TOP SECRET (Unsold pilot)
Wink Martindale
Tape date: March 3, 1988
Host: Wink Martindale
Announcer: Johnny Gilbert

The light determined the value of the question To start, each of three players receives an identity. Clues to those identities are valued at $250, $500, $750 and $1,000. The higher the value, the more the clue gives away about the secret identity. Wink asks a toss-up question. When a player buzzes in to answer, a light stops on a value between $100 and $1000. They earn that amount if they’re correct. If they’re wrong they lay out on the following question. After a correct answer, the player buys an opponent’s clue if they have enough money. They have three seconds to guess. Once an identity is guessed, the player who answered correctly gets $100 and the holder of that identity is eliminated. When one player is left standing, they keep the cash they earned and go to the bonus round.

The suitcase opens for the bonus $5,000! In the bonus, the “Super Sleuth Round” the winner tries to decipher six new identities. They have one minute. Three clues, one by one are revealed for an identity. Once they guess the identity correctly they get $200. If they get six in 60 seconds they win $5,000. After the bonus a second game is played. If the winner of game one wins game two, they play the second bonus for $10,000. The player who made the most from the bonus returns the next day.

The show was so close to making the CBS lineup, a board game was produced by Parker Brothers. It was pulled when the show didn’t sell, but some copies still circulate among traders.

It’s a fun play-along game with a lot of humor, a nice set (just look at that briefcase!) and good music by Ed Lojeski. I feel a bit unsatisfied with the game, though. Wink is also a smidge bland as host of this pilot.

Cast – 1.5
Game – 1.5
Bells and Whistles – 2.0
Prize – 1.5
Tilt – 1.0

[ 07.5 ]

Half point comes off the game score. It would’ve been better to allow the contestants to save their money to buy bigger clues. That would add an element of risk. They also should’ve rigged up a better buzzer system. The money light seems way out of sync with the buzzers.

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