The YouTube Files – Strike It Rich USA.

Strike It Rich (1986-1987)

Here’s another original American version of a game show that was more successful in the UK. Strike It Rich began in 1986 (featuring a similar diamond symbol to the UK version), and it was hosted by Joe Garagiola. I managed to find some editions on YouTube, and I noticed that there were some differences in the rules, although the basic idea of the game was the same. vlcsnap-01164

Strike It Rich seemed to be played on a slightly smaller scale than the UK version, presumably because it was in a shorter timeslot. Firstly, two teams of two took part instead of three, and there were nine screens used in the game instead of ten. Also, when teams have to answer questions to gain moves, they have five options to choose from instead of six, and they can play for one, two or three moves, instead of two, three or four. vlcsnap-01169

Another difference is that the teams play the game together, there isn’t one answering the questions, and one pressing the screens. Once they press the button, the prize is revealed and they can decide whether to bank it or risk pressing the next screen, because they lose their unbanked prizes if they find a screen featuring a character called “The Bandit”, which was changed in the UK version to a Hot Spot. vlcsnap-01160

At the final screen, the team has to answer a question correctly. If they do, they make the final, which again, was slightly different. Because there were only two rows of screens, they only had to decide whether they wanted to pick the top screen or the bottom one. One contestant stands on the top row, and the other on the bottom, and after making their choice, they press the screen to reveal the randomly selected result. vlcsnap-01175

If they reveal a dollar sign, they win some money and move on to the next screen, but if they reveal a Bandit they don’t win anything. If they can find more dollar signs than Bandits they can win a bonus prize too, and they can also return for the next edition as reigning champions. In this version there was a lot more money on offer, and prizes such as cars were on offer. vlcsnap-01178

Strike It Rich was a syndicated show which was only on TV in America for about a year and it didn’t really catch on, it was much more popular in the UK where as both Strike It Lucky and Strike It Rich it ran for about 13 years, where it was helped along by Michael Barrymore who was always an enthusiastic presenter, along with some entertaining contestants, and the amount of comedy on the show was increased too, and it would go on to become one of my favourite game shows of that era.

Game Show Memories – Strike It Lucky.

Strike It Lucky (ITV, 1986-1994)

I’ve already written about the interactive DVD version of this game show, now I want to share my memories of the original version because it’s one of my favourites. Strike It Lucky was a game show made by Thames which was based on an American format and hosted by lively comedian Michael Barrymore, so it was definitely going to be a show with a difference. vlcsnap-01453

Every week three teams of two took part. It could be said that some of the contestants were somewhat eccentric, and Michael always enjoyed interacting with them. It seems that some viewers liked to watch the show because of the unusual stories that the contestants would tell instead of the gameplay, and sometimes this would take up the first ten minutes of the show, a lot longer than most game shows give contestants time to tell anecdotes and the like. vlcsnap-01454

When the game finally started, one of the team went over to the where the ten screens were, while the other had to answer questions to gain moves for them. There would be a category with six options. The more answers they got right the more screens they could play for in one go, from two to a maximum of four. If they get one wrong though, it is passed along to the next team who can steal the moves. vlcsnap-01455

When a contestant has got enough answers right, Michael will then run over to the other contestant and ask them to “strike the screen”. A prize will then be revealed. They can bank the prize, or move on to the next screen, knowing that if they land on a “hot spot” they will lose the prize. Some of the prizes were rather odd then, never mind now, and at this point there was usually some “right, it’s a microwave, do you want to bank that, or – what? You don’t know what that is?”-type fun from Michael. Strike It Lucky 28

When a contestant gets to the other end, they have to answer a question, get it right and they win the game, and then they go into the final, where they can play for the big money. All 30 screens now come into play. There are ten moves, ten questions and ten hot spots, the computer then randomly generates where they all are. Strike It Lucky 20

The idea is that the contestants bid on how many hot spots they think they will find, with more money on offer for getting to the end with finding fewer hot spots. They then pick the top, middle or bottom screen. If they get a move, they go to the next screen. If they get a question, it is a true or false statement. Getting it right turns the screen into a move, but getting it wrong turns it into a hot spot. Finding a hot spot is of course not going to be of any use. There were some close finishes and a lot of money was won. vlcsnap-01456

Strike It Lucky was always an entertaining game. I remember having the board game version, there were lots of Christmas specials, and a short clip was even shown in Thames’s final programme. The repeats on Challenge have also been enjoyable. Great sound effects, too. I also remember around 1990 the set design changed, but then in the following series it changed back to the previous look which was unusual (although the background changed from pink to blue), has any other show ever done that? By 1994 Strike It Lucky was beginning to look a little old-fashioned, but the show had some new life put into it in the late-90s with a revival when it was relaunched as… vlcsnap-01457

Strike It Rich (ITV, 1996-1999)

The format returned for a second run in the late-90s. The show was now produced by LWT which is why there was a name change, and also to emphasise the new look and bigger prizes that were on offer. As well as that it was more of the same really, with more enjoyable contestants taking part for the prizes, and Michael never missing an opportunity to mildly embarrass an old lady. Strike It Lucky 17