Debut: September 4, 1972; 3rd game to debut.
Double Prices was the third pricing game ever played.
Based on files Roger has posted from episode #001N, Double Prices appears to have been known as "Double Price Tags" very early in the show's run.
Double Prices has had four sets over the years, more than any other pricing game except 1 Right Price (with which it shared its first three sets). It changed once in the 1977 portion of Season 5; once on March 21, 1983; and once on January 14, 1987. Additionally, the original prop had a question mark added to it when it was repainted for the 1975 set change; and the current prop was black instead of blue for a month or so when it was introduced and solid blue until the start of Season 46.
Double Prices also seems to have the most inconsistent staging of any pricing game. Originally, it was played at center stage, concealed by the Giant Price Tag. Beginning in the late ‘70s or 1980, it seems to have been moved primarily to Door #3 (although it appears to have been played at Door #3 at least occasionally as early as the final brown set episodes in the summer of 1975); Door #2 was added to the mix around 1990. Playing Double Prices at the Giant Price Tag was phased out through the mid-’90s, and playing it at Door #3 ceased around Season 27, leaving Door #2 as its permanent location. Since May 7, 2009, the game has been staged in front of Contestants' Row on most episodes on which it is played for a trip, with the trip appearing on Door #4. The game is still staged at Door #3 on rare occasions, and from the end of Season 31 through the end of Season 34, it occasionally used its original Giant Price Tag staging; this staging also appeared on May 25, 2009, as well as on November 5, 2009, which the staff incorrectly believed to be the 7,000th episode. Additionally, on February 19, 1998, the game was set up –- probably by mistake –- with the prize behind Door #2 and the game sitting in the middle of the stage.
Surprisingly, Double Prices used its current staging at least once as early as December 6, 1972, when it was played for a sailboat that could not be hidden by the Giant Price Tag.
Double Prices did not have a logo until its current podium debuted. The font of the game's logo was changed on June 7, 2001; the original logo reappeared on the April 1, 2011, episode, which was taped out of order, and returned permanently several weeks later, on April 28, 2011. The current logo debuted on September 20, 2017's show (which was aired on September 22), the same day the game's current color scheme was introduced.
On the '70s nighttime show, Double Prices was played with two prizes a few times early in the run. The contestant could win one, the other, or both of them. This format is often referred to by fans as “double Double Prices.” Surprisingly, the format was not used consistently; it appeared on episodes #(003N), #004N, and #006N, while the normal format was used on #001N, #005N, and #008N, as well as all subsequent playings.
On the subject of subsequent playings, following #008N, Double Prices vanished from the nighttime rotation almost completely; outside of one appearance near the end of Season 3, it did not resurface until two months into Season 6.
Thanks to the existence of episode #0013D(R), Double Prices holds the distinction of being one of only two pricing games that has been played six times in one week; the other is Plinko, which, in belated honor of its 30th anniversary, was the played as all six games on the October 4, 2013, episode (aired early on September 27).
As of the end of Season 45, Double Prices has been played more times than any other pricing game.
Eazy az 1 2 3
Debut: April 25, 1996; 81st game to debut.
On its first three playings, Eazy az 1 2 3 had no “think music;” the game’s traditional song finally bowed on May 15.
Debut: February 21, 1978; 37th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on September 25, 1978's show (aired on September 22).
Finish Line was retired due to mechanical problems.
Aside from having a more elaborate set, Finish Line was exactly the same game as Give or Keep, right down to the contestant winning the three selected small prizes even if the game was lost. In fact, the staff appears to have intended to replace Give or Keep with Finish Line, as the two games were never in the rotation at the same time. In spite of this, the two are considered completely separate games.
Oddly, after its second playing on February 27, 1978, Finish Line disappeared for two months; it finally resurfaced on May 3, at which point it began to be played on a regular basis. During its absence, Give or Keep returned to the rotation.
After being under the radar for 26 years, Golden-Road.net’s staff unearthed a playing of Finish Line late in 2004; nearly a decade later, on April 3, 2014, video of its 10th playing was finally put online by, strangely enough, Wink Martindale. The game essentially combined Give or Keep’s rules with Hurdles’s set. The set had a racetrack with prices on it; the starting line was $0, and the farther down the track you went, the higher the prices got. Also on the track were a finish line and a racehorse. As the price of each “given” small prize was revealed, the finish line would move that many dollars down the track; after it reached its final destination, the racehorse would move in correspondence to the prices of the “kept” prizes. The game was won if the horse got across the finish line.
Finish Line’s race began with trumpets sounding the Call to the Post; during the race, Light Cavalry was played.
Finish Line was played 16 times –- 11 times in Season 6 and five times in Season 7. It was won 12 times, including all of its Season 7 playings.
Five Price Tags/5 Price Tags
Debut: September 26, 1972; 8th game to debut.
5 Price Tags did not have a logo for the first 41 years of the show, and all official documentation referred to it as "Five Price Tags;" as such, it is still referred to that way herein and in the pricing game calendars in all references to Seasons 1-41. The game's logo and the name's current spelling were introduced on PriceIsRight.com on August 29, 2013; they still exist only as graphics and do not appear on any of the show's props.
Contrary to long-held belief, the first playing of Five Price Tags was never rerun on GSN; in fact, that episode is unairable due to Bob’s fur ban. The show in question was actually the October 2 episode, on which Five Price Tags was played for the second time.
5 Price Tags’s current color scheme debuted sometime in late 1981 or early 1982.
Contrary to somewhat popular belief, 5 Price Tags is not played at Door #1. The camera shot before the game’s reveal is of Drew and the contestant walking to the right side of Door #2; this confuses some people, since most games have them standing to its left.
Debut: February 25, 2000; 89th game to debut.
Flip Flop has played host to one of only five known instances of cheating in the show’s history (although that term may be a stretch here); on April 4, 2005, a contestant hit the price reveal button without actually changing the price. Bob awarded the contestant the prize, probably because he didn’t really know what else to do; we do not advise this course of action to any future contestants, as the staff probably won’t be so nice if it happens again. (This incident was never seen in the Eastern and Central time zones, as the portion of the show in question was pre-empted on both its original airing and its rerun on August 15.)
Debut: November 21, 1997; 83rd game to debut.
Retired; final playing on May 11, 2000
Fortune Hunter was presumably retired because it wasn’t generating enough winners; during its life, it was won about 1/3 of the times it was played.
Debut: February 22, 1995; 78th game to debut.
Freeze Frame is normally concealed by the Giant Price Tag, but it generally isn’t when the game is played first; since the Tag would block Bob or Drew’s entrance, the game is simply moved into place during the first One-Bid.
Debut: September 10, 1990; 19th season premiere; 68th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on April 11, 1991.
Stan Blits's book about The Price Is Right incorrectly includes a game called "Masterpiece" in the list of retired pricing games; this was actually a name used in the early stages of developing Gallery Game.
Debut: September 22, 2008; 37th season premiere; 103rd game to debut.
Gas Money is the oldest pricing game that was never hosted by Bob Barker.
Gas Money was the last pricing game created by longtime producer Roger Dobkowitz.
During Season 37, Gas Money was played slightly differently -- the contestant tried to pick the actual retail price first and then won the cash awards by eliminating the wrong prices one at a time; the game's hook was intended to be that the first decision you made was always hanging over your head. Its current rules were introduced on January 26, 2010, the first time it was played in Season 38.
Gas Money's rolling cash display was added on October 19, 2010; it took the place of the shelf that was used to hold the price the contestant believed was the ARP in the game's original format.
On October 9, 2017, as part of Dream Car Week, Gas Money's cash awards were all multiplied by five, for a potential payout of $50,000. (It should be noted that the game was also being played for a Maserati when this occurred.)
Give or Keep
Debut: December 27, 1972; 11th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 22, 1990
Contrary to long-held belief, Give or Keep actually debuted two days after Money Game. The episode long believed to feature its premiere is actually the January 4, 1973 episode, which contains both games’ second playings. The December 27, 1972 episode is actually unairable due to Bob’s fur ban.
Give or Keep was originally scheduled to debut on October 24, 1972; for reasons lost to time, this ended up not happening, and Bonus Game was played that day instead.
Give or Keep was not played during much of 1978; it was absent between February 3 and March 9, and again between April 27 and November 14. It appears to have been the staff's intention during these periods to replace the game with Finish Line, as the two were never in the rotation at the same time.
Give or Keep’s green color scheme debuted in August or September of 1975, around the time of the show’s first major set overhaul. Its blue color scheme debuted on April 22, 1983, on the same show as Deluxe Dice Game.
For most of the show's run, Give or Keep was the only game whose board was placed on the stationary part of the Turntable set; the other is Shell Game, whose table was moved off of the spinning panel in early 2021, over 30 years after Give or Keep's retirement.
Like many set pieces, Give or Keep’s board had flower-like asterisks on it. While this in and of itself is not noteworthy, the asterisk between the “Keep” column and the “Give” column is nearly unique -– it and the asterisks on the first two Hi Lo counters and Take Two’s original prize label cover are the only ones in the show’s history to have eight petals instead of six.
Give or Keep was retired because most of the show’s staffers didn’t like it very much.
Had Roger not been fired, Give or Keep would have been unretired during Season 38.
Debut: August 19, 1975; first show with the set’s “regular” color scheme; 22nd game to debut.
Contrary to long-held belief, Golden Road did not debut on the first trial hour show; in fact, it debuted in August of Season 3, on the first new episode after the The Price Is Right moved back to the morning.
Golden Road’s original sign was redone to look more smooth sometime in 1985 or 1986; the first version of it was still in use immediately after Johnny died. The game’s current set and sign debuted on October 6, 1999, on the its first playing of Season 28; their current appearance, with the clouds and neon rainbows, debuted on November 25, 2020, on the first playing of Season 49.
For some length of time between 1977 and 1979, the road had a velvet rope running along it, similar to what one might see in the line at a movie theatre.
On Davidson’s show, instead of a grocery product, the item at the beginning of the Golden Road would be some sort of small prize or even a fishbowl of cash.
In its first appearance, which was on a half-hour show, Golden Road was played third; as far as is known, this was its only playing where it was not the first game of the day until Christmas week of Season 45. Since then, the game has occasionally appeared elsewhere in the show, although it is still played first the vast majority of the time.
Golden Road has occasionally been played for 6-figure prizes on $1,000,000 Spectaculars, as well as on the daytime show on June 11, 2007. When this happens, the hundreds digit is still the missing number, just like with everything else in the game. A longer red price holder also exists for these occasions.
From the late '80s through the end of Season 35, Bob always entered the studio through the audience when Golden Road was played. While this feature may return later, Drew is not doing audience entrances at this point; as such, when Golden Road is played, he enters through Door #2, and the road is laid down during the first Item up for Bids.
At the beginning of Season 36, the gold dots that made up the actual "golden road" were done away with, as were the coves frequently used to conceal the first two prizes, partly to keep the game from being spoiled during Drew's entrance and partly because Roger had decided that the sign was a good enough symbol for the game; however, this change only lasted for two playings.
Debut: May 16, 1980; 46th game to debut.
Grand Game is one of only two pricing games that doesn’t involve any Barker’s Beauties, the other one being Hot Seat.
Grand Game's computer graphics and second logo were introduced on April 2, 2013. The shape of the original logo remained on the board as a background for the second logo.
Grand Game's current logo debuted on the game's first playing of Season 48, on September 25, 2019's show, which was not actually aired until December 6. The episode had something of an odd broadcast saga, being rescheduled for September 26 only to be fully pre-empted, yet still somehow appearing on YouTube long before it was aired, seemingly having been uploaded to CBS All Access for a brief period that evening by mistake.
Grand Game’s intro contained a big, red “Ten Thousand Dollars” graphic starting in 1985 or late 1984. It remained until 1990 at the latest; it was definitely gone by April 23, 1990. Up through at least the earliest Gene Wood episodes, the graphic only said, “Ten Thousand.”
On Davidson’s show, Grand Game used small prizes instead of groceries.
The music heard while Grand Game is being revealed is actually the very end of the Family Feud theme. The music is the version used on Dawson’s show...except in Seasons 21 and 22, during which it was replaced with the remix from Combs’s show.
Grand Game's first win and the subsequent chasing of Bob around the stage by a Samoan contestant are frequently incorrectly assumed to have occurred on the game's premiere; they actually happened on November 10, 1980, on the game's eighth playing.
On Salutes and MDSs, Grand Game is played for $20,000, with the lower prize values adjusted accordingly. This format was also used for Big Money Week on October 28, 2016 and on February 22, 2018's episode (which was aired out of order on February 21).
On the 40th anniversary show, Grand Game was played for $40,000, with the lower prize values adjusted accordingly.
On April 25, 2013's episode (which was aired early on April 23), as part of Big Money Week, Grand Game was played for $100,000; all of the game's usual cash prizes were multiplied by 10 on this playing.
On June 24, 2016's episode (which was aired on September 1, 2016), which celebrated the 11,000th episode of The Young and the Restless, Grand Game was played for $11,000, with the lower prize values adjusted accordingly.
