Dollar a Second

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Dollar a Second
Presented byJan Murray
Country of originUnited States
Running time25 mins.
Production company(s)Trinity Productions
Original networkDuMont (1953-1954)
NBC (1954, 1955, 1957)
ABC (1954-1955, 1955-1956)
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 20, 1953 (1953-09-20) – September 28, 1957 (1957-09-28)

Dollar a Second is an American comedy game show hosted by Jan Murray which originally aired from September 20, 1953, to June 14, 1954, on the DuMont Television Network.

Game play[edit]

One pair of contestants (or a solo player) were selected to perform a certain task, which could be anything. They earn one dollar for every second they were on the stage, and, unless they are paying the penalty, may quit out at any time. If at any time one or both players make a mistake, they have to pay a penalty. For example, one player is placed on a slide that goes down towards a small above-ground swimming pool, and the partner has to pick one of five telephone numbers on the list, one of which nobody on the other side will be available to answer. Should someone be there on the other end of the line, the person who dialed the number would say "I've got somebody!" and the penalty is beaten, and they would then resume the previous activity before they were interrupted. If they fail to beat a penalty, the game ends, but they keep whatever money they won at that point, and sometimes also win additional money based on the number of correct answers.

However, while all this is going on, there is something else in the background that can also affect the final outcome of the game. The "outside event" is something that when it has occurred, the game ends and the couple loses all the money they made while playing. (For example, the couple has to pick an envelope that contains the number of round trips a model train can take until it has reached a certain number, but they won't know how many trips that train will have made until that mystery number has been attained.) In such a case, the couple may instead receive a consolation prize based on the number of correct answers they had put together.

Broadcast history[edit]

After the series left DuMont, it bounced back and forth between NBC and ABC—July 4 to August 22, 1954 (NBC); October 1, 1954 to June 24, 1955 (ABC); July 5 to August 30, 1955 (NBC); June 2, 1955 to August 31, 1956 (ABC).

After this, Dollar a Second remained dormant until NBC picked it up one last time from June 22 to September 28, 1957. It is notable that while NBC only saw fit for it to be run during the Summer, ABC (being relatively new as a network) aired it during the regular season.

1981 pilot[edit]

A revival pilot was taped on February 7, 1981, by Chuck Barris Productions and hosted by Bob Eubanks.[1] Despite negative opinions by some fans who saw it, this version actually had very few changes aside from starting the players off with $100, and a $500 bonus once the player reached $500.

Chuck Barris had acquired the rights to both this show and another Jan Murray series, Treasure Hunt. “Second” was produced by veteran producer Willie Stein and Barris producer David M. Greenfield, who had worked with Eubanks on “The Newlywed Game”. Had Dollar a Second been sold, it would have most likely been partnered with the revamped Hunt in five-a-week syndication.

Episode status[edit]

Only two episodes are known to exist of the original series, one from January 28, 1955, and another from June 1, 1956; the former is notable for being guest-hosted by Dagmar.

The 1981 pilot was aired on GSN twice - first as part of their Game Show Turkeys marathon of unsold pilots on Thanksgiving 1998, and again as part of their "Raise The Dead" unsold pilot marathon on October 28, 2000 (the latter being hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark).

See also[edit]



  • David Weinstein, The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004) ISBN 1-59213-245-6
  • Alex McNeil, Total Television, Fourth edition (New York: Penguin Books, 1980) ISBN 0-14-024916-8
  • Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Third edition (New York: Ballantine Books, 1964) ISBN 0-345-31864-1

External links[edit]