Broadcast history: CBS Daytime April 23, 1979 - May 30, 1980
Host: Tom Kennedy
Announcer: Rod Roddy
Two players compete. The challenger hears the subjects of the upcoming two boards and decides whether to “charge” or “block” on the first. A board consists of six levels. One through five each have $10-$50 questions and level six has a $200, $350 and a $500 question.
“Charging” means trying to answer questions, known on “Whew!” as bloopers. Bloopers are statements that have one part in them replaced with a wrong word or phrase, and that part is underlined. Correcting the underlined part is a right answer. To win a round, you need to correct one blooper on each level. “Blocking” means you get to stop your opponent’s progress. Before you opponent charges you place six blocks on the board – no more than three on one level, and only one on level six. You earn any money attached to a block your opponent runs into.
The charger has sixty seconds to move up the board. Finding a block means losing 5 seconds on the clock. If they fail to make it up the board, the blocker wins the round. The charger may call “Longshot!” before time runs out, and if they do they move immediately to level six. The blocker then places one block on level six. If the charger finds a blooper and corrects it, they win the round. Finding a block loses the round.
The two contestants switch jobs on the second board. If there is a tie after two boards, then the champion decides whether to charge or block on the third and final board. The first to win two boards wins the match and all money they collected in the game. The loser, if they had no money previously, receives a prize.
The winner faces the “Gauntlet of Villains”. They have sixty seconds to beat the gauntlet, plus one-second for each $100 they made in the previous game. Bloopers in this round are not seen, but the last word of each question is the offending word each time. If they answer ten questions, thereby defeating ten villains, in the time allotted, they win $25,000 and retire from the show. If they fail, they win $100 for each villain defeated and continue playing. Originally players could return for an unlimited amount of returns after a loss, but it was later to changed to five.
In November 1979, the show became "Celebrity Whew!" and the contestants were paired with celebrities. They alternated rows when charging, each did three blocks when blocking and split the Gauntlet between them, with one attempting the first five, and the other facing the last five villains.
In the pilot, the typefaces on the trilons were simpler, the Gauntlet had some slight differences and Tom Kennedy had a handheld mic akin to Bob Barker's. The first Gauntlet attempt was a perfect 10-for-10, but was reshot to include a miss and demonstrate the Telly Belly's (screens) on the villains.
The show wasn't bad during any era, but was much better in the contestant period. Fast paced gameplay, the hosting skills of Tom Kennedy and a very, very good top prize. A lot of strategy came into play on this show. The questions weren't too tough, but reflexes and quick thinking are needed to win.
Cast - 2.0
Game - 2.0
Bells and Whistles - 2.0
Prize - 2.0
Tilt - 2.0
[ 10.0 ]
Definently a show to watch. Did I mention it has a great set and music package too? But, if there were anything bad to say about this show, it would only be that it is confusing to first-time watchers of the show. The show does demand your attention, but once you get into it and understand the game a little better, it does make for a good half hour.