|Two Pilots, March 17, 1978|
NBC Daytime, Monday, April 24, 1978 – Friday, October 23, 1981
|NBC Studios 3 and 4, Burbank, California|
Card Sharks was a game where two contestants played high-low with the cards in order to win lots of money.
Two contestants competed against each other on all versions of Card Sharks. Each contestant was assigned a row of five oversized playing cards. Each contestant had a standard 52-card deck; the ace ranked highest and the deuce (two) ranked lowest. The champion played the red cards on top, while the challenger played the blue cards on the bottom. In case of two new players, a coin toss was used to determine who played red and who played blue.
Control of the board was determined by asking a survey question similar to the surveys done on Family Feud. Questions were posed to 100 people of the same occupation, marital status, or demographic (ex: “We asked 100 policemen, ‘If a naked female ran past you, would you be able to remember her face?’ How many said yes, they would recognize her face?”). The contestant who received the question (with the red-card player, usually the champion, going first) then gave a guess as to how many people gave the answer that the host gave (and usually his/her reasoning, although this is not required). After hearing the guess, the opponent had to choose whether the correct number was higher or lower than that guess. Choosing correctly gave control of the board to the opponent; otherwise, the initial contestant gained control. The initial contestant would also gain control of the board if he/she correctly guessed the survey answer.
Starting on October 20, 1980, an exact guess won a $500 bonus for the contestant; the contestant keeps it regardless of the game's outcome. Up to four toss-up questions were played per game.
Playing the cardsEdit
Beneath each contestant's row of cards was a moving bracket bearing the contestant's name which would mark one of the cards as the "base card". Each contestant's base card was the first card in the row of five. The winner of the question could choose to either play and keeping his/her base card, or have it replaced with another card from the top of the deck. The contestant then guessed whether the next (face-down) card in the row was "higher", "lower"; or (never said) "the same thing".if correct, he or she could continue to guess the next card after that and so on (if both cards were the same, the guess counted as incorrect).
On an incorrect guess, the contestant loses his/her progress and returns to the base card with the other revealed cards being discarded and replaced by new face-down cards before the next question in the round. In this event, the opponent received a free chance to play his/her own row of cards but could not change the base card. Contestants could also choose to "freeze", thus making the last revealed card the new base card and preventing the opponent from receiving a free chance.
If neither contestant guessed all the cards on his or her row correctly, another toss-up question was asked and the same procedures were followed until someone revealed all the cards in the row or the fourth question in the round was asked. In the final months of the NBC run, a $500 bonus was awarded for guessing correctly on all four cards in a single turn without freezing.
$100 was awarded for each game won, with two games winning the match and the right to play the Money Cards bonus game.
The winner of the main game played the Money Cards bonus game for a chance to win additional money. The Money Cards board consisted of seven cards on three rows; three cards were dealt on the bottom two rows, and one card was dealt on the top row. The winner's first base card to begin the bonus game was dealt from the deck after the seven cards were placed.
In addition to guessing whether a card was higher or lower, the contestant had to wager money on that prediction. The contestant was given $200 to bet with and had to wager at least $50 (and in multiples of $50) on each card on the first two rows. The contestant won money for each correct guess and lost money on each incorrect guess.
After completing the first row, or if the contestant "busted" (lost everything on that wager), the last card was moved onto the second row and the contestant was given an additional $200. The contestant had to play three more cards before reaching the last card on the top row, known as the "Big Bet". If a contestant busted prior to reaching the Big Bet, the game ended. Upon reaching the Big Bet, the contestant was required to wager at least half of their earnings; there was an occasional "25" or "75" at the end if a contestant had, at minimum, $50 or $150.
The most a contestant could win on the NBC version was $28,800, which was done once in the entire show's run by contestant Norma Brown (it was also done on the 1978 version's second pilot).
Originally, only the first card on the bottom row could be changed. In mid-1978 the rule was changed so that the first card on every row could be changed.
Duplicate cards (for example, two 8s in a row) originally counted as an incorrect wager. Almost three months after an incident in which all four 3s in the deck came up in a row, as well as a separate incident involving all four Jacks in the deck, this was changed on October 20, 1980 so that the contestant neither won nor lost money if a duplicate was revealed (referred to as a "push" by Bob Eubanks and Bill Rafferty in the 1986 revival, and a "double" by Perry). From then on, Jim encouraged the contestant to wager everything on an Ace or deuce since there was no way the contestant could lose with either card.
