America's best bargain game show:

HOST: Jim Perry
ANNOUNCER: Jay Stewart, Don Morrow
CO-HOSTS: Sally Julian, Lee Menning, Summer Bartholemew
AIRDATES: January 3rd, 1983 - March 24th, 1989
PACKAGER: Reg Grundy Productions

Besides Scrabble, Sale of the Century was another popular game show, hosted by the former host of Card Sharks and Definition, Jim Perry. The show went through 3 different models:

Sally Julian was the show's first model. But, she was released after a mere 2 months, because she always studdered on her cue cards and had a high squeaky voice. Those 2 things is what caused her dismissal from SoTC.
Lee Menning, the former dealer on Las Vegas Gambit returned to TV since then. In 1984, she left to raise a family, and would later return to Nipsey Russell's Your Number's Up the following year.
Summer Bartholemew is the most recognizable face from Menning's spot until the end of the run. Summer was that year's Miss USA, and had a bit of a bad start on SoTC, but got even better.
The "classic" podiums from early in the run, which would circle in rainbow colors to indicate who buzzed inThe second podium, the one we all recognize with the "fire" colors of red, orange and yellow

Three contestants competed, one a returning champion (possible). Each player would be given $20 to start. Perry would fire a general knowledge question at them, and one would buzz-in to answer the question. Correct answers won $5 for them, and incorrect ones lost $5 and the question could only be answered once. At the end of the show, the player with the most money would win the game. Throughout the show, there were a few fun twists.


3 times during the show, the player in the lead could buy themselves a special prize with their total. The first prize was usually $5-$7. The second one usually cost around $9-$12, as the last would vary among the prices, usually $15-$18. If there was a tie for the lead, Perry would sometimes lower the price to as low as $1. Even if there was no one tied for the lead, Perry throw in some of his own money in $100 increments to freshen the deal. In 1985, a "Sale Surprise" was initiated, meaning that if the player decided to buy the prize with the use of a buzzer, and a big bell sounded, the Sale Surprise was added to the mix. But, no one would know if the Surprise was there until the prize was bought or passed.

In 1986, the 3rd Instant Bargain was replaced with Instant Cash. Here, there were 3 boxes, two had $100 bills and the 3rd had a jackpot that started at $1,000, and grew by that amount until won. To play, the highest scoring contestant has to give away the amount of their lead to the second place contestant, and choose one of the boxes.


The Fame Game was initiated by a doorbell sound. Perry would give clues pertaining to a famous person, place or thing. This would not affect the players' scores. Whichever contestant was right got to choose one of 9 octagons for prizes, also hoping for a $25 money card, which would add to their score.
If the $25 Money Card was spotted first, with 8 other prizes on the board, then the Fame Game would just be as useless. So, not too much later more Money Cards were added. The first Fame game had a $10 Money Card, as the second added a $15 Money Card, and the $25 Money Card would be hidden somewhere in the third Fame Game. Also with the octagons were prizes, various amounts of money, and "Mystery Money or Pick Again," which would let the contestant choose the Mystery Money, which gave them an amount of money, or choose another octagon.

The board had faces in the octagons, but one year later it changed to 9 numbers. In 1986, the Fame Game board sort of re-lived Press Your Luck. Instead of choosing numbers, there would be a light bouncing to separate octagons and the player could stop the roulette by pressing their button, and whatever the light stopped on was what the contestant got. To add suspense, the co-host would reveal 1 Money Card every time it was played.


In the early days of Sale of the Century, Perry would ask a few more questions to determine the winner (in most cases, if a contestant was way in the lead, it wouldn't really matter), and if there was a tie back then, Perry would ask a "Fame Game"-type question to the tied players to determine the winner. In 1984, the Speedround was introduced. 60 seconds was put on the clock for as many questions to be answered along the way. Whoever had the highest amount after 60 seconds was declared the champion. If there was a tie, a Sudden Death question to the tying players would be asked to determine the winner.


Sale of the Century went through 3 different endgames for the champion. Here was the order in which they came in:


The "Shopping" era resembles the earlier version of Sale, which I am not familiar with. The player would use their winnings to buy an awesome package at a discounted price, and be reviewed for more stuff if they decide to go on. If they take what was bargained for, they took that prize (and other prizes from subsequent days) and left. If they want to continue on, they return the next day, hoping for more winnings to their score, because if another contestant wins, the champion only leaves with their winnings gotten from recent Instant Bargains and stuff on the Fame Game board. A lucky contestant would leave with over $100,000 in prizes.


