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Concentration logo (1963-1973).
Format Game show
Created by Jack Barry
Dan Enright
Robert Noah
Buddy Piper
Narrated by Bill McCord (1958)
Art James (1958-1961)
Jim Lucas (1961-1963)
Bob Clayton (1963-1969)
Wayne Howell (1969-1973)
Johnny Olson (1973-1978)
Gene Wood (1985-1991)
Art James (substitute, 1991)
Opening theme "Concentration Theme" by Paul Taubman (1958-1967)
"Fast-Break" by Score Productions (1967-1978)
"Classic Concentration Theme" by Score Productions (1985-1991)
Ending theme Same as opening theme
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 3,770 (through March 23, 1973)
1,020 (1987-1991)
Executive producer(s) Norman Blumenthal
Chester Feldman
Howard Felsher
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 Minutes
Production company(s) Jack Barry-Dan Enright Productions (1958)
National Broadcasting Company (1958-1973)
Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1973-1978)
Mark Goodson Productions (1985-1991)
Distributor Jim Victory Television (1973-1978)
Victory Television, Inc. (1985)
Original channel NBC (1958-1973, 1987-1991)
Syndicated (daily, 1973-1978)
Picture format Black-and-white (1958-1966)
NTSC (1966-1991)
Original run August 25, 1958 – September 8, 1978

May 4, 1987 - September 20, 1991

Concentration is a TV game show based on the children's memory game of the same name. It aired on and off from 1958-1991, hosted by various hosts and played in various ways. The property has been seen in several different versions:

The original network daytime series, Concentration, aired on NBC for 14 years, 7 months, and 3,770 telecasts (August 25, 1958 - March 23, 1973), the longest run of any game show on that network (Wheel of Fortune was a month shy of tying that record when the initial NBC run ended on June 30, 1989). This series was hosted by Hugh Downs and later by Bob Clayton. For a six-month period from March to September 1969, Ed McMahon hosted the series. The series began in the 11:30 AM (Eastern) time slot, then moved to 11:00 AM and finally to 10:30 AM. Nearly all episodes were produced at NBC's studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City.

A once-a-week nighttime version of the show appeared in two separate broadcast runs on NBC. The first edition appeared only for four weeks from October 30 to November 20, 1958 with Jack Barry as host. The second edition was on the air from April 24 to September 18, 1961 with Hugh Downs as host.

The second version of Concentration, which was the first to be played in southern California, ran in syndication from September 10, 1973 to September 8, 1978 with Jack Narz as host.

A pilot for a third version was attempted in 1985 hosted by Orson Bean, but no network or syndicator bought the show. After some reformatting, a remake called Classic Concentration, hosted by Alex Trebek, aired on NBC from May 4, 1987 to September 20, 1991 (with reruns airing through December 31, 1993).

Despite numerous attempts to develop a new version in recent years, NBC Universal (the rights holder) has not yet authorized a new version of the program.



Barry and game show-partner Dan Enright, along with Robert Noah and Buddy Piper, created Concentration, but others working at Barry & Enright Productions also contributed to the show's development. The full end credit roll after the NBC takeover had a title that read "Based on a concept by Buddy Piper." The creation involved the combination of two key creative concepts: the children's game of matching cards, and the use of a rebus puzzle that was revealed as matching cards were removed from the board. In place of the playing cards, the game board featured numbered boxes (30 in all) on one side and prizes, that were to be matched, on the other. The gradual matching of card pairs slowly revealed elements of the rebus, a picture puzzle described below.


The rebus form is centuries old and has been used in various forms. The most popular contemporary form prior to Concentration involved pictures, letters, and numbers as well as plus and minus signs to add or delete parts of a word or phrase (e.g., WICK + E + PEA + D + UH; or, with minus signs, WICK + ELEPHANT - LEPHANT + PIE - IE + D + UH.)

The member of the Barry & Enright development team responsible for the development and art direction of the puzzles was Norm Blumenthal, who later became the original series' producer. He simplified the rebus form for television, allowing only plus symbols, and subsequently devised all of the puzzles seen on the original series. In his version of a rebus puzzle, which became Concentration's standard, a rebus is a puzzle made up of a combination of pictures, letters, words, and numbers connected by plus signs. When solved, it is either the title of something or a well-known phrase. For instance:

  • A picture of a convict (CON)
  • A plus sign
  • A picture of a penny (CENT)
  • A plus sign
  • A picture of a serving tray (TRAY)
  • A plus sign
  • A picture of a human leg, shin highlighted (SHIN)


Although many graphic artists contributed to the on-air renderings of the puzzles, only one, Bernard Schmittke, was with the series throughout its entire history, from 1958-1991.


