Pictionary (1989 game show)

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Pictionary is an American children’s game show based on the picture-drawing board game of the same name. The first of two game shows based on the board game (preceding a 1997 version for adults), this edition ran for sixty-five episodes between June 12 and September 8, 1989.

Pictionary was a joint production of Barry & Enright Productions and QMI Television, and was distributed by MCA Television.


Actor Brian Robbins, who at the time was starring on the sitcom Head of the Class, was the host of this edition of Pictionary. He was assisted by Julie Friedman, who was referred to on air as “Felicity” and whose duty consisted largely of keeping score, which she did using an apparatus resembling a faucet which dispensed colored balls into a tank.

Harry Stevens, who had just finished announcing for the syndicated version of the Nickelodeon game show Finders Keepers, filled the same role on Pictionary while arm wrestler Rick Zumwalt served as the game’s rules enforcer and judge as the character of “Judge Mental”.

Round one[edit]

Two teams of three competed against each other.

The team in control had 60 seconds to draw as many pictures on a telestrator for his/her teammates as possible. Players alternated turns at drawing, and could only draw for 20 seconds on any one picture. After the 60 seconds ended, the opposing team had a chance to play. The team with the most pictures guessed at the end of the round received ten points. In case of a tie, both teams received 10 points.

Round two[edit]

In round two, seven picture drawings were all clues to a puzzle. One member of one team drew for the entire 60 seconds. If the team solved the puzzle after the 60 seconds, they scored 10 points; otherwise the opposing team had 30 seconds to draw more clues and finally steal the points by guessing the puzzle.

Round three[edit]

This round was played in a 90-second speed round format. Each team chose a player to draw in the round, but once again only 20 seconds could be spent on draw any one picture. The first team to buzz-in had a chance to answer. If the team was correct, they scored the picture, but a wrong answer gave the opposing team the right to make unlimited guesses for the remaining 20 seconds. The team with most pictures guessed won 30 points. If there is a tie at the end of the round, both teams gets 30 points.

Near the end of the run, guest stars from children's entertainment took over drawing duties during this round, and all three members of each team attempted to guess the pictures.


At the end of the three rounds, the team with the most points won, and advanced to the Waterworks round for a chance at the grand prize. If both teams are tied, another drawing is played, the team who guessed it right won. The most points possible was 60 (10 points in the first round, 20 points in the second, and 30 points in the third). If a team won the game 60 to 0, an additional prize was awarded.

Bonus Round (Waterworks)[edit]

The object of the bonus round was to guess a famous person depicted in a caricature drawing. The drawing was hidden behind a four-chambered tank filled with plastic balls. The object was to use the titular Waterworks to uncover the picture.

Each member of the team had a specific task. One teammate had to connect two hoses to the water source so it would flow continuously into a tank. One of the other two teammates would be standing under the tank and collected the water that spilled from it by holding a pitcher above their head. The third teammate, wearing a pair of scuba flippers, would receive the pitcher and walk it over to the tank, then pour it in. The balls inside would rise with the water level, with each successive pitcherful of water enabling more of the picture to be seen. The round continued in this manner for ninety seconds.

Once time ran out, the team was given ten seconds to identify the subject of the picture; if they did so they won the day’s grand prize.

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