Get the Picture (game show)

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This article is about the children's game show. For the internet game popular in the 1990s, see Get the Picture (online game).
Get the Picture
Get the Picture (title card).jpg
Created by Marjorie Cohn
Developed by Gwen Billings
Herb Scannell
Presented by Mike O'Malley
Narrated by Henry J. Waleczko
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 115[1]
Location(s) Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida
Running time approx. 23 minutes
Original network Nickelodeon
Picture format NTSC (480i)
Audio format Stereo
Original release March 18 – December 6, 1991 (1991-12-06)

Get the Picture is an American children's game show that aired from March 18, 1991 to December 6, 1991 on Nickelodeon. Hosted by Mike O'Malley, the show features two teams answering questions and playing games for the opportunity to guess a hidden picture on a giant screen made up of 16 smaller screens. The show was taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The program's theme music and game music was composed by Dan Vitco & Mark Schultz, and produced by Schultz. Its tagline is The Great Frame Game.

40 episodes were taped for season 1 in the Spring of 1991; 75 episodes were taped for season 2 in the Summer of that same year.[2][3]


Two teams of two players, one wearing orange jumpsuits and one wearing yellow jumpsuits, competed.

The object of the game was to correctly guess hidden pictures on a 16-square video wall, and to answer general-knowledge trivia questions to earn opportunities to guess. This was done in two separate rounds.

Round 1 (Connect the Dots)[edit]

The gameplay described here is from the first season. Changes are detailed in another subsection.

In this round, an outline of dots representing something in a set category was revealed on the 16-square video wall. A series of general-knowledge trivia questions would be asked to the teams, with a correct answer earning that team $20 and a choice of a square. Once a square was chosen, the dots in it were connected to the rest of the puzzle and the team had five seconds to guess the picture. Guessing correctly earned $50, while an incorrect guess lost $20. There was no penalty for not guessing.

The round continued until time ran out. If a picture was being played when time was called, it would be revealed one square at a time until someone guessed correctly and earned the $50. Multiple guesses were allowed, with no penalties for incorrect guesses.

Power Surges[edit]

At various points in the game the teams would uncover Power Surges randomly hidden on the board. In round one, a square that hid one allowed the team to play a bonus game for a chance at $20 and see an actual piece of the puzzle instead of the connected dots. There were two of these hidden in each picture and every Power Surge in the round involved some sort of knowledge-based activity.

Round 2 (Dots)[edit]

The second round featured an actual image hidden behind the video wall. Each of the squares' four corners were marked with numbers, and each question had either two, three, or four possible answers. As in Round 1, if a team failed to answer correctly (in this case, come up with the allotment of correct answers) the opposing team would be able to steal control by completing the allotment themselves. Giving the required amount of correct answers won a team $40, and the team was able to complete as many lines as there were correct answers in the question. Once the four dots on the outside of the square were connected, the part of the image hidden behind the square was revealed.

Pictures in round two were worth $75, with incorrect guesses still costing $20, and one Power Surge was on the board. This time the Power Surges were played at center stage and involved the players doing some sort of physical activity in order to reveal pieces of a picture puzzle.

Again, if time was running short the puzzle in play would be revealed one square at a time until someone guessed correctly for $75. Whoever was ahead when time was called won the game and advanced to the bonus round, dubbed "Mega Memory". Both teams kept whatever they had won with a house minimum of $100.

In the event of a tie, one final puzzle was played with the speed-up rules; whichever team guessed it correctly won the game.

Knowledge activities[edit]