Two contestants (one a returning champion) sat before a board of 30 squares, which concealed the rebus, names of prizes and special squares.

One at a time, the contestants called out two numbers. If the prizes or special action did not match, the opponent took a turn. However, if the player did match, whatever prize was printed on the card was placed on a board behind the contestant; or, he/she could perform an action. The second number had to be called out within a certain time limit, otherwise the contestant's turn ended. It was also permissible to pass on one's turn. This usually happened during the course of a game if a contestant called out a prize card that had been orphaned as the result of a Wild card match (see below).

More importantly, a match also revealed two pieces of the rebus, which identified a person, phrase, place, thing, etc. The player could try to solve the rebus by making one guess or choose two more numbers. There was no penalty for a wrong guess; even if he/she was wrong, he/she kept control. Usually, a player waited to solve the puzzle until they had exposed a good portion of the rebus through several matches. In rare instances, the puzzle was solved with only a few clues showing. On one occasion, it was solved with only two clues.

In addition to the prize cards, there were the following action cards:

  • Wild Card: Provided an automatic match. In the original game this left the natural match "orphaned", only able to be matched by the other Wild card, of which there were only two on the board. If the player matched the same prize to both Wild cards, a check mark would be placed next to the prize on the player's board, and that player would win two of that prize if they solved the puzzle.

Players uncovering both Wild cards simultaneously also won a bonus. Originally, players won $500 (theirs to keep regardless of the game's outcome) and chose two additional numbers. The prizes chosen went on that contestant's side and four pieces of the rebus were revealed. Late in the run, the bonus was changed to a new car, and again the player kept it, regardless of the game's outcome. Only one car was awarded to a contestant if they called a "double Wild card". If a contestant called a double Wild card a second time, they received $500. As before, it was theirs to keep regardless of the game's outcome.

If each Wild card matched a car prize, a player could win three cars in one game: one for each match Wild card matched to a car card and a third car for the double Wild card. This only happened twice.[citation needed]

  • Take One Gift: There were two of these cards in each game. If a player matched them, he/she could take their choice of any of the prizes listed on their opponent's prize board. Of course, the game had to be won to receive all prizes listed on their prize board.
  • Forfeit One Gift: There were six of these in each game. If a player matched two of them, they had to forfeit one prize to their opponent. Naturally, they would give up the least expensive–but sometimes had to give up something very valuable (if that was the only one on their board).

Also included were two or three joke or gag prizes (such as a banana peel or a tattered sock). Over the years, the gag prizes included some creatively bad puns and wordplay. These actually served as protection against matching the Forfeit cards he/she might stumble upon. During a panel discussion of the series at the 2005 Game Show Congress, producer Blumenthal stated that the cash value of the gag gifts was $1.[citation needed]

If a contestant solved the puzzle, they won all of their accumulated prizes which were theirs to keep. If there were no legitimate prizes in the rack, they were awarded $100. The loser forfeited all his/her gifts accumulated in that game, but still received token parting gifts as well as the show's home game. There was no bonus round in the original game.

Occasionally, a game would come down to where only two prize cards were left on the board, which because of the Wild cards often did not match. In such instances, the unmatched cards were turned over to reveal the entire puzzle, and the contestant who made the last match was allowed one guess to try to solve it first. If he/she guessed incorrectly, their opponent was allowed to make one guess. If both guessed incorrectly, the game ended in a draw. A new game was played and each contestant was allowed to carry over a maximum of three prizes.

Occasionally, a game could not be completed due to time constraints. A sequential two-tone sound resembling a doorbell would be heard signaling time was up for that episode and play was suspended. Play would resume at the start of the following episode with the board reset to the point where time was called. A new rebus puzzle was substituted and the prizes remained the same, but were behind different numbers.

Champions continued until they either were defeated or won 20 games.

