Scrabble (TV Series 1984–1990) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • For years, one of America's favorite board games was Scrabble, the Selchow & Righter-marketed game introduced in the 1930s. The game was revised and brought to television in 1984 by Reg Grundy Productions. Two contestants competed in the "crossword" round, played on a giant Scrabble board. Host Woolery announces a letter to build on, announces the number of letters in the word and reads a clue to said word (e.g., a seven letter word; "Experts really know how to pick them"; answer: "pockets"). The contestant chosen to go first draws two numbered tiles from the rack; the rack (positioned between the contestants) contained all the letters in the word, plus three "stoppers," or letters not in the puzzle. The contestant indicates which letter he wants to place in the word; if the letter fits, he/she may either attempt to guess the word or place another letter in the puzzle (the contestant draws two more tiles if he/she still doesn't attempt a guess). If the letter tried is a "stopper" or the contestant gives an incorrect solution, control passes to the opponent; letters landing on blue or pink squares were worth cash bonuses if they correctly guessed the word (#500 and #1,000 respectively, which the players kept regardless if they won the game). Play on the current word continues until all three "stoppers" are found (at which time a "speedword" format was used) or until one letter remained in the puzzle. The contestant who guesses the word correctly wins one point; all subsequent words were built on a letter in the previous word. The first player to win three points won the game, #500 and played the Sprint Round. In the Sprint Round, the contestant played vs. the returning champion to guess a given number of words in a shorter time period than the opponent. Either way, the "speedword" format was used, with Woolery giving the number of letters in the word and a clue. The contestant was shown two letters at a time; there were no "stoppers" in the Sprint Round, though a 10-second penalty was assessed for incorrect guesses. The winner of the Sprint Round received a cash bonus (usually #1,000), returns as champion and played the Bonus Sprint against the clock. In the Bonus Sprint, the contestant had to guess two words, again under the "speedword" format, within 10 seconds to win #5,000 (plus #1,000 for each day it was not won); an incorrect guess at any point stopped the game. Champions continued until their defeat or until winning 10 Sprint Rounds. The rules o both the crossword and Sprint rounds changed several times during the show's run, most commonly relating to bonuses and the Sprint Round formats and how returning champions were determined; the above plot summary indicates the most enduring format.

  • A game show based on the popular board game of the same name, hosted by Chuck Woolery. Given a clue and a set of blank spaces, contestants must choose letters to fill in the blanks until they can guess the mystery word. Winners move on to a speed round where they must face a previous champion for a chance to win the grand prize.


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