Sequences of Top PrizeEdit
- Host: Jim Perry
- Announcer: Gene Wood, Jack Narz, Charlie O'Donnell, Johnny Olson, Jay Stewart, Bob Hilton
- Card Dealers: Ann Pennington, Janice Baker, Lois Areno, Kristin Bjorklind, Melinda Hunter, Markie Post
- Executive Producer: Chester Feldman
- Producer: Jonathan Goodson
- Directors: Marc Breslow, Paul Alter
- Set Designer: James Agazzi
- Music: Score Productions
Thirteen years later, both Jim Perry and Gene Wood would work together again on the unsold 1994 lottery game show pilot called Cash Tornado.
The bonus round "Money Cards" was inspired by the end game of the unsold game show pilot called King of the Hill (not to be confused with the formerly popular FOX Primetime animated series from 1997 until 2010 of the same name) hosted by Robert Earle and produced by Chester Feldman in 1975.
This version never had a syndicated spinoff unlike the 1986 and 2001 versions respectively.
The theme song was borrowed from the short-lived 1976-77 CBS daytime game show Double Dare.
In Popular CultureEdit
Card Sharks has been referenced, featured or spoofed in the following:
- Wonderland (2003) - In montage of TV Guide listings
- The King of Queens: episode "King Pong" (2003) - Doug tells Carrie that his parents "almost got divorced over a question on Card Sharks".
- Arrested Development: episode "Queen for a Day" (2005) - Michael says, "I thought you won that on 'Card Sharks.'"
- Idol (2006) - Some of the actor characters are talking about all of the game shows they have appeared on, including 'Card Sharks,' 'Wheel of Fortune,' '$25,000 Pyramid,' and 'Break the Bank.'
- The Venture Bros.: episode "Victor. Echo. November." (2006) - The henchman talk about Billy Quizboy winning a bunch of money on this game show.
- Everybody Hates Chris: episode "Everybody Hates the BFD" (2008) - the narrator says that you should have seen Rochelle when she was watching the show
- Conan: episode "A Renaissance Most Foul" (2011) - Conan O'Brien's tour guide at Madame Tussaud's mentions this game show
Main Article: Card Sharks/International
Game Show MarathonEdit
Card Sharks was featured in the weekly hour-long tournament-styled game show, Gameshow Marathon, this episode premiered on June 15, 2006.
Game Show Marathon was hosted by Ricki Lake and announced by Rich Fields. The show was filmed at CBS Television City in Hollywood and aired on CBS from May 31, 2006 to June 29, 2006.
Contestants received $1,000 for winning round one, $2,000 for round two and $3,000 for round three for a grand total of $6,000. The player with the most money goes to the Money Cards. It is unknown what would've happened if a $3,000-$3,000 tie occurred. The Money Cards offered a top prize of $144,000. $1,000 was given at the start of the round and another $1,000 was given on the second level. Just like the other incarnations, minimum bets are still worth $50 on each card until the Big Bet, where at least half of the current score must be wagered. In addition, much like the CBS/Syn. version, the contestant was allowed to change one card per line by using one of three spare cards. In addition, a car game was added. However, it did not resemble either versions from the 1986-89 period. In this version, the celebrity contestant has to correctly determine whether the number of cheerleaders that answered "yes" to a question was higher or lower than a five (ex. "We asked these cheerleaders, 'Have you ever dated someone from a rival school?', How many of these 10 cheerleaders said they dated someone from a rival school?), and a card taken from the blue deck was used for the actual answer.
Home Viewer QuestionEdit
In 2004, the now-defunct website Gameshow24.com once had an online beta game based on the original 1978-81 version along with its logo. However, its theme music was a mixture of both the '78 and '01 versions while it used TPIR like gameplay instead of poll questions. The site also had The Hometown Price is Right along with unreleased versions of Press Your Luck and Let's Make a Deal.
An Interactive version of Card Sharks where you were allowed to play along with the show was once available thru it's website at GSN.com.
Main Article: Card Sharks/Photos
This series exists in its entirety, and has aired on GSN and Buzzr at various times.
Card Sharks (program description by Pearson Television)
Card Sharks (program description by FremantleMedia)
Card Sharks @ Gameshow24.com
Card Sharks (Perry) @ Jay Anton
Card Sharks @ Game Show Galaxy (via Internet Archive)
Card Sharks @ MDI
Card Sharks premiered 36 years ago