NBC (1958-1973)

Concentration remains the longest-running game show on NBC and held the record for longest continuous daytime run on network television until it was eclipsed in April 1987 by the CBS daytime version of The Price is Right (beginning September 4, 1972). Concentration is currently the fourth longest-running daytime/syndicated game show behind The Price is Right and the syndicated versions of Wheel of Fortune (1983-present) and Jeopardy! (1984-present).

Concentration was an NBC in-house production, apart from the earliest episodes. As a result of the 1950s quiz scandals, the network purchased the rights to Concentration and three other games (Twenty One, Dough Re Mi and Tic-Tac-Dough) from producers Barry and Enright. NBC/Universal still holds exclusive rights to both the format and extant episodes of Concentration as of today; however, due to Fin-Syn, this version is owned by CBS Television Distribution.

Concentration's original host was Hugh Downs. The show was produced and broadcast live at 11:30 AM Eastern weekdays in black-and-white, and quickly became the most-watched daytime series in NBC's lineup. The announcer was Art James, who sometimes served as a substitute host and later became a game show host in his own right. The series was produced in NBC's Studio 3A which now houses NBC News and MSNBC.

The series then moved to 11:00 AM and slowly introduced color broadcasts. For a picture puzzle game whose rebuses were designed and painted in monochrome, this required some design changes: The colors of the numbered cards might otherwise interfere with the colors used on the rebus, a critical issue for contestants playing in the studio and for viewers who played along at home. During this period, the series was produced in NBC's Studio 6A. Hugh Downs, by this time also an anchor correspondent on NBC's Today Show, remained host, and the announcer became Jim Lucas, who also worked on NBC's local New York radio station, WNBC-AM. September 1965 witnessed the show move to 10:30 AM where it would spend the remainder of its run on NBC.

In January 1969, Downs stepped down to devote his entire attention to Today with Bob Clayton, who had succeeded Jim Lucas as announcer, taking over the hosting duties. In March, NBC set Clayton aside in favor of Ed McMahon due to advertiser pressure, but Clayton returned in September and remained host until the series ended. On the Monday following Concentration's demise on NBC, Clayton became the announcer for The $10,000 Pyramid on CBS. NBC staffer Wayne Howell replaced Clayton in the announcer's booth during his tenure as host.


Special features

Seen daily for nearly 15 years, and consistently one of the most popular series on NBC, the original series included many special features. Among the series' popular special features:

  • The Envelope and its Mysterious Contents–The winning contestant opened a sealed envelope and read its message aloud (as if he/she were the show announcer). Generally, it mentioned an inexpensive prize and further reading proved it to be an expensive prize, such as large amount of cash or a new car.
  • The Cash Wheel–A player spun a carnival wheel containing various dollar amounts with a top prize of $2,000.
  • Christmas shows featured children from United Nations countries. Secret Santas included Joe Garagiola, Victor Borge, and other celebrities. Proceeds went to C.A.R.E., which built two schools in Africa from funds raised by the series (Blumenthal and Downs received awards from the organization for the proceeds).
  • International Salutes: All prizes in these games were from the specific country saluted. For example, a salute to Mexico had contestants wearing sombreros, Downs dressed as a matador, and model Paola Diva playing a colorfully-costumed señorita driving a mule-driven cart.
  • An annual Boy Scout Show, saluting famous Americans who were scouts. Den Mothers and Scouts played the game and won prizes for themselves and their troops. Girl Scout shows also became an annual event.
  • The Challenge Of Champions–Beginning in 1963, Concentration inaugurated a tournament of champions, which pitted the top four players of the previous 12 months in a best-of-seven tournament (styled à la the World Series). The grand prize was $1,000, a trip around the world and a special trophy dubbed "The Connie", modeled after Auguste Rodin's The Thinker. One of the participants in the very first tournament was Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, who won 17 games on the show.

Throughout the competition, participants, including Downs, Clayton, and Blumenthal, wore blue blazers with the show's logo, known as the "mystery logo", embroidered in gold on the breast pocket. The "mystery logo" blazers continued to be a part of the emcee's wardrobe until the show ended its run in 1973.

