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The revival of the 1976 Barry+Enright version.


Object: To match three similar denomination boxes, or to acquire 3 money bags.

Players: 2 (one male and one female); with 9 celebrity guests.

Theme: Break the Bank '76, credited to Stu Levin.


Those of us familiar with the 1976 version of Break the Bank will be happy to know that the rules will not change for this version. But for those who aren't, here is a brief description.

The board consists of 20 numbered boxes, like so:

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

Each number conceals information, either a dollar amount (in this version, either $250, $500, or $750), a money bag, a wild card, or a blank. A full board could look like this:

$$$ 250 $$$   500
  250 250 $$$ 500
750 $$$ W   500
750 750   $$$  

The dollar value boxes touch each other on at least one side, the money bags ($$$) may or may not touch each other, and the blanks never touch each other. The wild card (W) could be anywhere on the board, and may be used to complete any three-of-a-kind except for the money bags.

To earn a box (with a dollar value), the player must determine the correct answer to a question posed to the celebrity above the box and the celebrity on the side of the box. One celeb will give the correct answer, and the other will give a bluff answer. If the player chooses the correct answer, he/she earns the box; if not, the box returns to its neutral position.

Note 1: A player that finds the Wild Card does not have to answer a question.

Note 2: If a player finds a money bag, he/she must decide whether to keep it or pass it up. If the player decides to keep it, his/her turn ends. If the player passes it up, the box is returned to its neutral position and the player that found the money bag remains in control of the board.

A player wins the game if he/she captures three denomination boxes (or two plus the wild card), or finds three money bags.

The player that wins two games wins the match and is the champion, and returns on the next show.


Seeing the 1976 original version again on GSN and realizing it lasted for only 15 weeks despite being the #2 rated game show in daytime makes me feel that a revival is inevitable. Those in the know would love to see this game brought back to TV, as would I. It's a shame that such a good game was lost to a short-sighted programming exec who liked s*** operas more than game shows.


5th. Possible use as a midseason replacement.

(c) 1998 Ryan Bugaj.

Back to Ryan's Game Show Fan Page