The Winners Board was like Memory Match. there were a number of 20 squares, each holding prizes. When a contestant matched something, they'd win that prize. Also on the board were cash cards, and "WIN!" cards. The "WIN!" cards automatically gave the prize to the contestant. Players could continue coming to the board to win more. If they clear it, they could decide to take the prizes and go home, or return one more time to play for a $50,000 cash jackpot. If they win that day's show, the jackpot is added. If at anytime they lose on returning days, the bonuses are forteited, and only leaving with the prizes from Instant Bargains and Fame Games.


This, I am told, is what destroyed Sale of the Century, though as a kid watching the re-runs on USA, I was quite used to this. After receiving consolation prizes (given to the winner of the match), Perry would give the winning contestant a choice of 3 envelopes (red, yellow, or blue) and give 6 words, 1 word at a time to the contestant in a time of 20 seconds. If the champ could correctly identify 4 puzzles in 20 seconds (originally 5 in 25 seconds), they'd win a jackpot of $5,000 in cash, $6,000 for the second game, all the way up to $10,000 on the sixth. A brand-new car was played for on the 7th, and $50,000 on the 8th, but you had to win the car in order to get a possible chance for $50,000, otherwise you're forced to retire.

This video here is a game of the Winner's Big Money Game, for $5,000. Do you think this is what really killed Sale of the Century, or would you suspect there could've been an improvement to the game?
-Jim Perry, the former host of Card Sharks and the Canadian show, Definition had a good run here on Sale of the Century. He also appeared on Richard Dawson's Family Feud, as part of the team, the Magnificent MC's with Bill Cullen, Bob Eubanks, Nipsey Russell and Betty White.
Curtis Warren, who we all know appeared on Greed in the future to win $1,410,000 also appeared here on Sale of the Century, as well as Win Ben Stein's Money. Though not winning the $5,000 jackpot from Ben, he was part of the Winner's Board era on Sale of the Century. He cleared the board, and won a $50,000 jackpot.
Mark DeCarlo, the future host of Studs, also appeared in the Winner's Board era of Sale of the Century. After clearing the entire Winner's Board, he decided to go one last leg for a cash jackpot of $50,000. He was facing a rather tough time against Howard Skeckter(?) and Deborah Oppendale, who were really good challengers. Though they put up a really good competition, adding on with Instant Bargains, the Speedround proved a turning point in Mark's final day. As the clock ticked down to 0, it ended up that he was in a tie with Deborah. Deborah had buzzed in early and gave a wrong answer, which gave Mark the win.
Alice ConkrightOh, what can I say about Alice Conkright? A librarian from Arizona, according to the rulesheets, she appeared on a day a champion was playing for the lot. She managed to beat every single one of her opponents with at least $115.
The amazing thing is: SHE NEVER BOUGHT A SINGLE INSTANT BARGAIN! Jim was literally begging her to buy something, and she kept refusing. She left the show with $141,406 in cash and prizes
HelanieHelanie Lowie(sp?) was one of the show's Shopping contestants. In her final run, opponent Karin was putting her in a little bit of a tough position. The Speedround beginning, the score was. Vince had only a chance to answer one question (time was short anyway), and Karin had worked so hard, she lost herself in the Speedround, which resulted in giving Helanie the win. Helanie left the show with $142,974
John GossAt the time Sale of the Century became a syndicated nighttime show, it went with the Shopping segment, despite the fact the daytime was into its Winner's Board. John Goss was in the nighttime era, and his final night, he needed $95 to win the lot, and he hit it RIGHT ON THE NOSE! He left with $156,339.
Tim HolleranTim Holleran appeared in the syndicated era of the show, and is said to be the show's biggest winner, having won over $166,000 in cash and prizes, including a $90,000 cash jackpot. On his last show, he was up against Pat and Lisa and needed $43 to win everything, and by the Speedround, he was well over it. With $95, he won everything!
All right guys, another rulesheet with less pictures. If anybody has any pictures from Sale of the Century that they may find useful up on the rulesheet, or have episodes that of this show they wish to trade (yes, I'm on the hunt for more Sale of the Century episodes), please e-mail me.

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