During another contest (circa 1970), home viewers could win a prize based on the initial of their last names corresponding to a number on the board. To enter the contest, one merely had to send a postcard to the address given. These postcards were placed in a rotary drum and Clayton would draw a card and read the name. If the prize card was for a gag prize or "Forfeit One Gift", the home viewer received $100. If it was "Take One Gift", a $250 prize was awarded. If it happened to be a Wild card, the home viewer won $500. The contest was held at least once a week, and frequently with several drawings per show.

On one episode during this time, a viewer from Oklahoma won a motorboat. Host Bob Clayton made the mistake of asking "What could he possibly do with a boat in Oklahoma?", after which the show was inundated with brochures on Oklahoma lakes. In fact, most Oklahoma lakes are man-made in response to the Dust Bowl.

Through nearly all of the original series' run, the program was produced by Norm Blumenthal. He not only created every one of the 7,300 puzzles used on the show (with no repeated puzzles), but also every puzzle utilized in all 24 editions of the Milton Bradley home game.


The prize values on the original series were deliberately much smaller than those of Barry and Enright's other games, especially the big-money games (not just their own) implicated as part of the 1950s quiz show scandals. The winnings were kept at a low amount on purpose to avoid any suggestion that it was also tainted. When the network took over production shortly after the series began in 1958, NBC maintained this policy, although this may have been for reasons unrelated to the scandals.

Usually, there was at least one prize worth more than $1,000. However, nearly all the other prizes were worth less than $500, with many in the $10–$100 range. A board of prizes rarely totaled more than $2,000-$3,000 and champions rarely took home more than that in merchandise during their stay (though some longer-reigning champions approached $10,000).

One retrospective of the original series[citation needed] reported the following prize tally:

  • 512 cars
  • 397 boats
  • 1,287 domestic and foreign trips and cruises
  • 12 trips around the world
  • 857 fur coats

Additionally, there were countless gift certificates, travel trailers, airplanes, swimming pools, furniture, kitchen appliances (large and small), rooms of furniture, clothing, stereos and televisions, fantastic nights out on the town and virtually any other item seen in any mail-order catalog. One history of the original NBC version reported the total prize giveaway at $10,000,000.


During most of the run, Concentration faced sitcom reruns on CBS and local programming on ABC affiliates, easily dominating them in the ratings. However, in September 1972, CBS launched The New Price is Right at 10:30/9:30 and drained off more than half of Concentration's audience. Rather than move the game, NBC concluded that it had reached the end of its life and cancelled it in March 1973.

While the first puzzle on the first show read "It Happened One Night", the last puzzle on the last show read "You've Been More Than Kind", reflecting the show's love for its fans. After Clayton said a final goodbye, the credits rolled over a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne".

Baffle, a Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley production hosted by Dick Enberg, replaced it at that time slot and ran until March 29, 1974.

Syndicated (1973-1978)

Five months after NBC canceled Concentration, a daily syndicated series debuted on local stations. The project was a joint venture of syndicator Jim Victory, Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, and NBC, which retained the rights to the show. The syndicated Concentration and its followup Classic Concentration are the only two programs that Goodson-Todman/Mark Goodson Productions produced that were not created by people within the company. The show premiered on September 10, 1973 and ran for five years. Jack Narz was host, with Johnny Olson serving as announcer. This version of Concentration was produced at Metromedia Square in Hollywood, and aired primarily on NBC stations that had carried the original series.


Two new contestants competed each day and there were no returning champions (some stations only carried the show one evening each week). Games did not straddle episodes as on the network version (again due to some stations only carrying the show once-weekly). For the first two years, the basic game was identical to the NBC version with the addition of four "head starts" that revealed half the locations of four prizes on the board. The gag prizes were gone and only one pair of "Forfeit One Gift" cards remained, with three pairs of "Take One Gift" cards this time.

Concentration's board had become very colorful, with the 30 larger numbers in red with yellow backgrounds and red frames. Many prize, Forfeit, Take, and Wild card spaces had actually come from New York with the original board and were reverse-printed (white lettering on a dark background). The rebus was in full color on a sky blue background.

The cash prize was increased when a contestant solved the puzzle with no prizes on his/her side of the board from $100 to $250. The bonus for matching the two Wild card spaces regardless of winning the game reverted to $500 instead of the new car last offered by NBC. Also, the contestant no longer received the opportunity to match the Wild card spaces and reveal four parts of the puzzle. Prizes that were once only consolation prizes on the NBC series and other game shows became the prizes on the board. If the board had no more matches and no one solved the puzzle (or if time was running out), the remaining parts would be revealed and a contestant could ring an electric buzzer to give his/her solution.