Debut: September 18, 2017; 46th season premiere; 110th game to debut.
Debut: September 5, 1972’s show (aired on September 6); 4th game to debut.
Grocery Game was also the fourth pricing game ever played.
Grocery Game’s original win range was $6.75-$7.00; due to rising prices, it was changed to $20-$21 on January 26, 1989. The current range, $20-$22, debuted on October 6, 2016, on the game's first playing of Season 45.
On episodes produced during the show’s first week of taping, Grocery Game awarded $100 for not going over $7.00. It seems as though this money would be won even if a contestant lost by running out of items before reaching $6.75; indeed, on the game’s first playing, Bob explained the money before he ever brought up the prize or coming with 25¢ of $7.00. Because the replacement episode 3 was done during the show's second week of tapings, this rule is not present there, even though it is present on both the second and fifth episodes.
The first four times Grocery Game was played, the contestant received supplies of the five groceries used in the game. The amounts received varied, but they always totalled at least $100, and they counted toward the contestant’s winnings.
Grocery Game’s table has been redone several times over the years. It originally had the same hexagon pattern as the first “game side” of the Turntable wall, with orange stripes at the top and bottom; its front was given vertical pink and purple stripes in the summer of 1975; it changed to a red-bricked appearance in the fall of 1975, after September 8 and no later than November 3; it took on a solid red appearance between June 1976 and April 1977; it became cream-colored between September and December of 1980; and it assumed its current appearance sometime in mid-1985, after taping of the Kennedy version had already started. The grocery pictures on the front of the table likely debuted at the same time as the cream color scheme.
In addition to the above, Grocery Game’s cash register appears to have gone through at least three incarnations, probably changing in the spring of 1975 and when the current set debuted; oddly, the second color scheme was also used briefly during the summer of 1973. The register did not originally have a WIN!/OVER display, but that was in place by November, 1972. The second WIN!/OVER display debuted sometime during 1974, well before the rest of the register was redone.
Grocery Game’s original sign first appeared sometime between January and May of 1975. The second sign likely debuted at the same time as the game’s current set.
Grocery Game is the first pricing game whose name was used on the air. Bob referred to it by name twice on the replacement third episode –- once during Grocery Game itself, and again during the Showcase.
Grocery Game is the only pricing game that has ever offered three rooms of furniture on a single playing. On both the Coast Guard Special in Season 30 and MDS 24 in Season 36, it was played for a living room, a dining room, and a bedroom.
Grocery Game was originally revealed before its prize was shown, in the style of Bonus Game and Hi Lo; also like Hi Lo, the groceries were originally described before the prize. This practice was stopped by mid-1974, though.
Since sometime in the middle of Season 37, most playings of Grocery Game have had some kind of theme amongst the groceries, such as all of them having "orange" in their names or all of their names being the names of pricing games.
Debut: May 28, 2004; 98th game to debut.
The box reveal at the end of 1/2 Off was designed as an homage to Fortune Hunter.
At the start of Season 36, contestants who played 1/2 Off began receiving a $500 bonus for each correct pricing decision they made during the game. At the beginning of Season 39, on September 28, 2010, this was changed to a flat $1,000 for making all of the pricing decisions correctly.
The lights around 1/2 Off’s “$10,000” tag were not present on its two playings in Season 32; they debuted on September 21, 2004, on the game’s first playing in Season 33.
The asterisks that adorn 1/2 Off's set were added at the start of Season 39, on the same day the bonuses were changed.
1/2 Off's current color scheme debuted on January 16, 2018's show (which was aired out of order on February 6); however, due to shows taping out of order, the original color scheme returned for the next two playings before the current one became permanent on March 2. Confusingly, it was first seen on CBS in the playing after that on March 8's episode, which was also aired out of order on January 11; this was also the first show taped with the new color scheme, and it featured Drew formally introducing it.
The music used as 1/2 Off's original second intro cue was originally part of a song from the 2003 music package. It was replaced with the current harp/drum sting on February 20, 2008.
In primetime, 1/2 Off’s prize increases to $25,000.
The bills found in 1/2 Off’s winning box are not real money.
1/2 Off served as the $1,000,000 game on the 22nd MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to win the game, give up the $25,000, and correctly pick the one of the remaining 15 boxes that contained a check for $1,000,000.
On September 27, 2013's show (which was aired out of order on October 14) and October 24, 2016, as part of a Big Money Week, 1/2 Off was played for $100,000. Similarly, on February 19, 2018's show (which was aired out of order on February 22), it was played for the smaller but still larger-than-usual sum of $20,000.
On February 17, 2020, as part of Dream Car Week, 1/2 Off was played for a car; it was hidden in one of the last two boxes, with the other one containing the normal top prize of $10,000.
Debut: April 9, 1973; 13th game to debut.
Hi Lo has had three different sets. Its two set changes happened in the first half of 1978 (no later than June 12) and on October 26, 1990. The current set's logo had a holographic film applied to it early in Season 36.
Hi Lo holds the distinction of being the first pricing game whose name appeared on its board.
Like many other set pieces, Hi Lo’s counter has flower-like asterisks on it. While this in and of itself is not noteworthy, the game’s first two sets are two of the only four props in the show’s history to use asterisks with eight petals instead of six (the third being the Give or Keep board and the fourth being the original cover for Take Two’s prize labels). Sometime between February 27 and June 20, 1980, the asterisks on the second counter's price cards were changed to the normal ones.
Early in its life, Hi Lo had different rules than the ones we’re used to. The contestant would pick an item, and after its price was revealed, he would tell Bob which row he believed it belonged on. This would continue until either all the items were placed or a price was shown that indicated a mistake had been made. The normal rules are believed to have debuted no later than the game’s third playing.
For its first 35 years on the show, Hi Lo was manuevered onto the stage on-camera before its prize was revealed, and its groceries were described before the prize. The game moved behind the Giant Price Tag and adopted a more standard reveal on May 15, 2008.
Debut: November 7, 1980; 48th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 13, 2006.
Hit Me was retired because the staff decided its rules were beginning to confuse too many contestants.
Hit Me is the second-longest-lived pricing game ever to be retired, having been in the rotation for less than one month short of 26 years.
The debut of Hit Me, and the entire week of shows that it falls in, was taped five weeks out of order, and after the game's second through fifth playings; in fact, on November 13, the day of the game's second appearance, Bob half-erroneously implies that it has never been played before.
There is some confusion as to whether or not “Vegas rules” applied to Hit Me when the house had an ace that, if valued at 11, would have put its hand over 21. In some cases, Bob would end the game at that point and declare it a win; in others, he would make the ace’s value 1 and let the game continue. He said at a taping during Season 33 that he’d decided to always play the game out in whatever way gave the contestant the best shot at winning, but this doesn’t always seem to have been the way things ended up happening.
When Hit Me debuted, its deck contained no face cards, and the cards found with the groceries were taken from said deck. Both of these aspects were changed at some point; the game has used face cards since February 4, 1981, and there is at least one episode, on September 23, 1982, where the contestant’s hand and the house’s hand both contained the same card.
The lower portion of the right-hand Hit Me board, which was rarely seen on the air in the game's later years, had two legs shaped like TPIR dollar signs.
Hole in One
Debut: May 9, 1977; 33rd game to debut.
The two-putt format was first used on the first primetime special in the summer of 1986, which aired on August 14; at this time, the game was still called “Hole in One.” The format was carried over to the daytime show on October 10, on the game’s first playing after the Specials were taped, but its name did not actually change to “Hole in One or Two” until sometime in December 1986 or the first few months of 1987. Before the actual name change occurred, Bob frequently referred to the game as “Hole in Two.”
Between the name change and the debut of the game’s revamped sign in the last three months of 1987, a stake saying “or Two” accompanied the original “Hole in One” sign for several months. The current sign was in place by November 30, 1987.
Hole in One's current, two-tiered grocery podium was introduced sometime after November 30, 1987 and no later than the game's first playing of the next season.
Before the two-putt rule was added, Hole in One was regularly played for sportscars.
The name “Hole in One or Two” is regarded as an alternate name, like Deluxe Dice Game, and not as a name change, like Check Game; all known official sources besides the game’s sign still refer to it as “Hole in One.”
When Hole in One is played in primetime, the bonus for ordering the groceries perfectly is increased to $1,000.
On Davidson’s show, Hole in One used small prizes (like those in Plinko or Cliff Hangers) instead of groceries, and each item’s price was revealed immediately after it was placed.
On October 26, 2016, as part of Big Money Week, Hole in One was played for $100,000, with a windmill rotating in front of the cup for added difficulty; the contestant was given the option of having the windmill removed at the cost of having the prize reduced to $20,000.
Hole in One’s cup is 5.5 inches in diameter, 1.25 inches larger than one found on a golf course. The lines on the “green” are 22 inches apart, and the final line is 15 inches from the hole.
Debut: September 23, 2016; 109th game to debut.
Hot Seat is one of only two pricing games that doesn't involve any Barker's Beauties, the other one being Grand Game.
On the first two playings of Hot Seat that were taped, the contestant was not shown which item would be revealed next until after deciding whether or not to quit. Somewhat confusingly, due to episodes being produced out of order, these ended up being the game's second and fourth playings, on October 5 and November 1, 2016, which essentially led to the game's format flip-flopping the first five times it appeared.
On October 27, 2016, as part of Big Money Week, Hot Seat was played for $100,000, with the lower prizes increased to $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000.
Hot Seat, whose introduction by George was removed in Season 49, is the only pricing game whose main prize is never described by the announcer.
Debut: February 19, 1976; 27th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on March 31, 1983.
Hurdles is quite possibly the most mechanically complex pricing game ever built. Unfortunately, this proved to be its downfall; by 1983, the game was malfunctioning so often that it just wasn’t worth it to keep it around any longer.
The William Tell Overture was played during the “race” in Hurdles.
Hurdles was played two times on the '70s nighttime show during Season 5; oddly, on these playings, the runner only had a price attached to him, with no grocery associated with it.
It's in the Bag
Debut: September 26, 1997; 82nd game to debut.
It's in the Bag's current color scheme was introduced on Season 44's The Amazing Race special on the night of May 25, 2016.
It’s in the Bag was in development for most of Season 25; in fact, it appears in planned lineups almost every week for the last three months of 1996, sometimes in the same shows as Plinko or Punch a Bunch. Its planned debut was a full year before it actually got played.
It's in the Bag was originally conceived with a $32,000 top prize, a sixth bag, and a seventh grocery. This format was scrapped long before the game ever got on the air.
As of the 14th $1,000,000 Spectacular on April 9, 2005 (the 13th one aired; it was run out of order), It’s in the Bag’s top prize on MDSs is $24,000. Only the last bag’s prize is increased –- the first four remain the same as in daytime. We’re really not sure why it took so long for this change to be made. It should be noted that the top prize was not increased on the The Amazing Race special from Season 44.
On February 20, 2018, as part of Big Money Week, It's in the Bag was played for $32,000, with all of the cash prizes doubled.
Incidentally, several people have asked why It’s in the Bag’s cash amounts were not simply all doubled for primetime during the $1,000,000 Spectacular era. Roger has explained that he didn’t think anyone would ever be willing to risk $16,000 to go for $32,000.
On It’s in the Bag’s first playing, the lights that display the cash amounts were yellow; the normal, blue lights first appeared on the game’s second playing. The yellow triangle on the grocery cart is likely a vestige of the original lights.
When It’s in the Bag debuted, it was actually introduced by an extended version of what would become Fortune Hunter’s intro cue; the game’s own cue wasn’t heard until at least its third playing. The cue from Fortune Hunter was subsequently shortened to its more familiar length, and it gradually came to be used for It’s in the Bag less and less frequently until it finally vanished entirely late in Season 31 or early in Season 32. For no apparent reason, it made one final appearance years later, in Season 35, on the October 11, 2006, episode (which was aired out of order on February 5, 2007).
Debut: September 4, 1978’s episode (aired early, on June 30); 40th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on May 9, 1983.
It’s Optional is the only pricing game to regularly offer two cars.
It’s Optional debuted on the same episode as Shower Game, with It’s Optional being played in the second half.
The price of the right-hand car in It’s Optional was reached by adding several unidentified options to a base model. When contestants won the game, they received the right-hand car with those options and the left-hand car with the options they placed on it while playing the game.
The first one or two times It's Optional was played, it had significantly different rules; there was no limit to the number of options that could be used, but the contestant had to make all of his selections before any of their prices were revealed. Additionally, the prices of the cars and options were rounded to the nearest $5.
It’s Optional was played 45 times; it was won on exactly 60% of its appearances.
Debut: February 14, 1994; 75th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on March 5, 2007.
Joker technically survived into Season 36; it was not permanently removed from the rotation until that winter and was, in fact, originally scheduled to be played instead of Bonus Game on the February 29, 2008, episode.
Joker was retired when Roger realized after having to modify 1/2 Off to placate Drew that Drew would probably not like that a contestant could do all of the pricing correctly and still lose; he decided it would be easier to get rid of the game than to have a fight over it.
