Dream House (game show)

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Dream House
Dream House.jpg
Format Game show
Created by Don Reid[disambiguation needed]
Richard Reid (1983–84)
Directed by Alan Mifelow (1968–70)
Dick Schneider (1968–70)
Jeff Goldstein (1983–84)
Creative director(s) Charles Colarusso (Creative Consultant, 1983)
Richard Reid (Creative Consultant, 1983–84)
Presented by Mike Darrow (1968–70)
Bob Eubanks (1983–84)
Narrated by Chet Gould (1968–70)
Johnny Gilbert (1983–84)
Composer(s) Don Reid[disambiguation needed] (1968–70)
Edd Kalehoff (1983–84)
Country of origin  United States
Production
Executive producer(s) Don Reid
Bob Ruben (1983)
Bob Synes (1984)
Producer(s) Ron Greenberg (1968–70)
Ron Kweskin (1968–70)
George Vosburgh (1968–70)
Bob Synes (1983)
Lee Goldstein (1983)
Peter Noah (1983)
Location(s) NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1983–84)
Running time approx. 26 minutes
Production company(s) Don Reid Productions (1968–70, 1983–84)
ABC Productions (1968–70)
Group W Productions (1983–84)
Lorimar Television (1984)
Broadcast
Original channel ABC Daytime (1968–70)[1]
ABC Primetime (1968)[1]
NBC (1983–84)[1]
Original run March 27 - September 19, 1968 (Primetime)
April 1, 1968 - January 2, 1970
April 4, 1983 – June 29, 1984

Dream House is an American game show whose grand prize was a brand-new house.[1] The show had two versions on network television – from 1968–70 on ABC[1] and on NBC from 1983–84.[1]

The first version was hosted by Mike Darrow[1] with Chet Gould[1] providing the voiceover, while the 1980s version was hosted by Bob Eubanks[1] with Johnny Gilbert[1] as announcer. The ABC version was recorded in New York City,[1] while the NBC run was staged at the network's studios in Burbank, California.[1]

1968–70[edit]

The first version aired in daytime on ABC from April 1, 1968 to January 2, 1970[1] and in nighttime from March 27 to September 19, 1968.[1] The first format involved two couples competing in a game of quick recall. The first contestant to buzz-in answered and received five points for a correct response. If the contestant was wrong, however, the other couple could try to answer for ten points. When a contestant gave a correct answer, he or she was locked out of the next question.[1]

Two minutes before the end of the game, which lasted from four to five minutes, the point values doubled,[1] and at the end was the "Catch-Up Round" in which the team that was trailing could choose one last question from 10 to 50 points (if they answered correctly, the other couple got one last shot).[1] The winning couple won a room of furniture.

Couples who won seven rooms of furniture on the daytime version (four on the 1968 primetime version) won their choice of either a new house (worth over $40,000, plus $7,000 to purchase land)[1] or $20,000 in cash.

Beginning in 1969, three couples competed in the first round in which the first couple to buzz-in with a correct answer scored five points. A wrong answer, however, gave the other couples a chance to score ten points. Only during that first round would all contestants be allowed to buzz-in on all questions. The points were doubled during the last two minutes of the round. The two highest-scoring couples advanced to the next round, played exactly the same as the previous two-couple format. Five-time champions were offered an airplane in lieu of attempting to win two more games.

1983–84[edit]

Main Game[edit]

Two teams of two (usually married couples), one of them a returning champion, competed to win a house worth approximately $100,000.

The host read a true-false toss-up question, with a correct answer giving that couple $50 and control of a question board of four categories. Each category had a multiple-choice question. After the couple gave their answer, the opposing team could challenge and give their own answer. The couple with the right answer won $100, or $150 in the event of an unsuccessful challenge. Each team could challenge twice during the game. Once a category had been played, it was removed from the board and a new toss-up was asked. The round continued until all four categories had been used.

The game was played in two rounds, with the leader after the first round winning a prize. The second round was played the same as round one, except that each team had a one-time opportunity to double the value of the question before the question was asked. The couple leading after two rounds won the game, received a room of furniture, and advanced to the bonus round. Couples kept whatever they earned, win or lose. Should the game end in a tie, one more true or false question was played to break the tie.

During the show's 15-month NBC run, special weeks were set aside for siblings, single couples with children and engaged couples. There was also a week in November 1983 where the cast of Diff'rent Strokes played for a designated couple, as well as one from May 1984 in which two different celebrity teams played for charity each day.

