The $1,000,000 Chance Of A Lifetime (1986-1987)
One game show that I remember watching regularly was All Clued Up, which was shown on ITV in a daytime slot for a few years in the late-80s/early-90s and was rather good. I recently discovered the original American version on YouTube which was an interesting experience, as it has just about the same rules, but the prize on offer was on a much larger scale.
The $1,000,000 Chance Of A Lifetime launched in 1986 and was hosted by Jim Lange. Two teams of two take part. Just like in the UK version, contestants had to solve word clues, and then they could go up to the oversized keyboard and select a couple of letters that they thought would be in the main puzzle to win some money. They would have to beware of the dreaded stinger though!
Three rounds are played, and the winning team would then go into the final, where they would have to solve six word clues on the same category in 60 seconds. If they succeeded, then they could return on the next show to play again. If they won for a second time, they could return for a third and final time, and this time if they made the final, they would be playing for a really huge prize.
If they won the final for the third consecutive time, they would win one million dollars! Although technically they wouldn’t become instant millionaires, they would actually win $40,000 a year for 25 years. That’s ever so slightly more money than was on offer in All Clued Up, and during the run of the series, nine couples went all the way, and there were some very exciting finishes.
When I was watching All Clued Up where in most editions teams would win about £1,000, I never realised that it was based on the very first game show on TV in America where the top prize was a million dollars, a full 13 years before Who Wants To Be A Millionaire launched in that country. The $1,000,000 Chance Of A Lifetime was a syndicated show that ran for just short of two years in America, even offering such a huge prize couldn’t make it a long-running show but it is a very important one in TV history.