Let 'em Roll
Debut: September 20, 1999; 28th season premiere; 88th game to debut.
Let ‘em Roll’s logo didn’t have an apostrophe until November 29, 1999; prior to that, the game’s name was Let em Roll.
Let ‘em Roll’s current set first appeared on Season 31’s fifth $1,000,000 Spectacular on May 10, 2003. It made its daytime debut about three weeks later, on May 30.
Let ‘em Roll is the newest pricing game to have undergone a major set change.
Let ‘em Roll’s original cubes were made styrofoam or some other similar substance; as the game entered its second year, small bits of them were noticeably beginning to fall off. Around November or December of 2000, they were replaced by wooden cubes, which were in turn replaced by a second, more durable set of styrofoam cubes late in 2008.
Contestants are not allowed to freeze money and roll again to try to accumulate more; they may only freeze cars.
While Roger Dobkowitz was producing the show, Let ‘em Roll’s pricing portion was usually very easy; Roger has confirmed that this was done intentionally.
For about a year starting late in Season 32, Let ‘em Roll consistently had problems with cubes flying off the table. On March 9, 2005, a plexiglass barrier was added to the prop to keep this from happening.
On October 11, 2017, as part of Dream Car Week, Let 'em Roll's cash prizes were increased to $2,500, $5,000, and $10,000; it should be noted that the game was being played for a Jaguar when this occurred. Similarly, on May 23, 2018, for Drew's 60th birthday, the cash prizes were increased to $2,500, $5,000, and $7,500 when the game was played for a BMW.
Line em Up
Debut: March 10, 1998; 84th game to debut.
On its first several playings, Line em Up used the “think music” from Make Your Move; its traditional music didn’t debut until June 2.
In Seasons 26 through 32, Line em Up’s car was revealed before the other prizes. This was reversed at the beginning of Season 33 (specifically, on October 7, 2004); at the same time, the prizes swapped which doors they were behind, and a second piece of music was added for the smaller prizes.
Debut: August 28, 1973; 15th game to debut.
This game’s name was written as “Lucky Seven” -– with no dollar sign -– on its original set.
The current Lucky $even set made its first appearance sometime in Season 14, probably during 1986. It is known to have been in place by its final playing of the season on May 30.
The font currently used for the price in this game first appeared on October 10, 2001.
When 5-digit cars were first introduced to Lucky $even in 1986, the contestants were given the last number free instead of the first number; this format was used at least three times -- on the second and fourth '86 Specials and the September 22, 1986, daytime show -- and is not believed to have lasted long, if at all, after those episodes. While it was long believed that the Lucky $even immediately transitioned to its normal 5-digit format after this brief experiment, it now appears that 5-digit cars vanished from the game completely until February 22, 1993, after which the game briefly alternated between 4- and 5-digit cars until going 5-digit permanently on April 23.
On the fourth '86 Special, the last known show to be taped with Lucky $even's original 5-digit rules, the stagehands accidentally revealed the fourth number in the price when the contestant tried to guess the third number; this mistake compounded the awkwardness of a price reveal that already looked strange when it was being done correctly and may well have contributed to the format's quick retirement.
On November 5, 2009, in commemoration of the show's "7,000th" episode (which, unbeknownst to the staff, was actually the 7,146th episode), Lucky $even's rules were altered for one day to use stacks of $1,000 instead of $1 bills; on this playing, the contestant could conceivably have won as much as $6,000 cash.
On January 4, 2019, in celebration of the 8,000th episode of The Bold and the Beautiful, Lucky $even was turned into "Lucky Eight" for a day; the contestant was given eight $1 bills and thus could be slightly farther off in her guesses than usual and still win.
Lucky Seven is rumored to have been played for two cars once in the early ‘70s; supposedly, the price the contestant had to guess was the total of the cars’ prices.
Bob once salvaged a loss in this game when he decided that 0, the last number in the price that day, was only three digits away from 7, the contestant’s guess. Lucky $even hasn’t used a price containing a zero in many, many years; it’s not known whether or not these two facts are related, but it’s certainly interesting to note.
The car in Lucky $even is not actually driven onto the stage; it is put in neutral and is pushed out from backstage by stagehands.
Starting on March 18, 1999, excluding primetime episodes, Lucky $even was only played as the first game; this was done to accomodate the stage crew, as the game's car takes up a great deal of space backstage. Over the next eight and a half years, the game gradually began to appear later in the show again; it returned to the second slot partway through Season 31, the third slot near the end of Season 34, and the second half when Season 36 started.
Lucky $even winners do indeed receive any money that is left over after paying a dollar for the car.
Debut: September 14, 1992; 21st season premiere; 73rd game to debut.
Not counting Clock Game, which didn't have a set at all but instead used the video wall, Magic # is the only pricing game that used a different set on the Davidson version than on the daytime show; after its first playing on that version, the prizes’ prices were revealed on the Double Prices podium.
Magic # can’t be played as the first game on an episode. Its computer requires time to boot after it’s turned on, so it can’t be used any earlier than second.
Magic #’s sound effects were changed during 2004; there was no longer a sound effect to indicate that the number was being stopped as of the June 11 episode (due to a pre-emption, the episode in question was not aired until June 18), and on the game’s next playing on October 22, the sounds for the number moving were suddenly much more tinny than before. The original movement sounds were brought back about a year later, on October 10, 2005, and much later on, on February 20, 2008, the "stopping" sound effect was reinstated.
Contrary to a once popular theory, Magic #’s absence during much of the second third of Season 33 was not caused by the game being broken; Bob and Roger had simply decided to play it less frequently for a while.
For the first several years that Magic # was played, the number would automatically round itself to the nearest ten whenever it was stopped; this was actually not supposed to happen, and it was programmed out of the game once the staff discovered it.
Although Bob’s phrasing of the rules made it sound otherwise, if the magic number is stopped on the price of one of the prizes, the contestant does win.
Make Your Move
Debut: September 11, 1989; 18th season premiere; 66th game to debut.
For reasons unknown, after December 13, 1989, Make Your Move was pulled from the pricing game rotation and was not played again for the rest of the season. When it returned the next year on October 12, 1990, its rules were altered to use two 3-digit prizes and no 2-digit prize; under this format, one of the numbers on the board was part of two different prices. These new rules confused essentially everybody in the studio, including the contestants and Bob, and were only used two times; the game's normal rules returned on October 30.
Make Your Move once was rumored to have been played for a brief period in 1986 with slightly different rules; it was then supposedly shelved for three years before reappearing in 1989. This rumor probably stemmed from the events described in the above paragraph.
Incidentally, the first of the two contestants who played the alternate version of Make Your Move did somehow manage to win the game.
Until sometime in Season 22, the contestant’s guesses in Make Your Move were lit up one by one at the end of the game as Bob read them off; the practice was stopped because the audience frequently mistook it as meaning that the guesses were correct.
Debut: March 25, 1983; 54th game to debut.
Master Key's current set was introduced on May 27, 2020.
Contrary to once-popular belief, the original Master Key sign on the Turntable wall was there since the game’s debut. The belief that it was added in 1985 likely stemmed from a GSN rerun from Christmas week of 1984 in which the sign was absent due to an abundance of Christmas decorations.
Each of Master Key’s locks, as well as four of the five keys, have magnets in them; the positions of these magnets determine which keys will open which locks. The three “single-prize” keys each have one magnet in them, with each one corresponding to the position of one lock’s magnet. The master key has three magnets in it, allowing it to open any lock. The dud, obviously, has no magents.
The red backing on the Turntable's first "Master Key" sign originally had a jagged top that resembled a cityscape, much like the top of the prop with the locks. The backing was removed on September 29, 2009, presumably to keep it from running into the then-new Door #5 structure; it was restored minus the cityscape on January 19, 2016's show (which was aired out of order on January 26).
Master Key's current prize reveal was introduced on its first playing of Season 42, on the October 15, 2013, show (which was aired out of order on October 22). Prior to this, the prizes had all been revealed at once behind Door #2.
On February 19, 2018's show (which was aired out of order on February 22), as part of Big Money Week, Master Key was played for $5,000, $15,000, and $30,000, with the $30,000 prize functioning as the "car."
Debut: December 25, 1972; 10th game to debut.
Contrary to long-held belief, Money Game actually debuted two days before Give or Keep. The episode long believed to feature its premiere is actually the January 4, 1973 episode, which contains both games’ second playings. The December 25, 1972 episode is unairable due to Bob’s fur ban.
Money Game was originally played at center stage. It was moved to the Turntable sometime in early 1982, no later than April 9.
During much of the '80s and into the early '90s, Money Game was played for boats fairly frequently; on days when this occurred, it was not treated as a car game, and it was not unheard of for it to be the fourth game.
When Money Game was played for 5-digit cars in the ‘80s (a time when 4-digit car prices were still common), it was called “Big Money Game.” The format was slightly different than the current 5-digit version of Money Game; the last number was revealed at the start of the game (and, in fact, was already visible when the board came around on the Turntable) instead of the 3rd number, and the contestant had to find the first two numbers and the third & fourth numbers. While it was long believed that this format was only used on the Kennedy version, it is now known to have appeared at least twice on the daytime show, on October 8 and October 24, 1985.
Oddly, in Big Money Game, the spots for the car's price were a solid orange instead of showing the front and back of the car. The normal graphics still appeared behind the right numbers on the upper part of the board, though.
Money Game contestants win any cash they’ve accumulated through finding dollar signs regardless of whether or not they win the car.
Despite the presence of cash, Money Game does not have partial wins. As it is impossible to play the game without winning something, and since the cash is not central to the gameplay, it is disregarded when determining a win or a loss.
The second color scheme of the first Money Game board debuted in 1978; the game’s logo was also added at that time.
Money Game’s current board debuted on September 10, 1991 –- the second episode of Season 20. This was not, however, the day the game’s standard 5-digit format debuted -– the original board was modified to accomodate 5-digit prices on February 22, 1990.
Money Game is the all-purpose “substitute” car game. It doesn’t involve any electronics, so it’s very convenient to bring out if the game they’re supposed to play breaks down.
From the start of Season 35 through April 29, 2009, and from February 11, 2011, onward, the top-center choice on every playing of Money Game has been the number of the current season (except on the October 11, 2006 show -- aired out of order on February 5, 2007 -- where it was the left-center choice).
More or Less
Debut: February 16, 2007; 102nd game to debut.
During Season 35, More or Less's prize reveal included a pause between the third prize and the car during which Bob would talk to the contestant. When the game returned to the rotation in Season 36, the pause was done away with.
Debut: October 16, 1972; 9th game to debut.
Most Expen$ive has had four different sets. The second one debuted sometime in 1975 (after August 20, and on September 8 at the latest); the third one was first used on October 16, 1984; and the current one was introduced on February 12, 2010. The first set consisted of three podiums from Five Price Tags with large numbers tacked onto them; the second had huge, white numbers on non-descript, black backgrounds; and the third consisted of giant, blue signposts with neon pink numbers on them. The price tags that go along with the third set did not debut until mid-to-late 1985.
Most Expen$ive did not have a logo until its fourth set was introduced; it is safe to assume that until that time, its name was intended to be written as "Most Expensive", with no dollar sign.
Most Expensive’s staging varies depending on what it’s being played for. It’s usually played behind Door #2, but until Season 38, it used all three Big Doors when it was played for trips.
Most Expensive has also been played for three cars twice, on the Season 35 and 37 premieres on September 18, 2006 and September 22, 2008. It used the same staging as it does when played for trips, albeit with the number signs positioned behind the cars in Season 35 and without them in Season 37.
On episode #160N of the '70s nighttime show, Most Expensive was played on the Turntable for a fur coat, a watch, and a diamond ring, all of which were being worn by Janice; the game's #1 price tag, for the fur coat, was on a stand next to her, while prices #2 and #3 were written on smaller tags inside the coat's pockets. A similar event also took place on episode #259N, with Dian holding a "FUR" price tag, Holly holding a "RING" price tag, and an anonymous third Beauty (not Janice) holding a "WATCH" price tag; although the game was played at Door #2 on this program, it used the standard fur coat staging instead of the Most Expensive set. Given our limited knowledge of the nighttime show, it is entirely possible that this sort of thing was done frequently and has merely been shrouded in the mists of time over the ensuing decades.
There’s also supposedly a Dennis James episode on which Most Expensive was played with three furs coats; in a departure from normal practice, a winner on that particular playing would only receive the most expensive coat. Recent evidence, however, suggests that this may actually have been the short-lived, original format of 1 Right Price.
Debut: September 26, 1973’s show (aired on November 29); third show of Season 2; 17th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on February 21, 1974.
Mystery Price was retired because its rules were too confusing. Despite this, it was actually won 11 of the 17 times it was played.
Now....and Then/Now....or Then
Debut: September 17, 1980 (as “Now....and Then”); 47th game to debut.
