Supermarket Sweep (1990-1995, 2000-2003)
Recently we had to say goodbye to Dale Winton. He will be much missed, so I thought that it would be a good idea to look back at the original American version of the game show that made his name, Supermarket Sweep. It is something of a surprise to discover that the history of this show goes as far back as 1965 when it was shown on ABC, but this piece will concentrate on the revival that began on Lifetime in 1990.
This version was hosted by David Ruprecht, and it didn’t really have too many differences to the UK version, with the basic idea of going wild in the aisles being the same. Three teams of two took part. They begin by being given 1:30 on their clock (in the UK it was 1:00) and then they have to answer various questions about things that are on offer in the supermarket, with ten seconds of time available for every correct answer (and the occasional bonus).
There would be rounds where the teams played individually, and also by taking it in turns to play. Questions included such things as trying to guess the correct price of an item and solving those not-so difficult anagrams of vegetables and the like. By the end, the teams have hopefully amassed a lot of time because they will need it for the centrepiece of the show!
This is of course the sweep. The teams have now put on their colour-coded sweaters and are ready to fill their trolley (or indeed their “cart”) as high as they can (although only one of the two team members does this), and shop till they drop (accompanied by some excitable commentary). They also have to look out for the bonuses on offer which could be worth up to $250. When time is up, the total of the items are added together, and the team that made the most money go into the final!
Again, this is just about the same as the UK version, only there is a lot more money at stake. The finalists have 60 seconds to find three items hidden in the supermarket that are described with a cryptic clue. If they find the third item in time, they win the star prize of $5,000 (£2,000 in the UK version) on top of the money that they made in the sweep, meaning some teams could go away with about $6,000.
And I was surprised to note that Ruprecht does end the show with the famous “next time you’re at the checkout and you hear the beep” catchphrase, I thought that was Dale’s own work. Supermarket Sweep was revived again in America in the early-2000s on PAX, and eventually over 1,000 editions were made, and the UK was one of several countries that produced their own version.