If there was time for a third game, a "money game" would be played. This game was basic Concentration with no head starts. On the board were matched amounts of foreign currency with the usual Take, Forfeit and Wild card spaces. When a match was made, Narz would note the equivalent in American dollars. The player who solved the puzzle was awarded the money in American currency. If the game could not be completed, the contestant credited with more money was declared the winner and kept the money they matched.

Double Play

The champion played a new bonus round called Double Play. The player was given ten seconds and shown a rebus puzzle. If the player was able to solve the puzzle before time expired, the clock was stopped and they won $100. A second rebus puzzle was shown and, if the player was able to solve it within the time remaining, they won a new car.

Beginning in Fall 1977, players determined their Double Play prize from a nine-square board containing four pairs of matching prizes (one of which was always a car) and a Wild card.[1] The player called numbers until a prize was matched, and choosing the Wild card meant the contestant played for all prizes revealed up to that point. It is unknown what happened if the Wild card was chosen first.

The music for a Double Play win has also been used since the 1970s on The Price is Right as pricing-game music in which the prize is a car. Many other Price cues were used on Concentration as well, such as for the "head starts" and Double Play prize descriptions.


The old NBC board did not suffer the trip to the West Coast well. By Spring 1975 the trilons were grinding so badly they could barely turn. That Fall, the board was completely rebuilt with a smooth high-speed mechanism that made the trilons almost fly around. The first of many changes to come in the game arrived with four "Bonus Number" cards (eliminating one prize pair and one of the Take One Gift pairs). A contestant matching the Bonus Number cards could call a third number if their next two picks didn't match.

Another change with the new revival was the reversal of the contestant and board locations, oddly common among game shows originally produced in New York and moved to the West Coast. The contestants now sat on the right side of the studio, with the board positioned on the left. There was no emcee's podium and through Spring 1976 Narz was mainly off-camera during the game, standing in the center of the stage. Beginning in Fall 1976, he began standing between the two contestants (although there is a clip from 1974 with him doing the same). The prize tote board consisted of the two doors that were originally on the New York set, but cut down and made permanently-set boards in the new set. A single bell chime sounded whenever a match was made.

Beginning in Fall 1975 and continuing through Spring 1976, more rules were changed to speed up gameplay. Forfeit One Gift was scrapped entirely. The board now hid two "Free Look" spaces. Revealing one instantly uncovered that particular portion of the rebus and allowed the contestant who selected the space the option of taking a guess at the puzzle. Two more Wild card spaces were added to the board and the prize for matching them was reduced to $250. Contestants could now call a third number in the first game if the first two picks did not match (later changed to having a third pick in both games). All of the remaining original trilon cards were scrapped and replaced with new graphics. The rebuses were also made shorter and easier, all trends that later made up Classic Concentration.


Despite these changes, the show's ratings fell and many stations (including former flagship WNBC in New York) moved the show to either pre-dawn hours or other non-prime time access slots and dropped it in Spring 1976. Some independent stations then picked up the show for its final two years.

On September 8, 1978 the second version of Concentration aired its final episode and left the airwaves.

The show would remain dormant as the 1970s ended, and eventually be forgotten while other games became popular in the early 1980s. In 1985, Mark Goodson tried to revive The Nighttime Price is Right, but when its proposed partner Match Game fell by the wayside after concerns regarding 67-year-old Gene Rayburn, Goodson got permission from NBC to try Concentration once more.

"Concentration '85" (1985)

In 1985, a Concentration pilot was taped with comedian Orson Bean as host and Gene Wood announcing.[2] The revival was intended for syndication as a partner to The Nighttime Price is Right, and was to be distributed by Victory Television, Inc.

Two contestants competed, as in prior versions, to match squares and uncover parts of a picture puzzle in the form of a rebus. Like the Narz version, solving it won the game and an attempt at the bonus round. The format, however, had been altered to use distinctly different elements, some of which were not seen before or since.

Main Game

Instead of matching prizes, contestants matched related words on a computer-generated board (now with 25 squares instead of the 30 used through 1978) and were credited $100 for each match. Two Wild cards were also present, and matching one of them with a word would also reveal its proper match and give the contestant three parts of the puzzle. No mention was made of any bonus for matching the Wild cards.