Now....and Then’s name was changed to “Now....or Then” on December 2, 1986. The change was made to better reflect the question that contestants playing the game try to answer. Bob actually plugged the change on the air on November 19, the day the game was played under its original name for the last time. The name "Now....and Then" returned for one day on September 22, 2015, as part of "Decades Week;" it also appeared on December 30, 2015, although this seems to have simply been the result of someone forgetting to change the sign back, as Drew referred to the game as "Now....or Then" and the previous playing, which was taped later, used the current name.
Surprisingly, Now....and Then was actually played less times the year it debuted than in any other season; during Season 9, it only appeared on six episodes.
There’s been a nifty, little, unwritten rule in this game since about Season 28 that can make it much, much easier: there are always four “nows” and two “thens.”
Many “then” prices these days are taken from old episodes of Price, but until the late '00s, Fingers found most of them by looking through old newspaper ads.
On the Nose
Debut: September 14, 1984; fifth show of Season 13; 58th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 22, 1985.
On the Nose appears on planned lineups for two episodes after its last playing –- December 9, 1985 and January 3, 1986.
On the Nose involved a different sport every time it was played. Among the five sports used were baseball, basketball, football, darts, and tennis.
On the Nose underwent at least one set change during its life. On its early playings, the price tables were backed by red rectangles; by October 16, 1984, they were backed by triangular patterns similar to the ones on the tables themselves.
On the Spot
Debut: January 27, 2003; 95th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 5, 2004.
Except on its last two playings, which happened to be its only two playings in Season 33, the three paths in On the Spot always had the prices on them in the following vertical patterns:
The patterns were changed on the last two playings in an attempt by Roger to make the game easier; although it did produce wins, the staff evidently decided that they didn’t like the new format.
The patterns used on the last two playings of On the Spot did not use all of the small prizes’ prices, making some of them impossible to win. In fact, on the game’s final playing, two of the paths were identical aside from the prices appearing in different orders on each one.
On the Spot was retired after 26 playings because it was confusing and it had a low win percentage. It actually spent most of Season 33 on an “indefinite hiatus” before officially being retired.
Debut: December 4, 1984; 59th game to debut.
The people that the contestant must ask for horns changed from “gentlemen” to “ladies” early in 1995 (possibly on March 8); Drew expanded the routine to include begging the "mighty sound effects lady" for numbers when he took over the show in Season 36.
During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, it wasn’t uncommon for One Away to be played for very expensive cars, such as Lincolns and Cadillacs. This practice seems to have stopped somewhere around 1995.
One Away stopped offering 4-digit cars during Season 17; it has been played exclusively for 5-digit cars since April 6, 1989.
One Away’s original neon sign with a cursive capital “A” was replaced with a larger, wooden one with a printed capital “A” late in Season 28. Although the sign was starting to flicker around that time, the change was actually made because Bob thought the red lights were reflecting onto his makeup.
For the purposes of this game, 0 and 9 are considered to be “one away” from each other. Those two digits are generally not used in the wrong price, but it has happened on occasion.
One Away served as the $1,000,000 game on the 17th MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to get the car's price right on the first turn.
1 Right Price
Debut: September 11, 1975’s show (aired on September 9); 24th game to debut.
1 Right Price did not enter the pricing game rotation permanently until November 6, 1975.
While 1 Right Price debuted on the daytime show in Season 4, it was also played on the nighttime show with a very different format two times during Season 1, on episodes #002N and #007N. In this early incarnation of the game, the one right price was revealed first, followed by three fur coats being shown behind Door #2; if the contestant won the game, he won only the coat that went with the one right price. (It can't be stated for certain that the original format was only intended to be used with fur coats, but it is the only prize it ever offered.)
1 Right Price has had four sets over the years, more than any other game. The first set was used in nighttime Season 1; the second was introduced when the game returned in Season 4; the third debuted in the 1977 portion of Season 5; the fourth debuted on March 25, 1983 (after first appearing on March 21 in Double Prices); and the current one debuted on April 18, 1988.
1 Right Price's second, third, and fourth sets were also Double Prices's first, second, and third sets.
Oddly enough, 1 Right Price didn’t stop using the props it shared with Double Prices until over a year after Double Prices did.
1 Right Price holds the distinction of being the final pricing game played on the '70s nighttime show.
At least twice -– on the last episode of the ‘70s nighttime run and on March 18, 1992 -– 1 Right Price was staged using two doors; one prize was behind Door #2, the other was behind Door #3, and the podiums were onstage in front of the doors. The prizes on the nighttime playing were a boat and a 3-wheeled electric car; on the 1992 episode, the game was played for two trips.
1 Right Price is one of only two games to debut without a logo after 1973; the other is 1 Wrong Price, which didn’t appear until over 23 years later.
1 Wrong Price/One Wrøng Price
Debut: October 23, 1998; 86th game to debut.
One Wrøng price did not have a logo until one was introduced for it on PriceIsRight.com on August 29, 2013; it can safely be assumed that the name was not intended to be spelled with a "no" symbol in it prior to this point. While the show has had documentation for years referring to it as "One Wrong Price," this FAQ and the pricing game calendars refer to it as "1 Wrong Price" from Seasons 27-41, as its name was clearly taken from 1 Right Price, which is spelled with a digit.
Incidentally, the game still does not have a logo on the air; it currently only exists as a graphic.
Aside from 1 Right Price, which originally shared its props with Double Prices, One Wrøng Price is the only pricing game to debut without a logo after 1972.
Although it usually isn’t noticeable on television, the prize backdrops in One Wrøng Price light up to indicate which prize a contestant has chosen, similar to the number props in Most Expensive.
1 Wrong Price has occasionally been played for three trips. The game has not been staged consistently when this happens: Sometimes, it uses its standard staging with the secondary trip displays; other times, it uses Most Expensive's trip staging with the main trip displays. When the latter staging is used, the game's prize backdrops are absent.
1 Wrong Price has been played for three cars twice, on the 7th and 25th $1,000,000 Spectaculars. The first time this happened, the game used all three of the Big Doors, with one of the game's prize backdrops behind each car; the second time, the game's normal staging was used.
The "no" symbol in "Wrøng" should actually be struck through in the other direction; however, "ø" is the closest character I've been able to find. If anyone knows of a more accurate one, please let me know about it!
In case you’re wondering how to type the "no" symbol, hold the Alt key while typing “0248” on the numeric keypad.
Pass the Buck
Debut: October 4, 2001; 14th show of Season 30; 93rd game to debut.
Pass the Buck was played slightly differently during its first three months. The contestant had to win all three picks (as opposed to getting the first one free), and the board had eight numbers instead of six. The two additional cards were “$2000” and a third “Lose Everything.” The game’s normal format was first used on January 10, 2002.
Pass the Buck’s debut aired during the same week as Bonkers’s debut; however, that only happened due to the 9/11 attacks screwing with the airing schedule. The debut of Bonkers was actually supposed to air the previous week.
Although Drew has a habit of ending Pass the Buck as soon as the car is found, contestants are supposed to have the option to risk losing it if they have any picks left.
On May 16, 2017's show (which was aired out of order on May 18), as part of Dream Car Week, Pass the Buck was played for a Maserati; for this playing, the cash prizes were also increased to $10,000, $15,000, and $20,000.
Debut: April 7, 1987; 62nd game to debut.
Pathfinder’s price display is the same one that was used in Add ‘em Up; for a year or two in the ‘80s, both games were using it. As can be seen on MDS 26, the entire prop is still stationed behind the Pathfinder board.
When Pathfinder was played for 4-digit cars, the square in the center of the board showed a Goodson-Todman asterisk.
Pathfinder was victimized by a cheater on December 1, 1992; the contestant that day briefly touched his foot to a number and then moved it back, obviously to see if the number would light up (which it did).
Pay the Rent
Debut: September 20, 2010; 105th game to debut.
The "$100,000" sign seen in Pay the Rent's intro is made from the "$1,000,000" sign that hangs in the back of the audience during $1,000,000 Spectaculars.
Before Pay the Rent debuted, it was billed as having a prize the show had never offered before; this was, in fact, not the case, as $100,000 has been the primetime top prize in Plinko since the "The Price Is Right Salutes" specials in 2002.
Pay the Rent's difficulty has fluctuated wildly since it was introduced. During Seasons 39 and 40, each playing had exactly one correct solution, and putting the least expensive product in the mailbox, which initially sounds like the most logical way to play the game, was always wrong; however, since the start of Season 41, the game has gotten progressively easier.
On February 23, 2018, as part of Big Money Week, a cash equivalent bonus was offered to anyone who won their pricing game; as such, while its top prize was technically not altered, Pay the Rent was effectively played for $200,000 that day.
Debut: January 25, 1979; 43rd game to debut.
Retired; final playing on June 14, 2002.
The first five times it was played, Penny Ante had completely different rules than the ones we’re used to. The two prices could each be anywhere on the board, and the goal was to find them both before your wrong guesses totalled a dollar or more (i.e. 100 pennies). Instead of the contestant having gigantic, fake pennies, real pennies shot down the board into catchers at the front whenever a wrong guess was made; a Sportstype-font scoreboard at the top of the prop kept track of how many pennies had been accumulated. The board also had a very different color scheme in this era, which explains why the game's name was originally in red instead of something that fit better with the green and blue on the rest of the prop.
Penny Ante’s normal rules debuted on its sixth playing, on March 30, 1979.
Penny Ante presumably changed to the original version of its green-and-blue color scheme when its rules were redone. The more sleek version of this color scheme that was used up through Season 30 was introduced around ‘83 or ‘84.
Penny Ante was retired because of a series of mechanical problems that flared up throughout the 1990s and became considerably more frequent during Season 30. It was actually scheduled to be played in Season 31 on October 9, 2002, but it malfunctioned before the taping, was replaced by Pick-a-Number, and was subsequently removed from the pricing game rotation. The staff decided to retire it, but they reversed that decision later in the week; unfortunately, by that time, the game’s board had been placed outside by the garbage, where it was damaged beyond repair in a rainstorm. The show had long intended to rebuild the game, and although the process of doing so never really got off the ground, it was not officially declared as being retired until nearly five years after its last playing.
Penny Ante's signature sound effect returned to the show nearly two decades later as the sound of the randomizer in To the Penny. It was also used briefly in 2015 for the price reveals on the first four playings of Vend-O-Price.
The Phone Home Game
Debut: September 12, 1983; 12th season premiere; 55th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 3, 1989.
The Phone Home Game is the only game besides Double Bullseye that involved two people; however, in The Phone Home Game, the contestants were working together.
On August 22-26, 1983, in the midst of Season 11’s summer reruns, TPIR did a special week of new shows for the sole purpose of advertising The Phone Home Game.
The seven cash awards in The Phone Home Game were two each of $200 and $1,000 and one each of $2,000, $3,000, and $10,000.
The Phone Home Game was only ever played second and third. Its staging made playing it first more of a hassle than it would have been worth, and as the home contestants were called before the show began taping and were kept on hold until the game was played, scheduling it in the second half would have required keeping them on hold for much longer than could be considered polite.
The Phone Home Game is the only pricing game whose name actually begins with the word “the.”
Bob would occasionally plug playings of The Phone Home Game on the previous day's episode, telling the viewers to stay home and watch the show because “I just might be calling you.” Of course, this was in reality a ploy for ratings, as the show was never aired live.
The Phone Home Game had its own contestant plug, which was read by the announcer at the end of the game before the show went to commercial.
The Phone Home Game holds the distinction of being the only pricing game in which a win was intentionally not accompanied by the show’s theme. Instead, the game’s intro would play along with the “clang/whoop” sound effects. In fact, this occurred any time the contestants won the $10,000 award (which was always revealed last). The show’s theme would not start playing until Bob threw to Johnny or Rod for the game’s contestant plug.
The Phone Home Game was routinely taken out of the game rotation early in November each year, around the time of the then-annual Home Viewer Showcase, and generally didn't return until sometime in January or February.
Despite The Phone Home Game having been retired in 1989, the original Big Doors contained a jack for its telephone to be plugged into right up through the day Bob retired in 2007.
Although they were not physically at the show, home players on The Phone Home Game were on-air and were thus ineligible to be in-studio contestants through the beginning of Season 36; however, the show amended its rules in November, 2007, to make ineligibility expire 10 years after a contestant's appearance, so this distinction is now irrelevant.
Despite the enormous luck factor involved in such an occurrence, The Phone Home Game was completely won at least two times, on April 17, 1986, and June 30, 1988.
The Phone Home Game was retired because the staff felt that it took too long and didn’t draw enough interest (nor enough ratings) to justify keeping it around.
Debut: April 12, 1982; 52nd game to debut.
Pick-a-Pair holds the record for third-longest time between playings of a game -- one year and 339 days. Its last playing with its ferris wheel set was on October 10, 1988, and its first playing with its table set was on September 14, 1990 (the fifth show of Season 19). It was only played two times in Season 17 and was out of the rotation for the remainder of that year and the entirety of Season 18. The only games that have gone longer without being played are Barker's Bargain Bar, which disappeared for three and a half years between 2008 and 2012, and Check Game, which vanished for just over four years between 2009 and 2013.