Rule changes[edit]

Several rule changes went into effect in early 1984. The couple in control was required to hit their plunger to determine the question value displayed on a "money machine", a random light which stopped at $50, $100, or $150. The amount could also be accompanied with "Prize", a "Turnover" space, which gave control to the other team, or "Number Off", which upon a correct answer eliminated an extra number in the bonus round. Also, if the winning team led by $500–$950 after two rounds, they originally received a prize, but this was later changed to a $500 bonus. Winning by $1,000 or more was worth a new car. Unlike the first format, there was no double option available in round two.

Bonus round[edit]

In the bonus round, the couple tried to open a set of "Golden Doors" by programming the correct combination into the electronic lock that kept the doors closed. The lock consisted three rows of four numbers each, and only one of the numbers in each of the three rows was part of the combination. To narrow the odds the couple attempted to remove the incorrect numbers from the lock.

Originally, each day that a couple reached the bonus round, one incorrect number was automatically removed from the lock (starting with one from the top row, then one on the middle row, and finally one in the bottom row). This was later changed to having one number removed for each time the couple returned, thus depriving them of having one eliminated on their first day. A couple could also have a number removed if they had landed on "Number Off" on the Money Machine once the format for the front game was changed.

After the initial removal of numbers, the couple then faced three questions from a category of their choice, with each question having two possible answers. Answering correctly knocked another number off the lock, and as before the numbers were removed in order from top to bottom.

After the questions, the couple entered what they believed the combination to be. Once a number was chosen, it could not be changed. After choosing the three numbers they believed would unlock the Golden Doors, the couple pressed a button referred to as a "time release bar". Once pressed, a series of lights built into the frame of the Golden Doors started to light. There were four lights to be lit, starting at the bottom of the frame and ascending to the top. If all four lights were lit, the Golden Doors opened and the couple won their house. If they did not have the correct combination, only three of the lights lit, a buzzer sounded, and the correct combination was revealed to the couple.

As long as a couple kept winning games, they returned to face the Golden Doors until either successfully programming the right combination, another team defeated them, or they reached the maximum amount of wins necessary to automatically win the house. Initially it took seven wins to do so, but this was later reduced to five and then increased to six. In a match where a couple was in a position to win automatically, a plunger alternately called a "Golden Circuit Breaker" and a "Hotline Switch" was brought out at the beginning of the second round. Should the couple win, the plunger was pushed after the match and the Golden Doors automatically opened.

Any couple that won the house—either by guessing the combination or by winning the requisite number of games—the couple retired undefeated, and two new couples competed on the next show.

Broadcast history[edit]

ABC[edit]

Replacing reruns of the cult crime drama The Fugitive (an unusual offering on daytime television), Dream House began on April 1, 1968 at 1:00 PM (12:00 Central); its competition depended on each local market, as both NBC and CBS went down for a half-hour in order for their affiliates to run newscasts, homemakers' or farm shows, or syndicated programming.

ABC used the show as a promotional device – questions were frequently about the network's shows and stars, and Monty Hall appeared in December 1968 to promote the move of his Let's Make a Deal from NBC to ABC.[1]

The show did not end due to its competition (or at least not directly) – in a summer 1969 article, TV Guide reported that none of the houses given away on the series at that point had been completed; further, the article revealed that some winning couples had to borrow considerably more than the $7,000 the show awarded for the purchase of land. Shortly after this article was published, Dream House began offering the option of $20,000 in lieu of the house, but the damage had already been done and the ratings began to decline.

The controversies and bad publicity resulting from houses that remained unbuilt or half-finished for various reasons may have caused ABC to view the whole situation as a headache. The network pulled Dream House two days into 1970, replacing it with a soap opera entitled All My Children, which aired until September 2011.

NBC[edit]

NBC gave Dream House the 11:30 AM (10:30 Central) slot on April 4, 1983, replacing the 13-week Peter Tomarken game Hit Man. Airing opposite The Price is Right on CBS and Loving on ABC, the series ran for over a year, and ended on June 29, 1984. The following Monday, NBC introduced a television adaptation of the board game Scrabble, which ran for nearly six years.

Episode Status[edit]

In 2013, the studio master tapes, which were in the possession of series creator Don Reid, were destroyed by a flood.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Schwartz, David; Steve Ryan; Fred Wostbrock (1999). "Dream House". The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows (3rd edition ed.). Facts on File. p. 64. ISBN 0-8160-3847-3. 
  2. ^ "Facebook post by TVPMM". Facebook. Museum of Television Production Music. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2014. "Just confirmed that all 395 episodes from 1983/84 Dream House videotape masters were destroyed in a flood with production materials/music."