Bill Cullen
Bob Clayton
Syndicated: 9/9/1974 - 5/1979
Elysee Theater, New York, New York
Bob Stewart Productions

This is chronicling Bill Cullen's syndicated version of The Pyramid.

Game Format[edit | edit source]

Main Game[edit | edit source]

The game is played with two teams of two players (consisting of one celebrity & one contestant) in a game of word communication. Each game starts with the introduction of six categories arranged in a pyramid. In the main game, a category's position on the pyramid was not an indicator of its difficulty. The categories were usually puns hinting to the content within that subject.

Each team in turn chose a category, and then a subject under that category was given. Each subject has seven words/phrases/names. The team had 30 seconds to guess the seven answers that fit into the category. One player described each item while the other player tried to guess what the words are. Each correct word was worth one point. When a word was passed, it cannot be returned to, but if the guesser can guess the word already passed, the team still scored. If at any time the clue giver gave away any part of the answer or conveyed the essence of the answer, a cuckoo sounded and the word was thrown out.

Each team had three turns with the celebrities giving first in round one, the contestants giving in round two, and in round three they decided amongst themselves on who's giving and who's receiving.

During the 1977-78 season, any team who achieved a perfect score of 21 points won a $2,100 cash bonus.

Special Bonuses[edit | edit source]

At some point in the game, a team would uncover a special card behind one category prompting a bonus situation. To win the bonus, the team had to get all the answers right. In situations where a team can win the game without needing all the answers or has won the game automatically, if the last category concealed a bonus, the team was allowed to play all the way out in order to win the bonus.

  • Big 7 - This first appeared in the second season. The team that exposed the Big 7 had 30 seconds to get all seven and win $1,000 in the first two seasons and a brand new car in the final season.
  • Big Money Card - This was used from 1976-1978. A random cash amount between $1,000 and $5,000 ($1,000-$4,000 during the 1977-1978 season) was hidden behind a category. Whatever the amount exposed, that's the amount the contestant was playing for by getting all seven. During the 1977-1978 season, the only season to have the "Perfect 21" bonus, should the team have a score of 14 points and the "Big Money Card" was behind the last category, getting all seven won both bonuses, worth between $3,100-$6,100.

Tie-Breaker[edit | edit source]

If the game ended in a tie, the game shifted into a tie-breaker situation. The team that caused the tie had a choice between two letters leaving the other for the other team. Both teams had 30 seconds to get as many of the seven items beginning with their letter(s) as they can. The teams continued building on their scores using the tie-breaker categories. This caused an achievement of very rare high scores. Extra ties kept the game going, and as soon as the tie was broken, the game was over. If the tiebreakers precluded playing a second Winner's Circle, the one who won the tiebreaker earned $2,500. By the final season, the rules were changed. This time each team played their 30 second round of seven answers each. The team that got the most out of seven won the game. If both teams got seven, the team with the fastest time was declared the winner.

The team with the most points won the game.

Winner's Circle[edit | edit source]

The giver of the winning team faced a larger pyramid board of six subjects with the guesser having his/her back to the board. The winning team had 60 seconds to climb up to the top of the pyramid by getting all six. On each subject, the giver gave a list of items that fit the subject while the guesser tried to guess what they all have in common. As soon as the guesser gets the right subject or passed, they moved on to the next subject to the right. Upon a pass, the team can come back to it if there's time leftover though the guesser can still get the subject without going back to it. If at any time the giver gave an illegal clue (giving away part of the answer, conveying the essence of the answer, descriptions of the category or a synonym) a buzzer would sound, the subject was re-concealed and the team forfeited the chance at the big money. The giver was discouraged from using his/her hands which is why they were strapped into the chair. Even though the big money was forfeited, the team can still go for the other subjects, because when time ran out, the contestant still won money attached to the subjects guessed; of course, getting all six in 60 seconds without illegal clues won the grand cash prize.

Payoffs[edit | edit source]

Here are the amounts for each subject:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th HPT
$100 $200 $300 $900

The first trip was worth $10,000, and if it was won, the second was worth $15,000. Otherwise, winning the second Winner's Circle augmented the player's prior winnings to $25,000. During the final season, if someone won a car, then the $25,000, the value of the car would be removed from the cash winnings, leaving them with exactly $25,000.

Music[edit | edit source]

"Tuning Up" by Ken Aldin

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Daytime Pyramid host Dick Clark made two appearances on this version, and both times helped his partner win $25,000.

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