Pick-a-Pair’s current set originally had much more red and many more lights on the front of its table than it does now; these were still present on January 14, 1991, but had been replaced with the dark blue stripes by the beginning of Season 20. The stripes took on their current, neon-ish appearance on December 18, 2012.
Pick-a-Pair’s name used to be written as “Pick a Pair”; the hyphens weren’t present in the game’s ferris wheel incarnation.
Pick a Pair’s ferris wheel set had two different color schemes; the parts of the sign and the grocery platforms that were originally orange changed to a sky blue sometime in 1985 or early 1986.
During the later years of the ferris wheel set, carnival music played during Pick a Pair. It was added sometime in 1985, before the set’s color scheme was changed.
Despite it not having been used on the show in nearly a quarter of a century, Pick a Pair's ferris wheel set is prominently featured in the game's installment in the show's Facebook slot machine series.
Debut: January 31, 1992; ceremonial 4,000th episode; 70th game to debut.
The show on which Pick-a-Number debuted was actually episode #3,992.
Pick-a-Number is occasionally used as a substitute when other games played for a single prize break down.
Debut: January 3, 1983; 53rd game to debut.
Plinko was first played for $50,000 (instead of $25,000) on the 25th Anniversary Special in August, 1996. The change carried over to the daytime show a little over two years later, on October 15, 1998.
On the Salutes from Season 30, the MDSs, and A Celebration of Bob Barker's 50 Years in Television, Plinko was played for $100,000, with the value of the center slot increased to $20,000. The game would also have been played for $100,000 on the 30th Anniversary Special had Triple Play been lost earlier in the show; however, that did not happen. It should be noted that the game's top prize was not increased on Season 44's Big Brother special.
Plinko’s current, pastel color scheme debuted on February 1, 1991. At the same time, the fonts of the game’s money amounts were changed, both on the board and on the sign.
The Plinko sign was not used on Plinko’s first two playings; instead, a disco ball with “$25,000” circling around it was lowered from the ceiling in front of the audience while Grand Game’s intro music played. Once the sign did debut, it was set in the back of the audience through at least December 12, 1983; it was moved to its usual location on the Turntable no later than November 29, 1984.
The Plinko sign was used for the last time on December 5, 2002. It was retired in favor of a “$50,000” graphic, which served as the game's sole introduction until the flying Plinko chip graphics were introduced on March 5, 2009; this intro was further modified on September 21, 2009, when the game began to be revealed with a wide shot of the Race Game Curtain rising, and again early in Season 39, on September 24, 2010, when the rolling Plinko chip graphics and the wipe consisting of a graphic of the Plinko board were introduced.
When Rich DiPirro overhauled Plinko's opening at the beginning of Season 38, he had intended to include the Plinko sign coming around on the Turntable in the wide shot of the set, with the idea being that the entire stage would "transform into Plinko;" however, when someone "in management" (presumably Mike) found out that he wanted to use the sign, it was thrown away before any of the plans could be discussed.
Plinko’s intro has had three different harps over the years. The first one, the same one used in Punch a Bunch, was used from the second playing through April of 1995. The second harp debuted on May 3, 1995 and was used for somewhere between one and three years. The third harp, which was in use by November 26, 1997, is still used today.
To keep chips from flying off the board, a solid plexiglass cover was added to the Plinko board in the early ‘90s. During Season 22, probably to make it easier to remove stuck chips, it was replaced with the current cover, which simply places thin barriers over the gaps between the pegs in the board. As of September 20, 2005, there is also a cover over the slots at the bottom of the board.
Plinko's plasma screen scoreboard and LED slots were introduced on the game's first playing of Season 39, on September 24, 2010.
By the official definition of a “win,” Plinko has never been won.
On a related note, if anyone ever does win Plinko, the clangs and whoops generally associated with huge wins will be played.
The closest Plinko has ever come to being won was on November 30, 1990. The contestant playing that day won $21,000 by putting four chips in $5,000 and one in $1,000. It is not possible to play the game better than that without completely winning.
Since increasing the value of the center slot, Plinko's biggest winners have acheived scores of $31,500 in daytime on May 24, 2017's show (which was aired on May 25) and $41,000 in primetime on the 25th MDS from May 14, 2008 (which was aired a week early, on May 7); with the original values in play, though, these scores would only have been $16,500 and $11,000, respectively.
On October 10, 2016, $30,500 was won in Plinko; however, this episode also had the value of the center slot raised to $30,000. Under normal circumstances, the contestant would only have won $10,500 (or $5,500 with the original values). Similarly, on Plinko's 35th birthday on January 3, 2018, with all the cash values altered to have "35" in them, $39,200 was won; under normal circumstances, this would only have been $12,000 (or $7,000 with the original values). Also, on October 14, 2019, during Big Money Week, $202,000 was won; this would normally have won only $11,000 (or $6,000 with the original values).
On the Davidson version, Plinko used a different set of slot values than on the daytime show –- the $100 slots were replaced with $2,500. There was also a second layout used on that version of the show with a distribution $100, $500, 0, $5,000, 0, $5,000, 0, $500, $100. It is interesting to note that if this pattern had been used on the daytime show, there is a contestant in Season 24 who would have won the game.
In addition to the above-mentioned changes, the Davidson version also used the “higher or lower” format for small prize pricing, since they wanted to use three-digit prices in the game. Also, the Plinko sign was placed in the back of the audience, because the show had no Turntable, and the sting from The Cats was replaced with the intro cue for It’s in the Bag.
On the Big Brother primetime special from Season 44, the lower dollar amounts on the Plinko board were changed to $500, $1,000, and $2,500. These amounts were used again in Season 45's Big Money Week and, for no discernible reason, on February 3, 2017.
The version of Plinko’s logo seen on the game’s board has considerably different dimensions than the version seen on the sign and the small prize podiums. The latter version is somewhat “squished,” for lack of a better term, and the i’s fallen dot is more in front of the letter than next to it; this has led some people to mistakenly believe that the game’s name is spelled “Pl!nko”.
Plinko served as the $1,000,000 game on the 21st and 25th MDSs. To win the million, the contestant had to put at least three chips in the center slot, thereby earning an extra "golden Plinko chip" which would also have to be put in the center slot.
Plinko holds the distinction of being the only $1,000,000 game in which it is possible to win the million dollars without completely winning the game.
During the week of April 23-27, 2012, whose shows were aired two weeks early, on April 9-13, Plinko was played every day as part of a promotion for Publishers Clearing House. Each day, the $10,000 slot turned into a "jackpot" space on the final chip; the jackpot started at $20,000 and rolled over each day it was not won; an amount lower than a certain, unrevealed threshhold being awarded during the course of the week would also cause $25,000 to be awarded as a bonus to the winner of Friday's Showcase. Winners of the jackpot were presented a check by the Prize Patrol at the end of the game (or of the Showcase, in the case of the $25,000 bonus).
On April 26, 2013, and on September 23, 2013's show (which was aired out of order on October 18), as part of "Big Money Weeks," Plinko was played for $500,000, with the center slot's value increased to $100,000. Subsequent Big Money Weeks further increased the top prize to $1,000,000, with a $200,000 center slot; starting in Season 45, the values of the lower slots were also raised to $500, $1,000, and $2,500.
On October 4, 2013's show (which was aired early on September 27), in belated celebration of the game's 30th anniversary, all six pricing games were Plinko. In order to stick to an episode's usual prize structure, the game's first playing was a normal game of Plinko; the second and fourth playings replaced the $10,000 slot with a car until it was hit; the fifth playing did the same, except with a trip; and the third and sixth playings served as two-prize games, with prizes placed on each of the $1,000 slots until they were hit (leading to the paradox of the game being impossible to win if either prize was hit). This is the only time in the show's history that a game has been played more than once in the same show and makes Plinko one of only two games that has been played six times in one week, the other being Double Prices in the very first week (thanks to the existence of episode #0013D(R)).
Plinko was also played for a car during Season 47's Dream Car Week, on February 22, 2019's show (which was aired out of order on May 31), using the same rules.
On February 19, 2015, as part of #UDecide Week, the show's Twitter followers voted to change the $100 slots to $10,000 slots for one episode; the other option had been to play the game for $125,000 for one day, with the $10,000 slot becoming a $25,000 slot.
On October 10, 2016, in celebration of CBS being the #1 network in Daytime for 30 straight years, the value of Plinko's center slot was changed to $30,000 for one episode.
On Plinko's 35th birthday on January 3, 2018, all of Plinko's cash values were altered to incorporate the number 35, resulting in a top prize of $175,000. The $10,000 slot was increased to $35,000, the $100 and $1,000 slots were increased to $3,500, and, oddly, the $500 slots were decreased to $350. This was done again on December 31, 2018, the show's annual "Best of" episode.
On December 21, 2018, on one of Season 47's Christmas shows, Plinko was played for $250,000, with $50,000 in the center slot; the lower values were also raised to $500, $1,000, and $2,500.
Debut: January 10, 2005; 99th game to debut.
Pocket ¢hange’s board has a frequency chart for its envelopes, but it’s very hard to read. The game has actually had three different distributions during its life. On its first playing only, the listing was as follows:
- 0¢ - x3
- 5¢ - x5
- 10¢ - x5
- 25¢ - x4
- 50¢ - x2
- $2 - x1
On the game’s second playing, the distribution was changed thusly:
- 0¢ - x3
- 5¢ - x3
- 10¢ - x6
- 25¢ - x4
- 50¢ - x2
- 75¢ - x1
- $2 - x1
Sometime between the second playing and February 7, 2007, the distrubution was slightly altered once more, to the following:
- 0¢ - x2
- 5¢ - x4
- 10¢ - x5
- 25¢ - x4
- 50¢ - x3
- 75¢ - x1
- $2 - x1
I honestly do not know when the second change happened; however, if I had to guess, I would say it was probably when the appearance of the frequency chart changed to resemble a patch, which occurred on the game’s 2nd, 3rd, or 4th playing of Season 34. Keep in mind that this is only a guess.
The first time Pocket ¢hange was played, the contestant had to guess all five digits in the car’s price, thereby giving him five envelopes instead of four; this was changed in order to make the game take less time. The game’s regular rules debuted on its second playing.
Despite the game using the concept of accumulating pocket change, Pocket ¢hange contestants do not actually win any money.
In case you’re wondering how to type a cents sign, hold the Alt key while typing “155” on the numeric keypad.
Debut: September 9, 1975’s show (aired on September 12); 23rd game to debut.
Retired; final playing on May 10, 2007.
Poker Game did not enter the pricing game rotation permanently until October 14, 1975.
Contrary to popular belief, Poker Game did not debut on the first permanent hour-long show. In fact, it first appeared on the second trial hour episode.
Poker Game technically survived into Season 36; it was not permanently removed from the rotation until that winter.
Poker Game is by far the longest-lived pricing game ever to be retired, having been in the rotation for 32 years.
Early on, Poker Game was played slightly differently; the contestant could make his hand with any five of the six digits from the two prices he'd chosen, and he didn't have the option of passing his hand to the house.
Poker Game’s original rules weren’t used very long; the latest the regular rules could have debuted was October 27, 1975.
Poker Game has had only two set changes during its life -– the background on the number lights was white until the show expanded to an hour permanently, and a flashy dollar sign graphic was added to the price reveal prop sometime in 1989 after March 3.
Straights do not count in Poker Game; as such, the worst achieveable hand is 54321. A hand of 43210 is impossible, as the sixth digit from the selected prices would inevitably create a pair and/or bump the 0.
On a side note, if straights did count, the worst possible hand would be 65321.
The entire time it was in the rotation, Poker Game never offered a prize worth more than $999.
Poker Game holds the distinction of being the oldest pricing game that never offered a car. (The oldest active game that has never offered one is currently Danger Price.)
Debut: November 14, 1977; 36th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 21, 1977.
Professor Price is the shortest-lived pricing game in history; it was only played two times and was only active for six episodes.
Professor Price is the only pricing game besides Double Bullseye with a 100% win record.
Even though it was only played two times, Professor Price still managed to undergo a rule change during its short life; on its first playing, the order of the questions was predetermined, while on its second playing, the contestant chose her questions randomly, one at a time, from among several cards that Bob was holding.
When the answer to the second or fourth question in Professor Price was "no," there was simply no number in the price revealed for that question; this could (and, in the former's case, did) lead to the contestant winning without the entire price being revealed or to the contestant losing even though it looked like there were still numbers to be guessed.
While many games on the show involve some element of luck or skill in addition to pricing, Professor Price is the only game that involved general knowledge questions...something that probably contributed to its quick retirement.
Professor Price holds the distinction of being the only pricing game with no luck or skill elements in which you could know the price of everything and still lose.
Punch a Bunch
Debut: September 27, 1978's episode (aired on September 26); 41st game to debut.
Punch a Bunch has one $25,000 slip; two $10,000 slips; four $5,000 slips; eight $2,500 slips; ten slips each of $1,000, $500, and $250; and five $100 slips. This distribution was introduced on September 29, 2011, on the game's first playing of Season 40.
