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Give or Receive: The $XXX,000 Pyramid


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#1

Rinaldo

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:12 PM

ITA, SeaBreeze. (Always good to bump into you in the forums.) The Pyramid is, all in all, my favorite of the game shows, and it was great to discover that "Championship Week" was on when I tuned in. I'm glad to be reminded that they got their best celebrity players for the occasion -- Shelley Smith and LeVar Burton (though his hairstyle may be a phase he'd rather forget...).

We all make fun of Dick Clark over the years (me too), but year after year he did a superior job hosting this show: putting the civilians at their ease, slipping in the celeb plugs for their current projects without letting it get smarmy, being encouraging and yet being able to say "We can be pretty sure you haven't a prayer of winning this round" without being hurtful. I never get tired of the Pyramid.
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#2

bonster

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 9:26 AM

I'm glad there is a new thread for this, I love this show. It's the only game show I watch. It's funny watching the old shows on GSN and seeing how different it was in terms of the set and how mechanical it all was. But it's still really exciting when people win, even though it took place something like 20 years ago. Or maybe that's just me.

Does anyone think it's funny that they could win more money in the old days than now? Shouldn't they have upped the prize money a bit? Do they even have a $100,000 tournament now? I think the max you can win now (at once) is only $25,000, correct me if I'm wrong.

And [/B]Rinaldo[B], it's funny you mention how Dick Clark talked to the contestants. I just caught a rerun where he did make a couple of comments about how the person had no chance. He wasn't hurtful but he did sound a bit rude, I was a bit surprised at what he said. I guess it's better than being falsely encouraging though.

I love Donny though, and I think he's a good host.

I would love to try out for this show, but I don't know if they take Canadian contestants. Plus I would probably have to pay my own way, which means I could end up losing money, if I don't win enough to cover the trip.
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#3

amnewsboy

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 9:32 AM

FYI: the Pyramid reruns on GSN (at 6pm/ET) for today (and possibly tomorrow; can't remember) feature the visually impaired. Quite cool. :)
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#4

Rinaldo

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Posted Jan 8, 2004 @ 10:48 AM

bonster, if I recall correctly the standard amound in "ze oldt days" was $25,000 -- maybe even just $10,000 when it was really new. The $100,000 version was a "tournament" edition of the show, separate from the regular one and shown in early-evening syndication rather than daytime. It was relatively short-lived compared to the ongoing daytime tournament.

Who does everyone think were the best celebrity players? One whom I greatly disliked was Henry Polic, even though he eventually went on to hosting -- he seemed generally rude and bitchy, and one could often hear him "correcting" his partners as to what they should have done, as we faded to commercial.

But I did like LeVar Burton and Shelley Smith (noted above). And Linda Kelsey, Lois Nettleton, Brian Mitchell (pre-Stokes), Charles Siebert, Nathan Cook, Vicki Lawrence, and Billy Crystal.
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#5

bonster

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 9:54 AM

Thanks for the clarification Rinaldo, but I still think they should offer more money now. $10,000 and $25,000 20 years ago was worth a lot more that those amounts now, so the prize money should be altered accordingly.

I don't know all of the celebrities on your list, but I'd also add Betty White.

I feel bad for the current players when they are paired with a celeb that is not a great player. Of course, most of them are gracious but I did see one guy get visibly pissed off - he was practically snapping at his partner and after the round ended he sat there sulking. But then he was paired with the other celebrity and ended up winning the money, so he cracked a smile.

Donny is on Ellen DeGeneres this week, I think Friday, if anyone is interested.
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#6

iMissEthan

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 12:12 PM

I feel bad for the current players when they are paired with a celeb that is not a great player

That's why they switch off, so each contestant plays a game with each celeb.

If I was a celeb and played badly enough to cost the person the game (in the Pyramid round), I would probably feel so guilty that I would just give them the money they would have won. Another reason the 10K & 25K needs to be upgraded.
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#7

bonster

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 2:28 PM

Do you think they make the celebs "audition", or do they just take who they can get (obviously you will never hear: "Playing with Susie Smith, a legal assistant from Alabama, is Tom Hanks!")

I would think they should have them audition, just to make sure the celeb doesn't have a problem with reading out loud, giving/receiving fast clues, etc. Seems obvious but I wonder sometimes, especially during Olympic week when they had an athlete who didn't seem to have the best grasp of English.
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#8

iMissEthan

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 4:05 PM

during Olympic week...they had an athlete who didn't seem to have the best grasp of English

Was he/she a member of the US Olympic team? If not & English isn't the first language of his/her country, I'll cut some slack. But if it was someone from the US, then that's one of the saddest things I've heard.
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#9

Vgmastr

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 4:39 PM

IIRC, the athlete was Lenny Krayzelburg, who is a member of the US team, but is from Ukraine. He did fine when he was giving the clues, but when he had to recieve he just had a blank stare on his face for 20 seconds.
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#10

bonster

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 6:55 PM

Yes, that sounds like who I was thinking of. Maybe they only had him give clues for the audition!

iMissEthan, I should have been more specific that the person was not from the US. Can you imagine? And I'm not holding it against him that English isn't his first language, it just seemed to affect his playing of the game, which is why I thought it was unfair.
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#11

Rinaldo

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Posted Jan 16, 2004 @ 10:20 AM

Do you think they make the celebs "audition", or do they just take who they can get (obviously you will never hear: "Playing with Susie Smith, a legal assistant from Alabama, is Tom Hanks!")