The first player to solve the rebus won whatever money they had earned (no mention was made of what would happen if a contestant solved with no money) and played the bonus game.[3]

Bonus Round

The bonus round had also changed from that last seen in 1978. The contestant faced 15 numbered panels (also computerized), on which were the names of seven prizes (with an eighth as a decoy to distract the contestant). The contestant would call numbers in an attempt to match prizes, each one matched being theirs to keep regardless of the outcome. If the contestant managed to match all seven prizes in 50 seconds (plus another 10 seconds for each unsuccessful attempt), they won a $5,000 bonus in addition to all seven prizes.[4]

Returning champions

The same two contestants played for the entire show, each winning one game. It is unknown if this version was intended to have a "high score returns" format like the CBS $25,000 Pyramid, a "two-strike" system like Classic Concentration from 1990-1991, or two new contestants on each show like the Narz version.


In the end, this revival did not sell and The Nighttime Price is Right took to the airwaves on its own, coupled in certain markets with a re-packaging of the 1979-1982 five-a-week Match Game. Although Orson Bean would continue to appear on game shows, he would never host another game show.

Classic Concentration (1987-1991)

A partially-revealed puzzle, the answer to which is "Don't believe everything you hear".

The most recent version to date was hosted by Alex Trebek and Marjorie Goodson-Cutt (after Diana Taylor served as model for the first few weeks). Gene Wood served as primary announcer for most of the run (Art James filled in for Wood, just weeks before the series cancellation). It aired in first-run on NBC from May 4, 1987 to September 20, 1991, after which it went into reruns until December 31, 1993.

The theme, computerized board, and bonus game from the failed 1985 pilot were reused on Classic Concentration with minor changes.

Main game

This version featured a computer-generated GUI board, with in-studio contestants viewing on a large-screen TV placed off stage. The board featured 25 squares as seen on the 1985 pilot, however gameplay reverted back to matching like-named prizes.

Most games had three Wild cards, although some games used only one or two. Choosing two Wild cards in one turn earned the player a $500 bonus, and if a third was chosen in the same turn the bonus doubled to $1,000. In 1989, a Cash Pot (starting at $500, and $100 was added each game until it was won) was added to the board. As with the other prizes, cash bonuses could only be won if the player solved the rebus. When a Wild Card match was made, the natural match was also located resulting in three puzzle parts being revealed.

Two pairs of matching-colored Take cards, one red and one green, also appeared. In the earliest episodes, no Take cards appeared on the board, and for a short time the green Take appeared by itself (after November 11, 1987). The red Take was added later (after February 9, 1988). In this game, a player could choose either to use a Take card immediately after matching it on the board, or to hold onto it and wait for a particular prize to show up in the opponent's prize column. The Forfeit cards last used in 1975 continued to be absent from this version.

In the event of time running out during a game, the puzzle was revealed one square at a time in order. The first player to buzz in guessed, and a correct answer won the game. If incorrect, the player was locked out, the rest of the puzzle was revealed, and the opponent received a free guess. If neither player guessed correctly, the host gave clues as to what the puzzle is until one player guessed correctly.

Early in the show's run, after a rebus was solved, Trebek would go off stage and in front of a chroma key wall to explain the rebus. Later on, the contestant who solved the rebus would do this.

Returning champions

In the beginning of the run, the player who solved the rebus went to the Winner's Circle while the loser was eliminated (except in cases of an interrupted game, when the losing player would return to play in the next match as the challenger). On July 4, 1988, the format was changed into a best-of-three match, with the first player to solve two rebuses winning the match and playing the bonus game. Unlike most game shows that tend to straddle when playing a best-of-three format, Classic Concentration had each match and bonus game fit into one complete show. The first game was split over the first two segments, with the second (and possibly) third game taking up the third segment. The bonus round was played during the fourth segment of the show.

From July 2, 1990 until the end of the run, contestants played the bonus game after solving a puzzle, and would be eliminated from competition after losing two games.

Bonus round

A man wins a Subaru Justy in the car game.

A player who won a match got the opportunity to win one of eight new cars, valued between $6,000 and $16,000 (sometimes even more), in the bonus game. The contestant was shown a board of 15 numbered panels, instead of 25 as in the main game.

