The Big Showdown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Big Showdown
The Big Showdown.jpg
Genre Game show
Directed by Dick Schneider
Presented by Jim Peck
Narrated by Dan Daniel
Theme music composer Score Productions
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 140
Executive producer(s) Don Lipp
Ron Greenberg
Producer(s) Shelley Dobbins
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel ABC
Original release December 23, 1974 – July 4, 1975

The Big Showdown is an American game show that aired on the ABC television network from December 23, 1974 to July 4, 1975. Jim Peck (in his national television debut) hosted the program and Dan Daniel (then a disc jockey on New York City's WHN) served as announcer. Two pilots, simply titled Showdown, were taped in 1973 and 1974, respectively.

The series was recorded at ABC's New York studioTV15 on West 58 Street, and packaged by Don Lipp’s Daphne Productions and Ron Greenberg, with assistance by MCA Television.


Round 1 (The Big Showdown)[edit]

Three contestants competed. Before the round began, a "payoff point" was announced and a dollar value selected from a randomizer in Peck's podium ($25, $50, $75, $100, or $500). Peck read a one-point toss-up question. The first contestant to buzz-in and correctly answer it chose from one of six available categories, ranging in point values from 1–6, represented by faces of a die. Play continued with contestants answering toss-up questions from the categories and earning the associated point values. Contestants who answered a question incorrectly were locked out for the remainder of that question and their opponents were given a chance to answer. Contestants were also locked out from answering if the question's value would put them over the current payoff point, as it had to be hit exactly. The first contestant whose score reached the payoff point won the dollar value and a new payoff point was determined, raised proportionally to several points above the leading contestant's score.

The first round consisted of at least four payoff points (sometimes five, depending on the amount of time used before going into the speed round; see below). A new set of categories was introduced after the second payoff point had been reached.

A 90-second speed round finished the first segment. During the speed round, each payoff point after the one currently in play was worth $100. At the end of the round, the contestant with the lowest point score was eliminated but kept any money accumulated during the game. In the event of a tie for second place or a three-way tie for first place, Peck asked questions from the one-point category until the tie was broken. Players who buzzed in with a correct answer moved to the Final Showdown, and incorrect responses eliminated that contestant from the game.

Round 2 (Final Showdown)[edit]

The two remaining contestants competed to reach a payoff point of seven. Three categories were played, again represented by faces on a die, and point values were 1, 2, and 3 respectively. The same rules from Round 1 applied, with a contestant being locked out of a question that would cause his/her score to exceed seven. The first contestant to reach seven points won the game and an additional $250.

Bonus Round[edit]

The champion now had a chance to win $10,000 by rolling dice. The dice were oversized (but otherwise standard) six-sided dice, but the sixes were replaced with the word "Show" on one die and "Down" on the other. Model Heather Cunningham joined the show at this point to assist the contestant by handing him or her the dice to roll.

The contestant rolled the dice on a long table with a well and a trap door at its end. If "Show-Down" came up on the first roll, the contestant won $10,000. If not, the total of the numbers shown on the dice (between one and ten, with "Show" and "Down" counting as zero) served as the payoff point. The contestant then had 30 seconds to roll the dice as many times as possible, with Cunningham handing off new pairs of dice for each roll and Peck removing a completed roll from the well by pushing the dice into the trap door. Each time the payoff point was rolled, the contestant won $250 and an extra five seconds of rolling time after the conclusion of the original 30 seconds. If "Show-Down" came up, the contestant won $5,000 plus any money won by hitting payoff points.

If after the initial 30 seconds the contestant had not rolled "Show-Down", but had hit the payoff point at least once, he/she would receive whatever bonus time earned (five seconds per point) to roll "Show-Down". The payoff point went out of play at this point. If the contestant rolled "Show-Down" during the bonus time, he/she won the $5,000 in addition to whatever payoff point money was accumulated in the initial 30 seconds.

Every champion who rolled "Show-Down" retired undefeated. Otherwise, the contestant returned as champion on the next episode.

1973 pilot[edit]

The first Showdown pilot was taped at CBS Television Center in New York City in 1973 and featured identical gameplay to the eventual aired series. However, in addition to a different set than what was aired, the show featured a bonus game involving a large bank vault. The winning contestant's objective in the bonus round was to break the safe, which concealed $10,000 in cash and prizes. After taping the first pilot, it was decided that this bonus game was too boring in comparison with the rest of the game, so it was scrapped in favor of the dice-based bonus game.

Episode status[edit]

The series is believed to have been wiped due to network practices of the era. An audio clip of the opening to one episode also exists,[1] as well as audio of the complete series finale. Two episodes also exist on videotape: the 1974 pilot and an episode from 1975 where Jim Peck falls while making his entrance down the stairs (which has made an appearance on The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments).


  1. ^ "Big Showdown Theme Song". Retrieved 1 February 2012. 

External links[edit]