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Bumper Stumpers title card
|Created by||Wink Martindale|
|Developed by||Mark Maxwell-Smith|
|Directed by||William G. Elliott|
|Presented by||Al Dubois|
|Narrated by||Ken Ryan|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||3|
|Executive producer(s)||Dan Enright
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Global Television Network
Barry & Enright Productions
Wink Martindale Enterprises
|Original channel||Global Television Network
|Original run||June 29, 1987– December 28, 1990|
Bumper Stumpers is a Canadian game show in which two teams of two players attempted to decipher vanity licence plates. It aired on the Global Television Network in Canada and on the USA Network in the United States from June 29, 1987 to December 28, 1990. The series was produced by Global in association with Barry & Enright Productions and Wink Martindale Enterprises, in cooperation with USA. It was created by Wink Martindale, developed by Mark Maxwell-Smith, and was hosted by Al Dubois with Ken Ryan announcing.
Bumper Stumpers featured two teams, one usually a returning champion pair. As noted above, the object was to identify licence plates based on clues given by the host. For example: if the plate read "PYR88" and the clue was swashbuckler then the team would guess "pirates".
The teams' goal was to correctly solve the Super Stumper, a plate consisting of seven spaces. At the beginning of each game, host Dubois would tell the teams whom or what the plate belonged to, and the first space was revealed.
In order to begin filling in the spaces in the Super Stumper, the teams played a series of jump-in questions. Bumper Stumpers used a game board consisting of seven monitors, and each jump-in question used the top row of two monitors. The teams would be shown two plates and given a clue as to the plate's owner. The player on the team that buzzed in first chose which plate he/she thought fit the description, and if correct his/her teammate was given ten seconds to decipher the plate. If the teammate could not come up with the solution, the opponents were given ten seconds to come up with the solution themselves. If the first team buzzed in and did not identify the right plate, the opposing team was given first guess at the plate.
Contestants were unable to buzz in until after the clue was read. In later episodes, a green light between the top two monitors was lit during a jump-in round to indicate when contestants could buzz in. Originally, the player who buzzed in and correctly identified the plate to solve could decide to either let his/her partner play or challenge their opponents to solve the plate. That rule was dropped after far more contestants opted to play rather than pass.
The winners of the jump-in chose one of the remaining blank spaces to fill in on the Super Stumper, then were given five seconds to try to come up with the solution. Coming up with the solution won the game.
If a team could not solve the Super Stumper after all seven spaces were revealed, the opposing team had one final chance to solve it. If they missed, another full game was played with a new Super Stumper. Later, if both teams missed the Super Stumper, the game shifted into a speed round in which a new Super Stumper plate was displayed, and the teams alternated turns (starting with the team who won the last jump-in) revealing spaces in the new plate until one team solved it.
Winning the match
The teams played a best two-out-of-three match, with the first team to score two victories becoming champion.
Originally, each game win was worth $500 and a bonus round would be played after each game. Any unsolved Super Stumpers added $500 to the total money available each time it happened. Later, this rule was changed and a team could only play the bonus round after winning the match. Winning five matches retired a team undefeated.
This show had three bonus rounds throughout the run.
Bonus round #1
The first bonus round featured two separate rounds. The first half saw the players trying to identify up to seven plates within thirty seconds. Getting seven won $2,000 and ended the round immediately. As long as the team identified at least one plate, they moved on to the second half of the round dubbed the Final Stumper.
The Final Stumper was played with all seven of the game board's monitors, with the letters S-T-U-M-P-E-R displayed in them. The object was to bank a set amount of money without finding a stop sign, at which point the round ended. The Final Stumper was played two different ways.
Hidden behind the seven monitors were various dollar amounts and stop signs. For each plate the team solved, a money amount was added to the board, starting with $500. After that, each subsequent right answer put a different dollar amount on the board, starting at $100 and increasing by that amount until a second $500 space was added. For each plate the team failed to solve, a stop sign would be placed on the board. The team continued choosing until either banking $500 or more or finding the stop sign. If the team managed to avoid the stop sign, their winnings were doubled.
In the second format, one of the monitors concealed a "WIN" space, which automatically won the round if it was uncovered and gave the team $2,000. The first solved plate added the WIN space to the board, while each subsequent solve placed the dollar amounts from $100 to $500. This time, the team was given the option to stop with the money accumulated or play on. If the team continued and found a stop sign, the round ended and all the money accumulated was lost. Finding $1,000 or more won the round and augmented the team's total to $2,000.
Bonus round #2
In the second bonus round, the team was given thirty seconds and up to five plates to solve. Solving four of the five was worth $200.
For the second half of the round, the team was given up to three additional plates to solve and could stop at any time with the money earned. If the team decided to play on, they were given seven seconds to study the plate. Coming up with a right answer doubled the money each time, with a team winning $1,600 if they solved all three. Failing to come up with a correct answer ended the round and cost the team their bank, and the round also ended if the team failed to get four plates in the first half of the round.
Bonus round #3
The third Bumper Stumpers bonus round consisted of a series of five plates connected to a subject, with each plate serving as a clue to the subject's identity.
This time, only one player from the winning team played the first half of the round. That player was given thirty seconds to decipher the plates, with $100 given for each. Unlike the previous bonus round formats, Dubois did not give out clues to the plates. After the time was up, the player was given a choice: either stop with whatever money he/she had accumulated, or risk it to see if the other player, isolated backstage, could come up with the owner of the plates. If the team took the risk and the second player was able to identify the subject, the team's winnings would be tripled. Thus, the maximum amount a team could win was $1,500.