Punch a Bunch's original top prize was $10,000. The original slip distribution for its normal format was ten each of $50, $100, $250, and $500; five $1,000; three $5,000; and two $10,000. One each of the four lowest amounts also had "Second Chance" written on it; a contestant who found one of these was allowed to punch another hole and add its value to whatever was on the Second Chance.
Punch a Bunch's top prize on the daytime show was increased to $25,000 at the start of Season 37, on the October 1, 2008 episode (which was broadcast out of order on December 2 due to Syd Vinnedge having the Big Wheel painted purple); this was accomplished by replacing one of the $10,000 slips with a $25,000 slip.
Starting in Season 30, Punch a Bunch’s top prize in primetime was $25,000. The game also had a different slip frequency in primetime than in daytime -– 15 each of $100, $500, and $1000; three $5000; and two $25,000. Additionally, there were no Second Chance slips.
In Season 36, Punch a Bunch's primetime top prize was increased to $50,000. The slip frequency was also altered -- 12 each of $100, $500, and $1,000; 10 $5,000; three $25,000; and one $50,000. Additionally, four of the slips have a "Second Chance" on them; it is not known at this time which slips they are on.
On the Survivor special in Season 44, Punch a Bunch's top prize was not increased (although by this time, the standard top prize was the original augmented primetime top prize of $25,000); however, the slip frequency was altered to put more of the larger amounts in the board. The game used one $25,000 slip; four $10,000 slips; 15 $5,000 slips; 15 $2,500 slips; 10 $1,000 slips; and five $500 slips.
Punch a Bunch had very different rules on its first 11 playings. Instead of dollar amounts, the holes in the board concealed multipliers -- 20 that read "DOLLAR," 20 that read "HUNDRED," and 10 that read "THOUSAND." Additionally, the letters in the word “PUNCHBOARD” at the top of the board concealed numbers -- two each of 1, 2, 3, and 4, and one each of 5 and 10. The contestant began by picking a small prize to win a punch with; if he got it right, he would select a letter in "PUNCHBOARD," and Bob would open it and reveal the number inside. The contestant would then punch out a hole, and the multiplier inside would be revealed and combined with the number; for instance, if a 4 and a HUNDRED were found, the punch would be worth $400. The contestant could either keep the amount revealed or give it back to attempt to win another number/punch combination. The game would continue until the contestant quit, in which case he would win what he quit with; until he won the fourth small prize, in which case he would win whatever he found with the last punch; or until he lost the fourth small prize, in which case he would win no money at all (a much more plausible outcome with the original rules than with the normal ones).
For three and a half decades, Punch a Bunch's original rules were known only through word of mouth; on April 7, 2014, video of the game's ninth playing finally surfaced on YouTube thanks to, strangely enough, Wink Martindale.
Punch a Bunch's frequency chart was not present through at least its ninth playing; it seems reasonable to assume that it was not introduced at least until the normal rules debuted.
Punch a Bunch’s normal rules debuted on its 12th playing, on January 5, 1979.
The current Punchboard debuted on September 10, 1996 -– the second show of Season 25. That was also when the game’s reveal changed.
Punch a Bunch's current color scheme debuted on Season 44's Survivor special, the night of May 23, 2016; however, the frequency chart was not repainted until September 22, on the game's first playing of Season 45, and its old color scheme appeared one last time on September 30 on a show that was taped prior to premiere week before the new colors returned permanently on October 11.
While the original Punchboard was in use, the board's lights were lit up throughout the game. When the current board was introduced in 1996, this was changed to having them only flash during a win; they did not go back to staying on all the time until May 29, 2018.
On some Davidson playings of Punch a Bunch, contestants punched out their holes one at a time instead of all at once.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable to call this game “Punchboard,” “Punch a Bunch” is its real name.
Punch a Bunch’s slips used to have a much more plain look to them; the current ones came into use on November 27, 1984.
Punch a Bunch’s $10,000 bill has had several different pictures of the hosts over the years. The original photo of Bob was used for about six years, with the second one debuting on November 9, 1984 (coincidentally, this was also the last playing with the original slips). The first white-haired picture of Bob debuted shortly after he stopped using dye in 1987. On the first “white hair” episode, the game was played with the second picture still on the bill, and Janice colored in Bob’s hair on it with a piece of chalk. The Price Is Right Salutes and $1,000,000 Spectaculars have a $25,000 bill with a full-color picture of Bob on it; a monochrome version of this picture was placed on the $10,000 bill on October 18, 2005. A full-color shot of Drew was placed on a more authentic-looking $10,000 (and subsequently $25,000) bill when he took over the show in Season 36; this image was scrapped in favor of using a different photo in every playing on the April 6, 2009 show (which was aired out of order on April 16). Tom Kennedy had his own picture for the $10,000 bill on the Season 14 nighttime show.
Davidson’s show used a completely different intro for Punch a Bunch. The $10,000 bill and the harps were absent; instead, a “$10,000” image flashed on the video wall, and the music used was the extended version of the Fortune Hunter intro cue heard on early playings of It’s in the Bag.
Because of the “Second Chance” slips, until Season 40, it was actually possible for contestants to more than $10,000/$25,000 in this game, and it did indeed happen a few times over the years. If all four “Second Chances” were found one after another, a contestant could win as much as $10,900/$25,900; however, the most anyone is known to have found in a row is two.
Punch a Bunch served as the $1,000,000 game on the 24th MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to find the $50,000 slip on the first punch.
On April 23, 2013 and February 22, 2018's shows (which were aired out of order on April 22, 2013, and February 21, 2018, respectively), as part of Big Money Week, Punch a Bunch was played for $250,000. The game used one $250,000 slip; nine $10,000 slips; 15 $5,000 slips; 10 $2,500 slips; 10 $1,000 slips; and five $500 slips. This prize was also offered on October 16, 2019's show (aired out of order on October 15), again during Big Money Week, with a slightly different distribution, replacing the $500 slips with $20,000 slips.
Punch a Bunch was also featured in Big Money Week on October 28, 2016, this time for $50,000. The game used one $50,000 slip; four $10,000 slips; 15 $5,000 slips; 15 $2,500 slips; 10 $1,000 slips; and five $500 slips on this playing.
On May 19, 2017, as part of Dream Car Week, Punch a Bunch was played for a car, which replaced two of the $100 slips in the board. The car, a $34,295 BMW, supplanted the $25,000 as the top prize for the day. This was done again on February 21, 2020, although this time, the board had only one car slip.
Only one contestant, way back in Season 7, has ever played Punch a Bunch and not won any punches.
Debut: March 3, 1999; 87th game to debut.
Push Over debuted on the final show with padded walls on the Turntable.
On Push Over's first three playings, the box that the blocks fell into was red; it was painted yellow because it was practically invisible against the red Turntable wall.
Push Over's second color scheme debuted on May 3, 2016; however, as the episode was taped out of order, it seems reasonable to assume that the original color scheme will subsequently return for a few more weeks.
Early in Push Over’s life, Bob frequently joked that when the blocks were pushed off the table, they went directly to China.
Push Over’s box has a microphone in it; that’s why you can clearly hear the blocks falling into it.
Never in Push Over’s history has the first price in the line been correct – at least one block has always needed to be pushed off the table. Only eight contestants – on October 13, 2005; July 17, 2008; May 22, 2009; June 2, 2011; December 15, 2011's show (aired out of order on October 7); May 24, 2016's show (aired a day late on May 25); July 4, 2016; and March 1, 2018 – have ever chosen the first price.
Debut: August 14, 1974; 20th game to debut.
Race Game has had three different “think musics” over the years: the original Vaudeville-style piece (not the same one used in Switcheroo); the current music, named “Early Happy Days,” which replaced the original in the first half of 1992; and The William Tell Overture, which was used on the Kennedy version (and at least once on the daytime show right after the original cue was retired).
On October 25, 2016, as part of Big Money Week, Race Game offered a $10,000 bonus for winning with at least 15 seconds left.
Debut: April 3, 1973; 12th game to debut.
The current Range Game board debuted in 1976.
The rangerfinder has almost always been $150 long (on a $600 scale), but very early in the game’s life, it was only $50. When the game proved next to impossible to win that way, they quickly increased it to $100 and then again to the familiar $150.
The first time Range Game appeared on the '70s nighttime show, in its only playing of Season 1, it used a $200 rangefinder, covering 1/3 of the scale. When the game returned partway through Season 2, the normal, $150 rangefinder was in place.
If the rangefinder reaches the top of the scale, it automatically stops.
Since the rangefinder is manually operated, it moves about an extra $2 up the scale after the contestant hits the button. That may not seem significant at first glance, but it’s actually caused a couple of people to lose the game who perhaps shouldn’t have. In close cases such as this, the determination of the game’s outcome has been made by Bob or Roger.
Starting in the mid-'80s, Bob would usually tell contestants that once they had pushed the button to stop the rangefinder, it could not be started again for some absurd length of time, such as "for a week and a half" or "until next Saturday;" from the late '90s onward, it was almost always "for 37 hours." Drew attempted to do the joke the first time he taped Range Game (November 6, 2007's episode, which was aired out of order on October 17) but, in his own words, "butchered it;" it has not been mentioned since.
Sometime between late 1984 and October, 1985, the diagonal stripes on the Range Game board were changed from red to gold; this change definitely occurred while Johnny was still alive. After this change, but still before Johnny died, the game’s original button and rangefinder holder were replaced with the current ones.
Range Game’s first button had the word “STOP” written on it in white capital letters.
The Item up for Bids offered immediately before the first playing of Range Game was a range. It’s hard to say whether this was done on purpose; if it was, the joke was probably lost on the viewers, as the pricing games’ names were generally not being used on the air at the time.
Although a separate rangefinder prop was built for the Davidson version’s Showcase, its pilot episodes used the actual Range Game board (with a few modifications). A clip of this can be seen in TNPIR’94’s opening.
Range Game served as the $1,000,000 game on the 20th MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to pick the exact price from the area covered by the rangefinder (making it impossible, of course, to win the money but lose the game).
On October 27, 2016, as part of Big Money Week, an extra, orange, $50 rangefinder was added to the center of Range Game's main rangefinder; winning the game with the price in the orange rangefinder earned a $10,000 bonus.
On 2019's New Year's Eve show, Range Game was played backwards -- a disco ball graphic was placed around the rangefinder, and it moved down the scale toward a "2020" graphic at the bottom of the board. This was done again on the 2021 New Year's Eve show, although without a year at the bottom.
Debut: June 16, 2010; 3rd-last show of Season 38; 104th game to debut.
Rat Race is the only small prize game that uses a grocery item, complete with a non-rounded price, as a small prize; as such, it is also the only small prize game to utilize cents.
Despite being a car game, Rat Race has been played for cash two times. On November 10, 2014, as part of Big Money Week, it offered a total of $175,000, with $25,000 serving as the first prize, $50,000 serving as the second prize, and $100,000 serving as the car; and on February 16, 2015, as part of #UDecide Week, it offered a total of $100,000, with $10,000 serving as the first prize, $15,000 serving as the second prize, and $75,000 serving as the car.
Debut: April 27, 1976; 29th game to debut.
The appearance of Safe Crackers was altered slightly during the first half of Season 14; the door was darkened considerably around its bolts, the original sign was replaced, and the “OPEN” and “LOCK” lights were changed. The updates had not occurred yet on the season premiere in September ‘85, but they were in place by Rich Jeffries’s episodes in January ‘86.
Until November of 2005, Safe Crackers was revealed the same way as Five Price Tags. Beginning of November 18, a series of changes occurred, beginning with a single playing in which the game used its original reveal but with Door #2 already open. Starting on December 7, the game began with a wide shot of the safe. The reveal was tinkered with off and on over the next few months; the current reveal, starting with a close-up of the “Safe Crackers” sign and moving downward, was in place by May 8, 2006.
Safe Crackers’s original “think music” was the famous “Pink Panther” music. They stopped using it in early 1992 because they got sick of paying royalties on it every time they played the game. The second think music, used from ‘92-’95, was also used on the Kennedy version. The current music, originally heard on the Davidson version, debuted on April 27, 1995.
Contrary to somewhat popular belief, Safe Crackers is not played behind Door #1. The game’s reveal (or the camera shot before it, prior to November ‘06) shows Bob/Drew and the contestant walking to the right side of Door #2; this confuses some people, since most games have them standing to its left.
If you’ve ever wondered how the colors on the dials change from black to red...they don’t really change at all. The dials are clear, and they’re placed in front of black-and-red backgrounds.
Safe Crackers served as the $1,000,000 game on the 18th MDS, on which it was played for a car. To win the million, the contestant had to win the game, then risk the prizes by playing the game again with the price of the car, with the stipulation that numbers could repeat. As a result of this format, the total value of the game's prize package was not revealed on this episode, and a second set of dials was added to the upper part of the door if the contestant succeeded in opening it the first time.
Debut: September 14, 1977; 35th game to debut.
Secret “X” is one day newer than Squeeze Play.