Behind those numbers were the names of the eight cars sitting in the studio. The names of seven of those cars could be matched on the board while one was an unmatchable decoy. If the player found all seven matches before time ran out, he or she won the car indicated in the seventh and final match. Players were given a base time of 35 seconds, and 5 seconds were added for each unsuccessful attempt. After winning a car, the clock would be reset to the base time.

Early in the show's run, a player could win the game and play the Car Game round up to five times before being retired. Later, champions were only retired after winning a car.

Occasionally, a "Five Bonus Car Seconds" prize appeared in the main game. A player who solved a rebus and had matched this prize earned them five additional seconds in the bonus round.

During some shows, if there was time remaining, an audience member preselected before taping began played the bonus round for up to $500 cash. Instead of the names of cars, dollar amounts were hidden behind the fifteen numbers. The audience member was given 60 seconds and kept any money amounts matched.

Home games

  • The Milton Bradley Company introduced the first commercial version of Concentration in 1958 and subsequently released 24 editions of the game until 1982. Owing to common superstition, these releases were numbered 1-12 and 14-25, skipping 13. It was tied with Password as the most prolific of Milton Bradley's home versions of popular game shows, and was produced well after the Jack Narz-era ended in 1978. Pressman Games also published two editions of the Classic Concentration home game in 1988. More recently, Endless Games has released two versions of Concentration since 1998. The Endless version were modeled similar to Classic Concentration home game with the rebuses designed by Steve Ryan, who created puzzles for Classic Concentration.
  • There were also books based on the TV shows. Three issues for the original were released in 1971, written and designed by Norman Blumenthal. Each issue of this collection featured 36 rebus puzzles, 30 standard and six "super puzzles".
  • In 1991 the book "CLASSIC CONCENTRATION: The Game, The Show, the Puzzles" was created by puzzle designer Steve Ryan. This book showcased 152 full color rebuses designed from the Classic Concentration TV show with the first 48 of them simply show the entire, exposed rebus and the other 104 showed a partially revealed game board, followed on the next page by the entire rebus. The answers are in the back and, curiously, indexed alphabetically. The book also showcased a lengthy Concentration history and an introduction by executive producer Mark Goodson.
  • In 2007, Reflexive Arcade released a downloadable version of Concentration based on the Classic Concentration format and bonus round with newer puzzles and prizes.
  • In 2008, Glu Mobile released a moblie version of Concentration based on the PC downloadable version with the look of the original 1958-1973 series.

Episode status

Nearly all of the 1958-1973 episodes were rumored to have been destroyed by NBC until kinescope recordings of some of the episodes from the original series were found.[citation needed] Some are held at the Library of Congress.

  • Shokus Video is known to have a Downs tournament episode from the late 1960s.
  • The UCLA Film and Television Archive holds twelve Downs/Clayton episodes and a Narz episode.
  • The Paley Center for Media has in its possession one 1958 Downs episode, two 1971-1972 Clayton episodes and one Narz episode from 1974.
  • The final NBC episode from 1973 has also survived, existing as a color kinescope.

The 1970s syndicated series is also intact, although episodes are rare among private collectors and have not been as widely circulated as other series. The 1985 pilot hosted by Orson Bean exists in private collections--this, as well as other select clips of shows from throughout Concentration 's history, is available for viewing on the video-sharing website YouTube.

International versions

Concentration is one of only three Barry-Enright game shows known to have foreign adaptations, the others being Tic-Tac-Dough and Twenty-One.

United Kingdom


Several versions aired from 1959-1967 (with a nighttime version airing until 1961) with Philip Brady, then in the 1970s with Lionel Williams, and then again in 1997 with Mike Hammond as host. The 1960s version aired on the Nine Network, while the latter versions aired on the Seven Network.


Concéntrese aired during the 1970s (from Unicentro shopping centre) and 1980s.


  1. ^ Contestant selects prizes to play for in Double Play round (1978)
  2. ^ "Concentration '85", Part 1
  3. ^ "Concentration '85", Part 2
  4. ^ "Concentration '85", Part 3


1. Steve Beverly's "The Game Show Convention Center" archive column, 'The Lost Episodes' (August 9-15, 1999)

External links


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