Bullseye (U.S. game show)

show_name = Bullseye

caption = Bullseye title logo.
format = Game Show
runtime = 30 Minutes
creators = Jack Barry & Dan Enright
starring = Jim Lange - host
Jay Stewart & Charlie O'Donnell - Announcers
country = USA
network = Syndication
first_aired =1980
last_aired =1982|

:" Not to be confused with an entirely different British game show, also called "Bullseye"."

"Bullseye" was an American game show that aired in syndication from September 29, 1980 to September 24, 1982. Jim Lange, fresh off his stint as the longtime emcee of The Dating Game, was the host, and the program was produced by Jack Barry and Dan Enright. Jay Stewart was the announcer for the first season, and Charlie O'Donnell announced for the second season. The series' executive producer was Ron Greenberg.


Main Game

Two contestants, one a returning champion, competed. The game began with the champion stopping a gameboard of three spinning windows by hitting a three-colored plunger in front of him. The first two windows contained eight different categories (four in each window) with dollar amounts ranging from $50 to $200 (representing the value of each question). The third window (below the two category windows) was the Contract window, and displayed numbers from one to five, as well as a "Bullseye" graphic.

When the windows stopped spinning, the player chose either of the displayed categories, and had to fulfill the contract by correctly answering the number of questions indicated in the Contract window. If the Contract window contained a Bullseye, the contract was unlimited; the player could continue answering questions for as long as he wanted to. Each correct response added the value of the question to a pot. A missed question gave the opponent a chance to steal control of the contract with a right answer.

After the contract had been completed, the player who completed the contract could elect to either bank the money in the pot & pass control of the board to the opponent, or continue playing with a new contract; choosing the latter option would leave the accumulated money in the pot, up for grabs by either player.

The first player to bank $1,000 or more won the game. (beginning with a Nov. 1980 celebrity week, this was increased to $2,000, with question values increasing to $100 - $400.) Contestants got to keep any money banked during a game, regardless of the outcome, making "Bullseye" one of the few Barry & Enright shows to allow losing contestants to keep earnings from the game.

In the event of a champion winning the game without the challenger having an opportunity to play (for example, if the champion spun a Bullseye in the Contract window and answered several consecutive questions to win the game), the challenger would return after the bonus round to play again.

As is the case with most Barry & Enright game shows, a new automobile was awarded to any contestant who won five consecutive games.

Endgame ("Bonus Island")

In the bonus round (known to fans as "Bonus Island or the Lightning Round"), the champion again stops the spinning wheels by hitting the plunger on the bonus island. This time, the windows contained dollar amounts of $100, $200, or $300 (earlier $50, $100 or $150, then $100, $150 or $200), or bullseyes. One and only one window also contained a dreaded bolt of lightning.

If money came up in a window, it was added to a bank. If a bullseye appeared, the player had the option to "freeze" that window, which was then out of play for the remainder of the game. Later, that rule was changed to when a bullseye appeared, that window was automatically frozen. The player had the option to stop after every spin and keep the money banked. Lightning, if it came up, bankrupted the player and ended the game (accompanied by a loud thunderclap).

The object was to either get bullseyes in all three windows, or to survive ten (later reduced to seven) spins without getting "struck (or hit) by lightning." Doing either of these won a bonus prize package usually worth $3,000-$4,000 in value. Getting three bullseyes doubled the value of the bank, while going the maximum amount of spins augmented the bank to a flat $5,000; unless the value of the pot is more than $5,000 whereas the player won whatever money was accumulated. If a player was fortunate enough to spin three bullseyes on one spin, that player won $10,000 and the prize package.

Only one of the three windows contained lightning. If a player froze a bullseye in the window which had lightning, he or she could not lose. However, the player had no way of knowing that until the contents of the windows were revealed at the end of the bonus game.