  • Airport Security: The team would be shown some items as if they were being put through an airport security X-ray machine, and would have a set amount of time to identify certain items that passed through based on what the objective was.
  • Slap Happy: A picture would slowly be revealed on the screen through hands "slapping" it onto the screen. The team had to identify a certain amount in the time allotted.
  • Rebus Mania: The team would be shown a rebus and would have 30 seconds to solve it. Such rebuses include "Super Mario Bros." and "Homer and Marge Simpson".
  • What's In Common?: Four pictures were shown similar to a rebus, and the team had either 20 or 30 seconds to identify what they had in common.
  • It's Raining Pictures: Like it's raining, a picture square was revealed one square down; the team had 30 seconds to identify five pictures.
  • Follow that Rhyme: Like Simon, three pictures shown, one at a time, a picture will reveal, and then they have to repeat what they've seen until they get eight times in a row.
  • Clue Me In: As in Pyramid and Password, one member gave a clue for the other to guess. The team had 30 seconds to identify three items.
  • Find the Chiphead: Like Where's Waldo, the team was shown a picture. Using a telestrator called the "Videowriter", the team had to circle eight people with chip-type heads in 30 seconds.
  • Down in Front: People danced in front of a music video, and slowly danced away from it. The team had to identify the performer(s) in the video in 20 seconds.
  • Data Distortion: Pictures are twisted and distorted. The team had to identify five within 30 seconds.
  • You Draw It: One contestant drew a picture on the Videowriter, while their teammate remained at the podium and tried to guess what was being drawn.
  • Don't Be So Negative: The team was shown negatives of celebrities and things, and had to guess who the celebrities or what the things were.
  • Don't Stay Out in the Sun Too Long: The team was showing images that were "solarized" by the sun, and players had to guess 5 of them within 30 seconds.
  • Rear Window: Contestants looked out the rear-window of moving binoculars. The team had to identify five pictures within 15 seconds.
  • Mike's Photo Album: Players tried to guess what was the area in the picture behind the things that were blocking it.
  • Matchmaker: Contestants had to match 16 pictures in 45 seconds.
  • Mike's Maze: Using the Videowriter, contestants had 45 seconds to navigate through a maze.
  • Seeing Double: Contestants were shown eight pairs of an image, with each pair slightly altered, and had 45 seconds to match all the pairs.
  • Off the Chart: Players were given a crossword puzzle shaped like a pyramid and they had to find 4 words in 20 seconds.
  • Kiss my Picture: Lips would kiss the image, each lip revealing a portion of the image. Teams had to guess five pictures correctly within 30 seconds.
  • Splatter it On: Portions of the picture were "splattered" onto the screen. Teams had to guess four pictures correctly in 30 seconds.
  • Scrambled Pictures: A picture was out of place, and the team had to identify the photo in 15 seconds.
  • Extreme Close-Up: A camera would show an object very close-up and slowly zoom out to show the entire item. The team must guess all 3 in 30 seconds.
  • Computer Printout: A picture was shown by "printing" (beginning in top like a computer). The team had to identify five pictures in 30 seconds.
  • You Can Count On It: Questions related to math were being called out, and players had to guess what number to the problem was. When time ran out, the teams had to guess what was the picture on screen.
  • Word Up: A crossword puzzle appeared on the Videowriter. One contestant circled as many hidden words as they could in 30 seconds while the teammate helped find words. When time ran out, they took a guess as to what theme the words fit.
  • Mike's Makeover: A picture of Mike appears on the Videowriter. The team had to draw what was the clue on the card on the picture.
  • Filler-Up Irregular: A video of an object being covered in a substance was shown in reverse. Contestants had 15 seconds to identify the object.
  • Digitized Display: Pixelated pictures would slowly come into focus, and contestants had to identify five in 30 seconds.
  • Buried with the Mummy: Players had to guess what was the object wrapped in a bandage that was next to the wallpaper with the same design.
  • This End Up: Pictures are shown upside down, rightside up, or sideways, and the team had to identify five pictures within 15 seconds.
  • Name That Theme: Pictures are hidden on the video wall that relates to a particular theme. The team had to identify four hidden pictures in 30 seconds.
  • Falling Leaves: Just like autumn, leaves falls into place that forms a picture. The team had to identify three pictures in 30 seconds.
  • Wrap It: Just like "Buried with the Mummy",objects are wrapped in a pattern, which is the same as the background. The team had to identify four objects correctly in 30 seconds.
  • Hidden Pictures: Using the Videowriter, the teams had 30 seconds to circle five hidden pictures that were concealed in the picture.
  • To Half or Half Not: Pictures of famous celebrities had their faces mirrored, and the team had to identify 5 of them in 30 seconds.

Physical activities (Season 1 only)[edit]

All physical Power Surges, except one, involved players performing tasks in order to reveal pieces to a picture. After the team completed the Power Surge, they were given one chance to guess what the picture was for $40; failure to do so earned $40 for the opposing team. The games continued until all nine numbers were revealed, time ran out, or a team ran out of objects.

  • Toss Across: Played similar to the Tyco game of the same name. The team playing had 30 seconds to toss computer chips in an attempt to flip over the nine game pieces. The pieces were three-sided and had numbers, punctuation marks, and the Get the Picture logo on them, with the object being to reveal the numbers.
  • Ring Toss for Pieces: Same idea as "Toss Across", with the exception of the contestant having to throw rings over spots on a computer motherboard. The spots were not all in order, however.
  • Putting for Pieces: Similar to mini golf, with nine holes to putt into.
  • Shuffling for Pieces: Similar to shuffleboard, with the exception of contestants shuffling large floppy disks, trying to get the center of the disk onto designated spots, in numerical order from top to bottom. This game and the ring toss game used a larger grid than the Toss Across and mini golf games.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle: The contestants had 45 seconds to put a jigsaw puzzle together, retrieving the pieces from a podium and placing them on a giant jigsaw puzzle board. When time ran out, or if the puzzle had been completed, the contestants had to guess what the picture formed by the puzzle was.

Mega Memory (Bonus Round)[edit]

The winning team faced a nine-square board that hid nine pictures, all in relation to a theme revealed before the round. The pictures were shown to the players for ten seconds, with the object being to remember where they were placed. A nine-numbered keypad was used by the players, with each picture hidden behind a corresponding number. For 45 seconds O'Malley would read clues one at a time and the team would hit the number on the keypad that they thought would reveal the correct picture. A team was encouraged to take turns, but this rule was not enforced.

For each correct answer up to six, the team split $200. The seventh and eighth matches won merchandise prizes, and if a team matched all nine pictures before time ran out they won a grand prize.

Season Two changes[edit]

In season two, the rules were changed to the following:

  • The game was played for points instead of money.
  • A toss-up picture was played at the beginning of the game for 20 points.
  • All Power Surges were knowledge-based, and an additional Power Surge was added in Round 2. Every Power Surge took place at center stage.
  • The time limit in Mega Memory was reduced to 35 seconds, with the team splitting $100 for each of the first six matches. The "take turns" rule was enforced.
  • Instead of computer keyboard buzzers, the teams used blue plunger buzzers, and wore nametags on their jumpsuits.


Although the series ended first-run episodes on December 6, 1991, reruns aired weekly until March 13, 1993. Reruns aired on Nickelodeon GAS from the channel's launch on March 1, 1999 until its closure on December 31, 2007. Episodes of Get the Picture could be watched on Nick's own TurboNick service from 2007 until 2009.

International versions[edit]

The United Kingdom had its own version on Nickelodeon UK.


  1. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
  2. ^ Daily Variety; February 25, 1991 issue; Page 10
  3. ^ Daily Variety; July 22, 1991 issue; Page 10

External links[edit]