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Catch Phrase
Genre Game show
Directed by Marty Pasetta
Presented by Art James
Narrated by John Harlan
Theme music composer Marc and Ray Ellis
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 65
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel Syndicated
Original run September 16, 1985 – January 10, 1986

Catch Phrase was a syndicated U.S. game show which ran from September 16, 1985 through January 10, 1986. It was hosted by Art James and was billed as the game where "What you see is what you guess".

Two contestants competed to identify a series of animated puzzles called Catch Phrases to win money and prizes.

The show was not a success in America and was cancelled after thirteen weeks. A British version fared much better, running from 1986-2002 on ITV. A version in Australia based largely on the UK version was also popular, airing from 1997-2003 on the Nine Network.


Main Game

Two contestants competed. The blue player was the champion while the red player was the challenger. At the start of each round, one contestant stopped a randomizer consisting of dollar amounts by hitting his/her buzzer. The value landed on became the amount for the toss-up Catch Phrases.


Toss-Up Catch Phrase

On each toss-up, the computer slowly drew a Catch Phrase on the screen. When the puzzle was completed, a bell rang; the contestants could then buzz-in and guess the answer. Sometimes the show's mascot, a robotic character called "Herbie" (identical to the UK show's "Mr. Chips"), appeared in a Catch Phrase; his appearing and acting in the puzzle always gave an important clue to the answer.

Example: If the screen showed the word "ACT" and then it suddenly starts to disappear, the Catch Phrase to that would be disappearing act.

Super Catch Phrase

Correct answers added the predetermined money amount to the bank, which was claimed by solving the Super Catch Phrase hidden behind nine squares with the show's logo on each. After correctly solving a Catch Phrase, a contestant could remove one of these squares by hitting his/her buzzer to stop a randomizer on one of them. Once the square is revealed, the contestant was given five seconds to think of an answer. A correct solution to the Super Catch Phrase won all the money in the bank; if incorrect, another Toss-Up Catch Phrase was played.

Several Super Catch Phrases were played according to time, and the player with the most money when time ran out won the game and played the bonus round. Both players kept their money.

If the game ends in a tie, one final Catch Phrase is played.

Bonus Round

In the bonus game, the winning player faced a 5x5 board of 25 squares, each marked with a letter from A through Y in ascending order. The contestant chose a letter and tried to solve a Catch Phrase behind it. The object of the round was to get five squares in a row (either across, up and down, or diagonally) in 60 seconds or less. Doing so won a prize package worth approximately $5,000. However, the center "M" square contained the most difficult puzzle on the board; completing a line that included the "M" won a $10,000 prize package, which was often a car. If time expired, the player received $200 for each correct letter. If one of the correct letters was the "M", the total was doubled.

Players were allowed to remain on the show until they were defeated or remained champion for five consecutive days; any player who did so won a bonus prize.

External links


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