Lifespan: January 1986 - September 1987
Host: Jim Lange
Announcers: Johnny Gilbert
Produced by: Bob Synes, Jay Feldman, Scott Stone
Front Game Rules
Two married couples compete. In each round, one member of each couple attempted to solve a word puzzle. In each turn, a clue to the puzzle was presented with letters randomly filling in, one at a time. The team that buzzed in first and guessed the word correctly won $25 and got to go to the keyboard. If incorrect, the word continued for the other team.
|When the round begins, the keyboard in front of the couples lights up, showing them which letters are in the puzzle. When a player makes it to the keyboard, s/he gets to punch up to two keys, which cause the respective letters to appear in the puzzle, and then the player has an opportunity to guess the puzzle. One key is not in the puzzle; it's known as the "Stinger" and if selected the player forfeits his/her remaining turn at the keyboard. The star represents punctuation marks that are in the puzzle.
Every time a selected letter appears in the puzzle, it adds $25 to the value of solving it. The team that solves the puzzle first wins the value of the pot. In the second round, the values are doubled to $50 for each clue/letter in the puzzle and the third round values are $100 each. The team with the most money after 3 rounds got to keep their money and advanced to the bonus round.
In the bonus round, the couple is sealed into an isolation booth. There, they have 60 seconds to guess 6 words in a similar format to the clue words in the front game: letters pop in one at a time until the couple guesses the word. All six words have the same category which the couple selects out of 3 choices.
If successful on their first show, they can choose to take $5,000 and leave the show or return the next day. On their second bonus win, they can decide to stop with $10,000 or return for one more day. If the couple wins three games and three consecutive bonus rounds, they win $1,000,000. Keep in mind that if they're unsuccessful at any stage of the game, they have to leave the show.
The interesting thing about his show was its payment structure. In the show's first season, the $1,000,000 grand prize was all cash (although I'm assuming it was in some kind of annuity). However, during the show's second season, the grand prize became $900,000 in cash and $100,000 in prizes, including a luxury car, furniture for every room, and a trip around the world. Also worth noting is that on a few big wins, the "$1,000,000" sign that was upstage from the computer shot fireworks from the top of each digit, perhaps the only American game show to include pyrotechnics into their set.
Loogaroo Looks it Over
Hard to believe, but this was actually the #1 rated show in primetime. Well, at least for a week or so. The real problem with the show (and perhaps the reason why it didn't last very long) is that it's actually two shows combined into one: Wheel of Fortune and Scrabble (with the clue words). Neither one of those elements is really developed to autonomy. And call me crazy, but I'm not a big fan of Jim Lange's hosting style. It seems as if he tries to find out how many times he can say the same thing over and over again. The set, with its oversized computer and nifty-looking isolation booth, looks pretty good though, and the $1,000,000 top prize made the show watchable if you knew a couple was going for the big money. But otherwise, there really wasn't a lot to this show that wasn't done somewhere else. Proof positive that big money can only take a game show so far.