Great Getaway Game
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|Great Getaway Game|
|Created by||Brockway Television|
|Presented by||Wink Martindale|
|Narrated by||Rick Sommers|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Running time||approx. 23 minutes|
|Original network||The Travel Channel|
|Original release||June 1, 1990 – April 1991|
The Great Getaway Game is a game show which aired on The Travel Channel from June 1, 1990 to April 1991, producing 39 episodes. This was, to date, the network's sole attempt at a game show. Its pilot was hosted by Jim Caldwell, but Wink Martindale took over as host for the actual series, in addition to producing it (coincidentally, Jim had replaced Wink after 7 years as the host of on Tic-Tac-Dough).
Created and co-produced by the Long Island, New York-based Brockway Television, the show was recorded before a live audience at Times Square Studios with Rick Sommers as announcer, while music/sound effects were handled by Leer Leary. The theme song to the show was a piece of production music called "The Winning Plan" by Graham Preskett, which was also used as the theme to the Hoyts PolyGram Video opening logo.
The game was based on two players, one a returning champion, and a challenger. They faced a 6x5 board with the spaces numbered 1 through 30. The spaces made up a word search, with each space hiding one letter. Somewhere in the board was one word for the contestants to find. The word could be either four, five, or six letters long, shown left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, or bottom-to-top, but not diagonally. Before the round began, a clue to the word was given, along with one letter (always a vowel) that was in the puzzle.
To begin the round, each contestant picked two free spaces, revealing the letters behind them. Wink would then ask a question relating to geography, transportation, or foreign terms. A contestant could buzz in at any time to guess. A right answer was worth 10 points, but a wrong answer lost 10 points and gave their opponent a chance to answer. Getting the right answer also won the right to reveal one letter in the word search and guess the word. Finding the word won 100 points and a bonus prize; a wrong answer continued the round. If both contestants got a question wrong (or if neither rang in), two letters in the word search were revealed at random. Some squares contained "Double Pick" on them: if one was chosen, the contestant got to pick another number from the board.
Each new round was played the same way, but used a different board and offered a different bonus prize. The point values also increased in each round (20/200 in round 2, 30/300 in round 3, and so on). Play would continue until time ran out. If time was called in the middle of a round, letters in the word search were revealed until a contestant found the word. The one with the most points was declared champion, and advanced to the bonus round. Currently, it's unknown what would have happened if the game were to end in a tie, but it's likely it would be the same as the speed round.
The bonus round was one final word search. The contestant had 30 seconds to find five words with a common theme in a 7 × 7 grid. If the contestant found all five words, they won a holiday. However, unlike most game shows, no consolation prize was awarded if the contestant was unable to find all five words in time.
Champions could stay until defeated or they won five games, whichever came first.
- David Schwartz, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock, The Encyclopedia of TV Game $hows, Third Ed., Checkmark Books, 1999.