Trump Card

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This article is about the 1990 game show. For the term trump card, see trump. For the Bollywood film, see Trump Card (film).
Trump Card
Created by Terry Mardell
Developed by Terry Mardell
Jenny Leah
Peter R. Berlin
Rob Fiedler
Directed by Bill Carruthers
Presented by Jimmy Cefalo
Debi Massey
Narrated by Chuck Riley
Theme music composer Score Productions
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 250
Executive producer(s) Terry Martell
Peter R. Berlin
Rob Fiedler
Producer(s) Peter R. Berlin
Editor(s) Bruce Motyer
Location(s) Golden Nugget, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Createl Ltd.
Fiedler/Berlin Productions
Telepictures Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original channel Syndication
Picture format NTSC
Audio format Stereo
First shown in  United States
Original run September 10, 1990 – September 6, 1991

Trump Card is an American syndicated game show that aired from September 10, 1990 to September 6, 1991 and was hosted by Jimmy Cefalo. Debi Massey served as hostess and Chuck Riley was the announcer. The show was produced by Telepictures Productions, Createl, Ltd., and Fiedler-Berlin Productions, with Warner Bros. Television distributing.

The show was filmed at the Trump Castle (now known as "Golden Nugget Atlantic City") casino hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and based on the British game show Bob's Full House, which consisted of contestants trying to answer questions to fill up a 15-square bingo board.

Launching the same day as The Quiz Kids Challenge and revivals of The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough, Trump Card joined those series and The Challengers (which premiered a week before) as one of five new syndicated game shows for the 1990-91 television season. Like all of those other series, Trump Card ended after one season. However, it managed to run for an entire season before cancellation (The Challengers, which ran until August 30, 1991, also did so; The Quiz Kids Challenge was cancelled at midseason while the other two series ran until March 1991).

Front game[edit]

Three contestants competed to fill a 15-square bingo-style card with the word "Trump" on top of it. Contestant one had numbers 1 through 15, contestant two had numbers 16 through 30, and contestant three had numbers 31 through 45. The numbers also correspond to an audience game.

Round one[edit]

In the first round, the object was to fill in the four corners of the card. The round was played with four categories, each containing four questions. If a contestant buzzed in first with the correct answer, one of the corners was filled in. However, a wrong answer locked them out of the next question (denoted by blanking all of the unfilled numbers on the contestant's card).

The first person to fill in the four corners won $750, his/hers to keep regardless of the game's outcome.

Round two[edit]

Before the second round began each contestant was given a Trump Card. The card could be used at any point during the rest of the game to impede another contestant's progress. When the card was played, the contestant who was trumped had their card blocked by a large "T" and was given a half-second buzzer delay. The contestant had to buzz-in and answer a question correctly in order to remove the trump and continue playing.

The object of the second round was to fill in the center line on the card. The round was played as before with four different categories, each containing five questions. The first person to complete the center line received an additional $1,500, again his/hers to keep no matter how he/she finished in the game.

Round three[edit]

The object of the third and final round was to fill in the remaining spaces on the card, which could be done with as little as six correct answers (depending on how a player had done in the first two rounds) and paid $3,000. All questions were general knowledge and asked in a rapid-fire manner until someone either filled in their card or time was called. The first player to fill in the card won the game. If time was called before someone did, the closest non-trumped player to doing so received the money.[1]

Bonus round[edit]

The object of the bonus round was to answer enough questions to form a line on a grid similar to a normal bingo card with the numbers one through twenty-five laid out in order. Before the round started, the champion chose a card from a deck of twenty-five and the space that corresponded with the number on the card was lit in gold. If the champion still had the Trump Card, a second card was drawn.

Once the champion filled in the allotted free space(s), he/she began trying to fill in the necessary spaces. The champion had forty-five seconds, starting when he/she chose a square, to do so. Each question was general knowledge, and each time the champion answered one correctly the chosen square lit up. If a question was answered wrong or if the champion passed, the square was blacked out blocking the champion's progress. If the champion managed to complete the line in the allotted time he/she won $10,000.

Audience Game[edit]

Audience members were given their own Trump Card with three rows of five numbers each. When a contestant answered a question correctly, the audience member marked off the corresponding number on their card. If they were able to fill in the four corners before the end of round one, they won $10. Completing the center row before the end of round two won an additional $10, and completing the entire card before the end of round three again won an additional $10, for a maximum total of $30.

On the reverse of the card was a three-by-three grid with fifteen numbers to be used in the bonus round. If the on-stage contestant's free number corresponded to a number on the audience member's card, the audience member's winnings were increased by 50% (e.g., from $30 to $45). If the on-stage contestant had saved their Trump Card and selected a second free number which also corresponded to a number on the audience member's card, the audience member's initial winnings were doubled (e.g., from $30 to $60).

As the on-stage contestant correctly answered questions, audience members marked off the corresponding numbers on their cards. If the audience member was able to mark off three numbers in a row their total winnings were doubled, for a maximum total of $120.

$100,000 Tournament of Champions[edit]

Trump Card ended its first and only season with a tournament of champions. Twenty-one bonus round winners were invited back to compete for a shot at an additional $100,000.

Seven preliminary matches were played with winners receiving $3,000, but no additional money awarded for winning either of the first two rounds. The bonus round was still played, with the same $10,000 prize awarded. After the preliminaries, the winners were joined by the two best performing non-winners in the semifinal round with the same rules applying.

The final match was played for $10,000 and the winner played the bonus round for the $100,000 top prize. The two runners-up won $2,500 as a consolation.