Secret “X”‘s board was originally mainly white; it was changed to yellow on February 12, 1981. Its current color scheme debuted sometime between spring 1985 and the end of 1986, and the black stripes in the game’s border were removed in the fall of 2004. The game has also had three different color schemes on its small prize podiums, probably corresponding to the main board’s color schemes.
Although it is possible to put three Xs in a row vertically in the left- or right-hand column, doing so will cause the contestant to lose the game. A winning tic-tac-toe must involve the Secret X.
Debut: June 17, 1974; 18th game to debut.
Shell Game was originally created to replace Bonus Game, which the staff had intended to retire; in fact, after it debuted, Bonus Game was not played on the daytime show for over 13 months.
Shell Game’s second set debuted on March 6, 2001. Its current staging and color scheme debuted on February 18, 2021.
With its current staging, Shell Game is one of only two games played on the Turntable to have its main prop not be on the spinning panel, and the first since Give or Keep was retired back in 1990.
Shell Game is one of only four pricing games which has been host to a cheater...although we think the one in this game on October 6, 1986, simply didn’t understand what she was supposed to be doing. Upon winning her first chip, she looked under one of the shells, revealing that the ball wasn’t under it. Bob scolded her, and upon realizing her mistake, the mortified woman immediately placed the chip by the same shell she had just looked under. Bob then scolded her again for doing something so stupid, forced her to move the chip to another shell, and went on with the game. She ended up with a chip by every shell except the one she had looked under, and Bob was able to have quite a bit of fun playing up the obvious win.
Shell Game's cash bonus was originally $500; on the ‘70s nighttime show, it was $1,000. The bonus was increased to the amount of the prize being played for on October 26, 2010, the game's first playing of Season 39.
The Kennedy run seems to have had several different formats for the cash bonus. Early episodes used the same $500 rule as they daytime show; later episodes used the $1,000 bonus from the James version; and on at least one episode from the second half of the run, a contestant was simply given $1,000 for winning all four chips.
Although the show stopped using blue cards to identify prizes' manufacturers in the mid-'90s, the ones in Shell Game remained, bearing Goodson-Todman asterisks, all the way until 2021, when that portion of the game's set was replaced with monitors.
Debut: January 17, 1996; 80th game to debut.
Early on in Shopping Spree’s life, its set was slightly different – instead of the orange card displaying how much the contestant needed to spend, there was an orange vane display that showed the amount. Also, the green vane display originally showed how much the contestant had spent, as opposed to showing how much he still has to spend.
Debut: September 4, 1978’s episode (aired early, on June 30); 39th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 30, 1978.
Shower Game was retired because it was, at its core, a boring game with no real strategy involved, something that the giant shower stall prop could only go so far toward masking. A number of complaints from viewers stating that the game reminded them of the Holocaust, while not the primary reason for its retirement, likely did not help its case.
Shower Game was played ten times, with three wins; GSN never reran any of its episodes (or most of the rest of Season 7, for that matter).
After being under the radar for 26 years, Golden-Road.net’s staff unearthed two playings of Shower Game late in 2004, with permission from Roger to post screencaps from them; nearly a decade later, on April 2, 2014, video of the first playing was finally put online by, strangely enough, Wink Martindale. The game had a huge prop with six shower stalls on it; it rivaled Hurdles in size, stretching all the way from the Turntable to Door #3. Each of the six shower stalls had a price on it; one of them was the price of the car. Each stall had a chain in it for the contestant to pull. The car shower’s chain would cause a gigatic key with the word “CAR” on it to lower from the ceiling; of the other five showers, three would spray the contestant with confetti, and the other two would spray one hundred $1 bills. The contestant could enter showers and pull chains until he found either the car key (thus winning) or $100 (thus losing, but keeping the money).
As far as is known, there was no real logic to which wrong prices had which items; there were always three confettis and two monies, but they seemed to be assigned to the showers randomly, or at least not in a set pattern.
Shower Game debuted on the same episode as It’s Optional, with Shower Game being played in the first half.
Side by Side
Debut: May 10, 1994; 76th game to debut.
Side by Side's current board was introduced on September 24, 2019's episode (which was aired a day late on September 25).
Side by Side is the only pricing game whose name contains a single word multiple times.
Debut: September 15, 1988; fourth show of Season 17; 64th game to debut.
Spelling Bee is the only pricing game whose name is impossible to write accurately in text. In the game’s logo, the word “Bee” is represented by a picture of a bumblebee.
Spelling Bee’s frequency chart first appeared on February 7, 1994.
The background behind Spelling Bee’s cards was originally yellow. It became red on October 29, 1992.
The cards in Spelling Bee have been worth $1,000 since February 18, 2008, the game's first appearance in Season 36. Prior to that, they had been worth $500.
On February 15, 2016, as part of Dream Car Week, Spelling Bee was played for a $120,000 Aston Martin. For this playing only, the cards were worth $5,000 apiece. This was repeated on February 19, 2020, with a $100,000 Lexus.
The only way to win money in Spelling Bee is to quit the game. Contestants who win only win the car.
On February 19, 2018's show (which was aired out of order on February 22), as part of Big Money Week, Spelling Bee was played for $100,000, and each individual card was worth $5,000; the goal of the game was also to spell "BIG" instead of "CAR," although this was only a cosmetic change.
On a related note, a rumor once circulated that Spelling Bee has an additional set of cards, numbered 31-60, that have the letters S, U, and V on them. This is completely false; the game has never used these letters, and the cards are not numbered at all –- the spaces on the board are.
Debut: November 9, 1995; 79th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on January 16, 1997
Split Decision seems to have been intended to debut on the Season 24 premiere; it is on that show’s planned lineup sheet, and it appears in one planned lineup every week between then and its actual debut.
May 24, 1996 marked the first time Split Decision was played under its second format; instead of having a 20-second clock, players were simply given three chances to win. The second rules were only used two times; the clock format returned on June 5.
Split Decision was retired because it seemed to confuse everyone who played it.
Split Decision is often maligned because of an infamous playing of the game in which two numbers fell off of the board. People have occasionally tried to make it sound like this was a frequent occurrence; in reality, it only happened one time.
Debut: September 13, 1977; 34th game to debut.
Squeeze Play is one day older than Secret “X”.
Squeeze Play was originally played on center stage. It was moved to the Turntable sometime during Season 10. On the Season 44 premiere, on September 21, 2015, the game used its original staging as part of "Decades Week."
Squeeze Play holds the odd distinction of being the only pricing game to include a potted plant as part of its permanent set. A year or so after the game was moved to the Turntable, the staff evidently decided that the large gap between the wall and the game board caused by the board's base looked awkward while it was spinning around, so for five playings beginning on March 14, 1983, a plant was placed to the left of the board as a way of filling in the empty space. Side panels were added to the board on April 22, 1983, at which point the plant was done away with.
Squeeze Play’s gray color scheme debuted on March 1, 2001. Its original color scheme returned on the Season 44 premiere.
Squeeze Play offered a 5-digit prize for the first time on the February 5, 2003 episode (whose airing was delayed until March 14 due to a pre-emption); initially, these prizes were usually cars, but regular 5-digit prizes have appeared fairly frequently in the Carey era. Strangely, the numbers in the 4-digit and 5-digit (or, if you prefer, 5-digit and 6-digit) versions of the game are written in different fonts.
Stack the Deck
Debut: October 9, 2006; 101st game to debut.
Stack the Deck's current grocery displayed debuted on November 15, 2018's show (which was aired early on October 25).
Debut: February 7, 2002; 94th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on October 15, 2014's show (aired out of order on October 17).
Step Up's second color scheme was introduced on April 30, 2010.
Debut: February 3, 1981; 49th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on January 12, 1998
In the 17 years that it was on the show, Super Ball!! was only played perfectly one time.
One of the practice balls that Bob used had his name written on it in gold letters.
Doug Davidson made a rather large mistake in Super Ball!! once: the contestant had won prize #3, which was a car that night, and Doug went to commercial without letting her try to win the superball.
Super Ball!! took a very long time to play, and that is what led to its demise; Bob didn’t feel that it got a big enough reaction from the audience to merit eating up so much time with it.
Super Ball!!’s gigantic skeeball ramp is sitting in Bob Boden’s garage. (Mr. Boden is one of those lucky game show fanatics who actually has a job that deals with game shows. A former vice-president at Game Show Network, his garage also houses the original Any Number board and the Season 1-12 and Season 13-29 Showcase podiums.)
The Super Ball!! ramp wasn't designed to resemble a real skeeball board; in fact, it is a real skeeball board, complete with a coin slot (which is covered by wood), a ticket dispenser (which is also covered by wood), and manufacturer info for Skeeball Inc.
On the episode where Super Ball!! was played perfectly, Bob initially gave the wrong amount for the bonus for putting the superball in the WIN circle. This has lead some people to speculate that the bonus was created on the fly. In fact, it was not; indeed, it was mentioned on the game’s first playing. It was always a part of Super Ball!!’s rules, and it was always $3,000.
Debut: May 10, 1989; 65th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on March 11, 1996.
Contrary to once-popular belief, $uper $aver was not retired because of any sort of prop malfunction. In reality, its retirement came about as the result of a playing in which Bob inadvertently explained the rules incorrectly. He forgot to say that the game could still be won if the marked-up product was picked – an omission that the contestant later claimed caused her to lose after she picked it. The staff, after consultation with Standards & Practices, decided to award her the prize, and Bob decided that if it was that easy for a costly mistake to occur, they were better off just getting rid of the game.
During the last couple of years $uper $aver was played, the “K” in the word “BANK” would frequently remain on the display at the end of the game for no apparent reason, turning “WIN!” and “LOSE” into “WINK” and “LOSK.”
Debut: September 9, 1991; 20th season premiere; 69th game to debut.
Early on, Swap Meet was staged slightly differently than what we’re used to. The first prize was positioned closer to Door #2 than usual, its tag was placed a bit behind it, and the left-hand and right-hand prizes behind Door #2 stuck out a few feet in front of the middle one.
Debut: February 27, 1992; 71st game to debut.
As is normal with a new pricing game, the first several times Switch? was played, it was actually subbed into the show as a replacement for other two-prize games; considerably less normal, though, is the fact that the shuffling of the lineup on the game’s debut episode resulted in the then-extremely odd circumstance of Temptation being played fourth.
It seems likely that Switch? was rushed into production as a replacement for Bump, which had recently been retired at the time.
The tune that is heard while the prices are being switched is actually the fifth-last through second-last measures of “The Head Clown,” the song that plays during Switcheroo.
Debut: October 22, 1976; 32nd game to debut.
Switcheroo has had three different “think musics” over the years: the original song, a vaudeville-style piece (not the same one used in Race Game), used until partway through Season 20; the current song, “The Head Clown,” which was in place by March, 1992; and a remix of the Celebrity Charades theme, which was used on the Kennedy version and for a brief period on the daytime show between the two regular cues.
The very end of Switcheroo’s current think music is the tune that plays when the Beauties change the prices in Switch?.
The vertical white stripes in Switcheroo have always been lined up with the number slots in the board. When the game began to be played for 5-digit cars (which occurred no later than May 17, 1989), the stripes were changed on the left side of the board, with the blue ones becoming much thinner to accomodate the extra number; the right side of the board has never been updated to match this.
Switcheroo served as the $1,000,000 game on the 26th MDS. To win the million, the contestant had to get all the prices right on the first turn.
Debut: June 23, 1978’s episode (aired early on June 2); 38th game to debut.
The original Take Two board started out with a pink color scheme; it changed to a yellow color scheme on March 11, 1983. The game’s current board debuted on April 16, 1997.
When Take Two used its original color scheme, the cover for its prize labels had Goodson-Todman asterisks on it. While this in and of itself is not noteworthy, the cover was one of the only four props in the show’s history to use asterisks with eight petals instead of six (the other three being the Give or Keep board and the first two Hi Lo counters).
Debut: November 1, 1978; 42nd game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 29, 1978.
Telephone Game is the second-shortest-lived pricing game, having only been played three times. It was won once, on its last playing.
After being under the radar for 26 years, Golden-Road.net’s staff unearthed two playings of Telephone Game late in 2004, and several other webmasters with game show pages also received information about its actual rules; nearly a decade later, on April 5, 2014, video of the last playing was finally put online by, strangely enough, Wink Martindale. The game was a grocery item-car game that also involved two other prizes, both of which had 2-digit prices. The contestant could win no more than one prize; each one had a telephone by it, and the object of the game was to win the car by calling it on a pay phone. The game started with the contestant being given a $1.00 “credit.” He was then shown four grocey products and had to use the credit to buy two of them without spending more than 90¢. If he was unsuccessful, the game ended; otherwise, he was given a “Price Is Right dime” to use in the pay phone. Bob then showed the contestant a “phone directory,” which had three 4-digit extensions. Each extension was the price of one of the prizes –- in dollars and cents for the small prizes, and in dollars for the car. The contestant put his dime in the phone and dialed what he hoped was the price of the car; meanwhile, Janice, Dian, and Holly hovered over the prize telephones, each eagerly awaiting the call. Once the number was dialed, one of the phones rang, but no one knew which one until one of the ladies picked hers up. The contestant won whichever prize he had called, and the game was then over.