Although we might have heard that, back in the day of Bosom Buddies. (Though as far as I know he never went on the show back then.)

I have no inside info, but I get the impression that any "auditioning" they do for the celebs is minimal. The reason I say this is that (I'm talking about the "old" show, which is the one I know best) they had some pretty visible failures on camera, who would surely have been caught by any thorough pre-screening. They would simply play out their "week" (actually all taped in a day, right?) and not be asked back.

The main example I'm thinking of, and I think I mentioned him on the old thread, is Luis Avalos, a very fine actor (some will remember him as a regular on The Electric Company, but he's done a lot over the years) who was featured in the Carol Burnett spoof miniseries Fresno, and on the basis of that was invited on the Pyramid. He did fine on the regular rounds, went to the winner's circle... and could. not. talk. without using his hands. I know it sounds sleazy and believing-in-stereotypes for me to describe this, but I'm reporting it as it happened. He himself said it immediately afterward, "I'm sorry, I'm a Latin, I need my hands to talk!" And with his arms strapped down he could utter only gasps. I felt so bad for him, I couldn't even watch the next day, so I don't know if they kept him on for the whole week (I imagine they did). Poor guy.
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#12

Meedis

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Posted Jan 16, 2004 @ 10:18 PM

Am I the only one that has dirty thoughts whenever the question...do you want to give or receive...is asked?
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#13

bonster

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Posted Jan 27, 2004 @ 5:58 PM

This may interest some of you, on the Feb 5th episode of Friends, Joey appears on Pyramid with Donny. Looks like it will be funny...let's hope so.
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#14

RainIsBeautiful

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Posted Feb 1, 2004 @ 12:13 PM

Meedis, I grew up watching this show, and I never thought about it until that episode of Will & Grace...

Grace: Okay, you give, I'll receive.
Will:  Just as God intended it.

Hee.

Also? Definitely not missing this week's Friends. Hilarity will ensue, I'm sure.

Edited by RainIsBeautiful, Feb 1, 2004 @ 12:13 PM.

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#15

myke25

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Posted Sep 20, 2005 @ 2:22 PM

G*D, I miss this show! I was hooked from the very first $10,000 Pyramid in 1973. I owned all the Milton Bradley home versions of the original. But what sucked about those, is that the "Winner's Circle" round didn't play the same as they did on TV, so I took some plywood, glitter, and plexiglas and built my own scale model of the big pyramid...complete with chasing lights, boxes that spun and the big flashing dollar amount at the top (I even made it so I could change the $XX,000 as they increased the top prize over the years.).

Yes, I'm a total geek. But we'd play at parties and family get-togethers and have a great time. It's still a professional goal of mine to produce Pyramid for TV again.
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#16

iMissEthan

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Posted Sep 20, 2005 @ 4:01 PM

It was on last season with Donny Osmond as host. Have they stopped producing it again? There's always GSN for classic reruns.
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#17

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Posted Sep 20, 2005 @ 6:51 PM

Yeah, I heard they stopped the Donny Pyramid. Reruns of it air on Pax (or whatever that channel is called now). GSN shows reruns of the $100,000 version. I forgot if they have any of the other dollar amounts in their library.

I must say though...that bonus round was one of the best created.
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#18

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Posted Sep 21, 2005 @ 11:09 AM

I don't believe they even produced a full 2nd season of the Donny Osmond version (I could be wrong on this). The Donny version was just too casual - no drama no suspense whatsoever - even if Donny himself was an adequate host (he did get an Emmy nomination).
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#19

indigo4

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Posted Sep 21, 2005 @ 12:19 PM

I thought Donny was a great host for this game -- reminded me a lot of Dick Clark, who, BTW, was one of the celebrity players on one of the shows Donny hosted. But I never saw this show anywhere but PAX in the wee hours of the morning. And they had waaaayyy too many commercials. To fit them all in they shortened the time of the regular rounds, which made them less interesting. Wish somebody would give this game a chance again and do it right.

Don't Will and Grace play the home version of Pyramid in several episodes of that show?
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#20

myke25

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Posted Sep 21, 2005 @ 2:18 PM

GSN shows reruns of the $100,000 version. I forgot if they have any of the other dollar amounts in their library.


