The YouTube Files – Now You See It USA.

Now You See It (CBS, 1974-1975, 1989)

This is another American game show that came to the UK in the 80s. There were two versions of the original, the first was in the mid-70s, and then there was a revival for a short while in 1989. Being more interested in 80s TV, I’ll review that version. The basic idea of Now You See It is to try and find the hidden words, they really are right in front of your eyes if you look close enough.

The host in charge of this version was Chuck Henry. The set design featured three different stages where the three parts of the game were played, each one higher up than the last, it looked mildly scary. Two contestants took part, and the format had changed a little since the original version. There was a grid with four rows of various letters, which unlike the in the 70s was now computer-generated. vlcsnap-00036

The clue is given, and the points on offer that start at 100, drop five at a time, stopping at 25. If the contestant thinks they know the answer, they have to buzz in (cue weird flashing light effect), and give what line the word is on as well as the actual answer. Getting it wrong means their opponent can have a go. The board changes at the halfway point, and if they are short of time, the points get doubled. The first to score 1,000 points progresses to the next round. vlcsnap-00037

They then go on to play the defending champion, and it seems that lucky mascots were encouraged, although whether these people thought that they were succeeding because they had a baseball with them is unclear. What is also rather unusual is that you can hear Chuck talking to the contestants as they go to the break. You did really well, honest! vlcsnap-00038

In round two, the board contains six words all on the same category that have to be found. They have to buzz in to give the first one, and then they have 20 seconds to find the other five. If they don’t, their opponent has five seconds to find just one remaining word. Their screens pop up and down so they can’t see the grid in advance. Whoever wins the first round gets $200. This is then played again for $300, $400, and so on. The first contestant to win $1,000 makes the final. Whoever achieves this is usually rather pleased to put it mildly. vlcsnap-00035

In the final, ten answers have to be found on a grid in 60 seconds. $100 is won for every word found, and by now, as well as having to find the correct line, they also have to circle the word using an electronic pencil. If they achieve this, they win the star prize, and as contestants can return for up to five days, they can win thousands of dollars, along with plenty of prizes. There was also a computer game version around this time. vlcsnap-00039

Game Show Memories – Now You See It.

Now You See It (ITV, 1981-1986, 1993-1995)

This is another game show that I don’t really remember watching at the time, but it was based a successful format that was regularly on American TV in the mid-70s, and came to this country in the early-80s (although the majority of series were only shown in the STV region). The original host was Johnny Beattie, and this was a show that contained a lot of trivia and was a good use of observation skills (the theme music was also recycled from the American version).

This was the format of the early series. Four contestants took part. There was an electronic board (that also spun round all the time) that contained 4×14 rows of overlapping words. This meant that the answers to all of the questions are in front of them all along. When will they spot them? (sorry about the pictures by the way, this was the best quality that I could find online.) vlcsnap-00529

A question was asked, and the contestant had to buzz in and give their answer as the co-ordinates of where it was on the board. Their score was determined by adding the numbers together, so for example, “line 2, position 5” would score seven points. At the end of the round, the lowest-scoring contestant is eliminated, but everyone who took part receives a decanter and four glasses. vlcsnap-00535

The next round was slightly different. The scores were reset to zero and the questions were more cryptic, with the answer being revealed one letter at a time. The first two contestants to give four correct answers progress to the final. This goes back to the format of the first round, with the scores reset to zero again, but after a contestant has scored 50 points, all of their answers are for double points. The highest scorer wins the star prize of £100 (later increased to £400), the runner-up receives £100. vlcsnap-00537

In the later series there were some minor rule changes. The host was now Jack McLoughlin, the board was extended to 4×16, and any question in round three could be worth double points. Prize money was increased again to £500 for the winner. There was also an extra round added at the ended for the finalist to play. There was a board with answers all on the same category. Get seven correct answers out of 12 in two minutes and win the star prize of a holiday, the destination of which is also concealed on the board. vlcsnap-00538

There were 12 series of Now You See It, and at least one of them was networked (there were definitely some editions shown on LWT in a daytime slot in the mid-80s), but most of them were STV-only. After a gap of seven years, and with some more minor rule changes, the show was revived, but this time featuring celebrity contestants, and also child contestants (which was shown as part of STV’s Wemyss Bay 902101 strand). There were plenty of prizes on offer for themselves and the schools that they represented.