Dick Clark
Alan Kalter
Steve O'Brien
Syndicated: 1/26/1981 - 5/26/1981
Elysee Theater, New York, New York
Bob Stewart Productions
CPM, Inc.

This is chronicling The $50,000 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.

Player of the Week[edit | edit source]

The player who had the fastest time of the week won a European getaway and qualified for the $50,000 tournament. For this very reason, the clock counted up (00 to 30) instead of down (30 to 00). If there was a tie (both players got 7 in less time than the current POTW during a given show), a standard tiebreaker was played.

The team with the most points won the game. The players swapped celebrities for the next 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.

Here are the amounts for each subject:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th HPT
$50 $100 $200 $500

The first trip was worth $5,000, the second was worth a total of $10,000.

Tournament[edit | edit source]

There were two such tournaments. The first was held starting on March 23, 1981 and the other beginning on May 25, 1981. The quarterfinals were played on Monday and Tuesday. The winner of each game would advance to the semifinals after playing the Pyramid for $5,000. On Wednesday and Thursday, each match would have two semifinalists playing two games against each other with players winning one game playing for $5,000, and players winning both games in the same show playing for a total of $10,000. Whoever won the most money would compete in the finals. The losing players from the semifinals competed in a 'wild card' match. If there's a tie in terms of Winner's Circle money, each player plays a 30 second half-Winner's Circle round, selecting the top three or bottom three subjects, with the team getting the fastest time winning. Starting the following Monday, two finalists played one game and the winner played the Winner's Circle for $50,000. If the grand prize was not won, that player played the next game against the finalist who sat out the previous game. When playing for $50,000, an illegal clue ended the round, and there was no money awarded for each individual category.

Music[edit | edit source]

"Tuning Up" by Ken Aldin

Trivia[edit | edit source]

While hosting The $50,000 Pyramid, Dick Clark also hosted the first American version of The Krypton Factor on ABC.

This was the final production held at the Elysee Theater; it would be torn down in 1985 and is now a choir school.

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