I know GSN used to have a few episodes of The $10,000 Pyramid along with some $20Ks from the 70's along with the $25K & $100Ks from the 80s.

The Family Channel even used to air repeats of the short-lived $50,000 Pyramid. I haven't seen anyone air the Bill Cullen $25Ks from the 70s or John Davidson's $100Ks from 1990.

The Donny version was just too casual - no drama no suspense whatsoever


Lots of problems with Donny's version, though I agree he did a good job...at least better then Davidson!
1) Theme music: The original Pyramid theme had sort of a regal feel to it...a sense of importance. The techno-crap on Donny's show is pretty much unidentifyable fluff.
2) Categories: The names were too much like from Win Ben Stein's Money. It just added to the feeling that they didn't take things very seriously.
3) The $100K tournament: Not much of a tournament. No guaranteed $100K winner. Only 3 days. Pretty Lame!
4) Top prize money: Adjusted for inflation, $10,000 just doesn't seem like a lot of money anymore. Would've liked to see them bump it up to $20K/$50K with maybe a $250K tournament. Would really like to see the pilot Donny did for a $1,000,000 Pyramid.
5) Camera shots: Too many cuts and close-ups during game play. If you watch the older shows, sitting on that 2-shot actually helped create suspense.
6) The big Pyramid: I liked the truss work, but they put very little special effect lighting on it. The Pyramid is supposed to be a larger-than-life opponent to be conquered, that "dances" when defeated! Donny's just had no life, no personality.
7) No dollar amount in the title: "Pyramid" just doesn't sound like as big a deal as "The $100,000 Pyramid."

But having said all that, I think Donny deserved to be on the air longer than 2 seasons with that show. I hope they both get another shot at it.
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#21

myke25

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Posted Oct 4, 2005 @ 11:00 AM

RIP Nipsey Russell.
He always got the most excited of all the celebrities after a Pyramid win.
Wish I could think of a poem.
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#22

eyechart

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Posted Oct 4, 2005 @ 4:41 PM

I did one for him on the Match Game thread, let me try one here:

You had only thirty seconds to hustle
When you were matched up with Mr. Russell
But few contestants were ever too ditzy
Not to win big with good ol' Nipsey
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#23

DownsideUp

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Posted Oct 5, 2005 @ 7:33 PM

Anyone remember what would have happened if during the 100K tourney, the contestant won in the first round? I have seen numerous wins and I only remember the win taking place during the final round. was there ever a win during the first round? What did they do for the rest of the show? Allow for the other contestant to beat the time and that person would win the 100K?
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#24

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Posted Oct 6, 2005 @ 12:51 AM

It did happen occasionally. The two contestants who didn't win would play the second round, and whichever won the round would go to the Winner's Circle for $10,000, as in a normal game.
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#25

Cheynem

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Posted Oct 10, 2005 @ 7:13 PM

Regardless of the new Pyramid's flaws, I would stop everything and watch "The Winner's Circle"--can anyone think of a more thrilling minute of television?

How many contestants elected to give in the WC by the way? I can only remember a few and they all sucked.

You could easily tell who the better celebrities were. One major trap people fell into the first round was actually getting people to THINK of rather than just SAY the word. Fill in the blank is the best strategy in head to head. "Turkey in the ___" rather than "you find this in a barn, uh, uh..."

I felt the judges could sometimes be unnecessarily harsh in WC.
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#26

myke25

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Posted Oct 11, 2005 @ 12:25 PM

I don't know about Donny's Pyramid, but back in the $10K Dick Clark Days, originally civilians COULDN'T give the clues in the Winner's Circle. That option was added later. I might be wrong, but I think Donny's version started out that way, too. I always thought that if I ever appeared on the show, I'd give the clues because I would have had more practice from playing at home.
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#27

myke25

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Posted Nov 3, 2005 @ 5:33 PM

Have any of you Comcast subscribers seen the new Comcast commercial using a classic clip from The $20,000 Pyramid with Loretta Swit giving clues to such categories as "Things that are Comcast-ic"? Hilarious!
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#28

Cheynem

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Posted Nov 7, 2005 @ 8:23 AM

Yeah, the only thing that bugs me is that they clearly skip a category at one point in order to make the commercial go faster.
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#29

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Posted Nov 7, 2005 @ 12:57 PM

I always thought that if I ever appeared on the show, I'd give the clues because I would have had more practice from playing at home.

I agree. With the celebrity giving the clues, the contestant risks an illegal clue being given, and losing out on the big prize through no fault of their own. If the contestant gives the illegal clue, at least they caused their own loss.
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#30

Phenobarbara

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Posted Nov 8, 2005 @ 5:51 PM

One of the worst clue-receiving celebrities was John Salley. He kept repeating the clue rather than trying to guess the word.
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