Break the Bank (1976 game show)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This Break the Bank Game Show is unrelated to the other two of the same name, but it's the one most adults today remember. As on The Hollywood Squares, a man and a woman compete in a game with nine celebrity panelists. Two panelists answered each question, but only one gave the right answer. Matching three like dollar amounts (always adjacent to one another) won the game and the right to face another challenger.

Tom Kennedy was the host on ABC from April 12 to July 23, 1976; Jack Barry took over when the show went into syndication a few weeks later.

The following Game Show tropes appear in this show:
  • Bonus Round: On the syndicated version. See Luck-Based Mission below.
  • Bonus Space: The money bags; collecting three of them broke the Bank, which started at $5,000 and increased by $500 (later $250) per game until won. On the Barry version, the Bank was always $10,000 in prizes (including a car).
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: As was ABC's policy, champions retired after winning $20,000 (but were allowed to keep up to $30,000).
  • Personnel:
  • Whammy: The BUST card, during the syndicated run.
Other tropes include:
  • Cool Shades: Barry wore these because the set was so bright. Similarly, Kennedy had his glasses tinted.
  • Follow the Leader: Suspiciously similar to The Hollywood Squares in nature, isn't it?
  • Luck-Based Mission: Any Barry & Enright bonus round is just that; here, pick panelists to win money so you can reach or exceed $2,000 without finding the BUST card, which makes you lose everything.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: A variant. If the male contestant claimed a square, it got a mustache; if the female one did, it got a set of lips.