Pilot Version

The original pilot, taped in 1979, featured a different bonus round. To begin, the player stopped a "Number Jumbler," which contained numbers from 3-5, or a bullseye. The three windows contained either bullseyes or lightning bolts. Starting with the $1,000 (or more) won during the main game, the contestant stopped the windows by hitting his/her plunger, and if all three contained bullseyes, it doubled the player's money. This process continued until reaching the number in the contract set by the Number Jumbler, or a lightning bolt appeared (which bankrupted the player). If the Number Jumbler was stopped on a bullseye, the contestant could continue to spin, until winning $1,024,000 (which, starting at $1,000, would take ten spins).

"Celebrity Bullseye" (1982)

In January 1982, the show changed its name to "Celebrity Bullseye" (like many other struggling game shows had done before and have done since, with very few ever being successful,) and featured celebrity contestants playing for their favorite charities.

At this point, the celebrities would play a best two-out-of-three game and a $500 value was added to the maingame, but few other rules were changed. One of these rules was that the categories were no longer announced by host Jim Lange before the game began. Another was that most questions were multiple-choice, containing three possible answers, with the celebrity's job to choose the right one; the exceptions to that being visual categories or Two of a Kind. It was as "Celebrity Bullseye" that this series left the air in September of that year. This version has been criticized by fans of the show as slowing the game down, as there would be episodes where no Bonus Island would be played at all.

Celebrities who played the celebrity version included Harvey Korman, Greg Morris, Doug Davidson, Roxie Roker, Rue McClanahan, Diane Ladd, Richard Kline, Gloria Loring, Patrick Wayne, Lynn Redgrave, Jerry Mathers, Meredith Baxter-Birney, Ernest Borgnine and F. Lee Bailey.

The set

"Bullseye" was known for having one of the most expensive and stylish sets of any game show. It featured lots of neon and chaser lights, giant slide-projector windows, a large moving "bonus island", and a bombastic music package (including a main theme strongly reminiscent of the Santa Esmeralda disco hit "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which had been used itself on the pilot) to round out the show's "look and feel." A story among genre fans is that, during the period "Bullseye" originated from NBC Studios in Burbank, Johnny Carson (whose "Tonight Show" taped just across the hall from where "Bullseye" was recorded) gave a personal thumbs-up to the set design.Fact|date=May 2008

Shortly after Bullseye premiered, the set of another Barry-Enright game show called The Joker's Wild received similar upgrades.

"Bullseye" first originated from NBC Studios in Burbank, California; which would be the first true Barry & Enright game show to originate from NBC Burbank; an earlier 1975 game show, "Blank Ckeck", was produced at NBC under the Jack Barry Productions brand.

By 1981 production of Bullseye moved to Studio 31 of CBS Television City in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. By 1982, production moved once more, originating from Studio 33 of Television City. (also known as "The Bob Barker Studio"). The Bullseye logo behind the studio audience was placed in the same spot as the logo for "The Price Is Right" during its tenure at Studio 33. A total of approximately 390 episodes of "Bullseye" was produced, including the "Celebrity Bullseye" tenure.

The "Bonus Island" itself was a stage prop that would travel from one end of the stage (stage right) to the area between the host's podium and the game board. It was a circular prop, about 6 feet in diameter with a tall four-foot plunger in the center, used to stop the spinning windows. Below the island was flashing blue and pink neon.

"Bullseye" was among the earliest game shows to use "plungers" as buzzers (half-shaped oval oversize buttons which can be pushed down by two to three inches), which are used in this show to stop the spinning wheels. The phrase "plunger" was never used, instead identified as buttons (the term "plunger" was not in game show terminology until 1984, when Scrabble began airing).

Episode status

All episodes exist, with reruns airing on both CBN Cable, WOR EMI Service and the USA Network in the mid-80s, and GSN doing so in recent years; the most recent such instance was in November 2007 for its "Viewers' Choice" marathon.

External links

* [http://hometown.aol.com/tdelegge1/myhomepage/bullseye.html The Bullseye Rule Page]
* [http://www.gameshow-galaxy.net/bullseye.htm David's Bullseye Page]

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