Second Chance (game show)
|Created by||Bill Carruthers
|Presented by||Jim Peck|
|Narrated by||Jay Stewart
Joe Seiter (pilot/substitute)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||95 (2 surviving, 1 opening and the final episode survive in audio form)|
|Location(s)||Warner Brothers Studios
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Carruthers Company|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Original run||March 7, 1977 – July 15, 1977|
|Followed by||Press Your Luck (1983-1986)
Second Chance is the predecessor to the CBS game show Press Your Luck, and was produced by The Carruthers Company. Artist and animator "Savage" Steve Holland, later a film director, used Second Chance's Devils as his model for the "Whammy" on Press Your Luck.
Three contestants competed on each program, consisting of two question rounds and two board rounds. The show's set was very similar to that of its successor, Press Your Luck, including a rotating contestant platform and a similarly-styled gameboard. A shot of the contestant was superimposed over the show's logo in the center of the gameboard during their spin.
Peck read a question to the three contestants. The players had five seconds to write their answers on a board and place it on a shelf at the front of their podium (where the other contestants could not see it). Peck then provided information as to how well the contestants answered (e.g., "At least one of you is right"; "At least two of you are wrong"). After supplying three possible answers, Peck offered the contestants a "second chance" to change their answer by providing three choices to the question. A correct answer on their first guess earned the contestant three spins to use in the second half of the round. A correct second chance answer earned one spin. Three questions were played per round.
Each contestant used their spins to accumulate money and prizes on an 18-space game board. The gameboard featured nine cash squares with orange and yellow backgrounds. Three Devils were also on the board, as well as six gift boxes. When a player landed on a gift box, the camera would zoom to the slide, which would then reveal the prize.
During each spin, a lighted cursor rapidly moved about the board. However, unlike Press Your Luck, the squares themselves did not change in value. The contestant stopped the light on a square by hitting the plunger in front of them (accompanied by a cry of "Stop!" by the contestant). Similar to Press Your Luck, the indicator moved around the board in a sequence, but the speed at which the indicator moved was much faster on Second Chance. The pilot board featured only one pattern. When the show went to series, the board featured nine patterns. Still later, when one contestant timed his spins to eventually become the biggest winner on the show (similar to Michael Larson on Press Your Luck although not as much money as Larson won), ABC ordered even more patterns to add to the board.
If the cursor stopped on a cash square, the value was added to the player's bank. If it landed on a gift box, a photograph of a prize was displayed in the square and its value added to the player's bank. However, if the cursor stopped on a Devil, the contestant lost all of his or her winnings to that point. Any player who landed on a Devil four times over the course of the game forfeited any remaining spins and was eliminated from further play.
During their turn, a contestant could pass his/her remaining spins to one of the opponents (usually the contestant in the lead), if they had a fear of the Devil. The one who had spins passed to him was required to use them at the beginning of his next turn. However, landing on a Devil changed any passed spins remaining into earned spins, which gave the player the option to continue or pass their spins to another player. In the series, each time the passed contestant hit money plus a free spin, the spin just played became an earned spin.
After each player had taken all spins earned or passed to them at the end of Round 1, the game moved to the second question round followed by the final board round. The player with the highest score at the end of Round 2 won the game and kept their winnings and returned next show. If two or three contestants end the game with $0 without getting four devils, both or all three come back. This happened at least once, on the next-to-last episode.
Money and prize values
Each round contained a big-money space located at the top of the board (the fourth square counting clockwise from the top-left corner). During Round 1, landing on the big-money space earned $2,500. Round 2 contained higher cash values, with the big-money space worth $5,000 and an additional spin. By the end of June, the Round 1 big-money space was reduced to $1,000. The big-money space in Round 2 still offered an additional spin, but now rotated values from $1,000–$5,000 in $1,000 increments. This rotation ran a pattern of 16 values, with the $5,000 and $4,000 each appearing twice, the $3,000 appearing three times, the $2,000 four times and the $1,000 five times.
Prizes in Round 1 were generally valued up to $1,000. Prizes in Round 2 included more luxurious items such as rooms of furniture, trips, furs, and automobiles (generally valued up to $3,000).
Second Chance debuted on March 7, 1977 at 12:00 Noon, replacing a short-lived variety series starring Don Ho (which had itself replaced Peck's Hot Seat on October 25, 1976). Almost immediately the series faced problems, as it was up against the four-year-old The Young and the Restless on CBS and Name That Tune on NBC. On June 10, Name That Tune left the airwaves and was replaced by the five-month-old Geoff Edwards-helmed Shoot for the Stars.
As a result of its competition, Second Chance ended on July 15 and was replaced the following Monday by the new Goodson-Todman game show The Better Sex, which fared a little better and ended on January 13, 1978.
Second Chance's theme was originally used on the four-episode 1976 version of I've Got a Secret, while a remix of it was used on the 1977-1984 Australian versions of Family Feud.
Most episodes of Second Chance have likely been destroyed due to network policies of the era. The only episodes known to exist in video form are Pilot #3 (taped November 9, 1976) and the June 27 episode. An opening announced by Jack Clark (date unknown) and the July 15 finale also exist, albeit only on audio tape.
The show ran in Australia in 1977 on Network Ten hosted by Earle Bailey and Christine Broadway and produced by Reg Grundy. There was later an Australian version of Press Your Luck from 1987-1988 on Seven Network hosted by Ian Turpie and also produced by Grundy.
- Second Chance. Episode 94. 1977-July-15. ABC.
- Second Chance. Episode 81. 1977-June-27. ABC.
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