The Joker's Wild (TV Series 1972–1991) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A long-running quiz show hosted by TV veteran Jack Barry, and later by Bill Cullen. In this show, contestants would have to answer questions on a wide variety of topics, with the prize money determined by a slot machine-style device. The winning contestant could then move on to a bonus round, where they would play a slot machine for a chance at even bigger prizes, but with the risk of losing everything.

  • 2 contestants, 1 a returning champion competed in this general knowledge quiz married to elements of casino-style slot machines. Host Barry (later Peck, Cullen & Finn) announced a series of 5 categories from which the questions were taken. In turn, each contestant pulled a huge lever, setting into motion for the 3 reels containing the category names and jokers. The dollar values of each category depended on what category was chosen and how many times it appeared in the windows {From the Debut: $25 for 1 Category, $50 for a Pair & $100 for a Triple. Early in the Run: $50 for 1 Category, $100 for a Pair & $150 for a Triple & Late in the Run: $50 for 1 Category, $100 for a Pair & $200 for a Triple.} The "Jokers," however, served as wild cards and could be used with any category that appeared in the windows; a player could also elect to go "off the board" with any of the other categories in play. Correct answers to questions won cash, while an wrong answer gave the player's opponent a chance to answer and pick up the cash value of the question. Any player spinning a "triple Joker" at any time meant an automatic win, provided he/she answered one question from any of the five categories in play. The first player to $500 won the game and played a bonus round for a prize package; the loser got nothing. During the CBS run, The Champion spin for Prizes and 1 Circle Car to win & Later the champion spun the Joker Machine up to three times for prizes each time risking what had already won on the chance he/she might cause a devil to appear in the windows and lose what had been won. Three-time winners won a Joker's Jackpot, which began at $2500 and increased in value until someone won it; the Jackpot grew by defeated champions' depositing their cash winnings into the jackpot and the Limit is $25,000 In 1973-1975 The New Bonus Game called Play against the Devil for winning $1000 plus the Prize Package added to the Champion's Winnings (see below). During the 1977-86 syndicated run, the Joker Machine contained dollar amounts (in multiples of $25, valued between $25 and $200) and devils. Contestants reaching $1000 won the cash and a prize package while a devil forfeited everything accumulated during that bonus round. Also during the syndicated version, some categories had special rules, which could be used to help contestants win a game or play catch-up while spinning a natural triple won an assortment of prizes which grew in dollar value until claimed. In 1990-1991, The Joker Machine went into the Computer Age from $10 to $100 & 1 Joker. 1st: 3 Contestants featuring 1 Returning Champion played for $500 in Round 1 in a series of words & definitions from these 2 category cards and the 1st 2 Cash Holders wins along with A $500 winner goes to Round 2. The 1st Contestants raise $2000 wins and became the Champion. The Champion plays "JOKER-JOKER-JOKER" and made in 2 Parts. In Part 1 The Champion say the word to these 3 or 4 definitions that started at 1 Letter to the Alphabet {A-Z} in 60 seconds (1 Minute) for many answers he or she made for 1 Spin. In Part 2 The Prizes, Cash Amounts & 3 JOKERS. But 3 JOKERS in 1 Spin he or she wins $5000 Otherwise The Prize or The Cash Amount will be rewarded to the Champion and $500 added to the 3 JOKERS JACKPOT. Contestants must compete before defeated.


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