Telephone Game is one of only two pricing games in which winning all of the main prizes is impossible (the other one being Any Number).
For many years, Telephone Game was incorrectly believed to have been a standard three-prize game which did not offer a car and did not use grocery products. Its rules were generally said to be that the contestant was shown the three 4-digit phone extensions, all of which were in dollars, immediately, and that he would win all three prizes by picking one prize and dialing its correct extension. The fact that pretty much the entire game show community came to accept this completely wrong explanation as fact is simply proof that no one’s memory is infallible.
Telephone Game is noteworthy as the being only game besides Any Number to use a non-rounded price for something other than a grocery product.
Telephone Game was retired because it was lame. (And no, we’re not making that up – that really is the official reason.)
Debut: September 7, 1973; 16th game to debut.
The original Temptation board's pink color scheme debuted on April 11, 1988. The game's current color scheme was introduced on March 26, 2010, as were its updated logo and its digital displays.
The Temptation board was modified to accomodate 5-digit car prices on February 26, 1993; strangely, though, it did not immediately start offering 5-digit cars when this happened, instead using the extra spots to display dollar signs for a few weeks. 5-digit cars were finally introduced to the game on April 15, 1993, after which it never offered a 4-digit car again.
Temptation was originally considered a small prize game; it does not appear in any lineups with Bonus Game, Give or Keep, Mystery Price, or Shell Game for the entire first three seasons, nor during any of the half-hour weeks of Season 4. Interestingly, it began appearing with them, as well as with Five Price Tags, immediately upon the inception of the hour format.
The font of Temptation’s logo changed somewhere around 1979 or 1980; the letters were originally narrower.
When Temptation debuted, contestants were not given the option to change digits after making their guesses. That option was added no later than July 12, 1974.
Unlike most car games played on the stage, Temptation’s car is placed behind Door #2.
Ten Chances/10 Chances
Debut: July 15, 1975; 21st game to debut.
Ten Chances's current color scheme was introduced on September 23, 2010; this is also when the current spelling of the game's name, "10 Chances," was inaugurated.
There’s a neat little trick in Ten Chances: since at least the mid-’80s, all of the prices always end in 0. The only exception is when 0 isn’t one of the choices; in that case, the price ends in 5.
Ten Chances offered its first 5-digit car on March 13, 1991. Unlike most car games, it was never played for a 4-digit car again after that episode.
Ten Chances’s buttons were replaced on January 27, 2004 because the old ones broke and no one knew how to fix them. The new buttons look exactly like the one that was used to stop the clock in Split Decision.
Ten Chances has used several different prize reveals during its life. On its first few playings, Dian and Janice pushed the first two prizes out in front of Door #3, and the door then opened to reveal the car, similar to the way Walk of Fame’s prizes were revealed. On a single playing in July or August, 1975, the game used a reveal identical to the one that would be adopted years later for Master Key (minus the raised car platform). The standard reveal, with the first two prizes being pulled to the right to reveal the car, is believed to have been introduced on the next playing; years later, in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, this was altered slightly to have the prize platform pull apart at the center.
Until sometime between February 1976 and September 14, 1977, Ten Chances only used one song for all three of its prizes.
Ten Chances’s original prize reveal was used at least once on the Davidson version.
Even though it technically has to be earned, the first prize in 10 Chances only has six possible prices and is thus always won; in fact, the board is not even capable of moving its panel to the 10th chance.
That's Too Much!
Debut: April 19, 2001; 91st game to debut.
While Drew dives straight into That's Too Much!, Bob would always have the contestant rehearse shouting the game's title, often making them do it two or three times if he didn't think they were being loud enough.
On March 21, 2012, That's Too Much! was played for two cars; the actual retail price used in the game was the total of the two cars' prices.
That's Too Much!'s exclamation point was originally a pastel blue; the current, darker one first appeared on the Survivor special on the night of May 23, 2016, and came to the daytime show the following week, on June 2.
New fake prices are not created for each playing of That's Too Much!; they are always drawn from the same pool of around 40 fakes.
Debut: February 12, 1976; 26th game to debut.
3 Strikes's current set debuted on October 15, 2018.
When 3 Strikes was played for 5-digit cars in the ‘80s (a time when 4-digit car prices were still common), it was called “3 Strikes +”...although it appears that in at least one very early 5-digit playing, that name wasn’t used. The show offered a 4-digit car in 3 Strikes for the last time on June 17, 1993, the second-last show of Season 21, but they didn’t drop the “+” from the name until February 10, 1994. Oddly, the “+” was also absent on January 27, 1994, but it was present one last time on February 1.
Shortly after the regular name was restored, on April 11, 1994, the game’s giant TPIR dollar sign was replaced with a window displaying a dollar sign.
After February 20, 1998, 3 Strikes disappeared for 13 weeks. When it finally returned on May 14 (for its final playing of Season 26), the “one strike in the bag” rule was instituted.
When 3 Strikes was played on the Davidson version, the first number in the price was given for free.
Since Season 22, 3 Strikes has always been played for high-end cars, as was 3 Strikes + for several years prior to the elimination of the 4-digit format. The lone exception to this is a brief, tumultuous period early in Season 37 not long after Roger was fired, when the game offered normal cars for two playings. This period also saw an unusually large number of rule changes: After the game's first playing of the year on September 23, which proceeded normally, it began giving the first digit in the price for free and brought back the second and third strike chips on October 9's show (which was aired out of order on October 1), the first of the two episodes to offer normal cars. (Ironically, this had the effect of making the normal car harder to win than the luxury cars usually offered in the game.) The third playing, on October 29's show (also aired out of order, on October 15), again removed the second and third strike chips, which the staff had intended to return permanently but which they decided had made the game too hard. After this, the game was removed from the rotation entirely and was not played again for the rest of the season; it finally reappeared in Season 38 on October 23, 2009, offering luxury cars again and using its original rules that had been abandoned at the end of Season 26.
3 Strikes holds the distinction of having the most different sets of rules in the fewest number of appearances; it went through four different formats in its three playings in Season 37 and its first playing of Season 38.
3 Strikes is believed to have been cheated in at least twice in the show’s run. The first incident occurred sometime around 1988, when a contestant started to pull strike three out of the bag and then stuck it back in, hoping no one would notice; Bob did notice, and while he admonished her, he allowed the game to continue. She later ended up drawing the strike, anyway.
3 Strikes + is believed to have been cheated in on February 28, 1992. A contestant named Toni who was playing for a Porsche was down to one number and the third strike. According to people who have seen the episode, she had almost pulled a chip out of the bag when she suddenly dunked it back in and picked up the other one...which, not surprisingly, turned out to be the number. It’s never been confirmed, but the common theory is that she saw that she was holding the strike.
After Toni's episode, 3 Strikes + was not played again for the rest of Season 20. While the show has never actually accused her of cheating, it seems unlikely that the two events are unrelated.
For a brief period during the second half of Season 20, 3 Strikes’s strike chips were white with red Xs instead of the standard red with black Xs. While we don’t know for sure why this was done, it is again interesting to note that the change wasn’t made until after Toni’s episode.
3 Strikes has had several “NO” graphics over the years. The original one, a black circle with a red “NO” in it, first appeared sometime in the mid ‘80s. This version lasted through the game’s second playing of Season 27. On October 27, 1998, a slightly altered version of it debuted; three playings later, on December 2, the black circle was changed to look like a baseball. Barring some minor size alterations, this version was used through the end of Season 30. At the start of Season 31, 3 Strikes’s directing was changed so that the camera no longer zoomed in on numbers; at the same time, the “NO” graphic was changed to a large, red word with only the board for a background.
On April 24, 2013's episode (which was aired a day late, on April 25), as part of a "Big Money Week," 3 Strikes was played for a 6-digit Ferrari, with the contestant having to place all six digits. The dollar sign that usually appeared in the leftmost window hung from the left side of the board on this playing, much as the Pricedown dollar sign it had replaced had during most of the game's first two decades.
On May 15, 2017, 6-digit 3 Strikes had two 1s in its price. Either of the 1 chips could be used to fill in either of the 1s on the board.
Time I$ Møney
Debut: September 22, 2003; 32nd season premiere; 96th game to debut.
While a number of pricing games have spent long periods of time out of the active rotation, Time I$ Møney holds the distinction of being the only game to be legitimately retired and subsequently reactivated; after the April 23, 2004, episode (which was aired on April 30), it was not played again until the Season 43 premiere on September 22, 2014.
In addition to being the only game to have been unretired, the span of 10 years, four months, and 30 days between its 15th and 16th appearances also makes Time I$ Møney by far the game with the longest gap between consecutive playings.
While Drew referred to Time I$ Møney as a new game upon its return, the clear link to its original format places it more in the category of 1 Right Price than of the Bullseyes and Balance Games, which are unquestionably unrelated to one another.
Time I$ Møney's name is actually written with a clock face representing the "o;" the "ø" symbol is used herein as an approximation of that graphic.
During its initial run on the show during Season 32, Time I$ Møney's name was spelled "Time Is Money."
During Season 32, Time Is Money was played for the same types of prize packages as Hit Me and Penny Ante. The contestant was given 20 seconds to place the products; if they did not win, they were told how many items were in the wrong place and were given another 20 seconds to make one more guess.
The first two times it was played, Time Is Money worked a bit differently than what is described above. The contestant only had 15 seconds on each turn and was not told how many mistakes he had made after the first chance. Also, the game had a “voucher” for $500 or 15 seconds. If the contestant won on the first try, he would receive both the prize and the money; otherwise, he could either quit and take the $500 or give up the money and use the second turn. The game’s original regular rules debuted in its third playing, on October 24, 2003.
Aside from the obvious ones, another subtle and probably unintentional difference exists between the original and current formats of Time I$ Møney; whereas during Season 32, an item costing exactly $6 would go on the second shelf, the current rules require it to be placed on the third shelf.
The original Time Is Money was removed from the pricing game rotation due to production issues that caused taping it to take an excessive amount of time and editing. Roger had wanted to bring it back with a smaller set on the Turntable, but no such plans ever got off the ground before he was fired.
On November 21, 2014, and February 21, 2018's shows (which were aired out of order on November 12, 2014, and February 19, 2018, respectively), as part of Big Money Week, Time I$ Møney was played for $200,000; to compensate for the top prize being multiplied by 10, the money also counted down approximately 10 times as fast as usual.
To the Penny
Debut: September 24, 2021's show (aired on September 17); 112th game to debut.
The noise heard when To the Penny's randomizer activates is a loop of the signature sound effect from Penny Ante. The same sound was also used for the price reveals on the first four playings of Vend-O-Price.
While players are allowed to walk away from To the Penny with their current winnings at any point, there is never a mathematically valid reason to quit with $1,500 -- in any situation where a contestant might consider doing so, they will have enough money left to guarantee a right answer on the second item and quit with $3,000 instead.
Debut: April 29, 1980; 45th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 19, 1985.
Trader Bob is essentially Give or Keep with no room for error.
Debut: October 2, 2000; 29th season premiere; 90th game to debut.
From Season 29 through Season 40, Triple Play was always played as the first game of the day. Since the Season 41 Veteran's Day show on November 9, 2012, however, it has frequently shown up in other slots.
Contrary to somewhat popular belief, Bob did not enter the studio from the audience when Triple Play is played. Since none of the game’s props block Door #2, he was able to make his standard entrance from there.
Triple Play was originally conceived of when Bob decided he wanted a game with a car behind each of the Big Doors. In the game’s original format, whose working title was “Slam Dunk,” only one of the cars could be won; the staff didn’t like the idea of a game where not all of the prizes could be won, though, and the concept eventually evolved into Triple Play.
Triple Play is one of only two pricing games (the other being Back to '72) that can end before all of the prizes have been described.
2 for the Price of 1
Debut: December 12, 1989; 67th game to debut.
The total value of the prize package in this game has not always been announced – in fact, that practice was not begun until early in Season 32.
Debut: September 25, 2015; 108th game to debut.
The sound effect used while revealing the value of each shelf in the first four playings of Vend-O-Price is the same sound heard when Bob pressed a button in Penny Ante and when the randomizer activates in To the Penny.
In keeping with the game's vending machine theme, the groceries used in Vend-O-Price are always foods.
Walk of Fame
Debut: November 4, 1983; 56th game to debut.
Retired; final playing on November 27, 1985.
The final playing of Walk of Fame was taped in the week before Johnny Olson's death, on an episode announced Gene Wood; on this show, no signatures were shown in the autograph books.
On the first playing of Walk of Fame, the range on the first prize was only $10, and there were three autograph books to choose from, only one of which contained a Second Chance; not surprisingly, the contestant that day didn’t win anything. On the game's second playing, the autograph books were not needed, so it cannot be determined whether that rule was changed on its second or third appearance.
The ranges in Walk of Fame were not fixed; they changed every time the game was played.
The first prize ever offered in Walk of Fame was a wok.
Walk of Fame’s retirement was caused by inflation; the game was simply becoming too hard to win.
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