Alex Trebek
Diana Taylor
Marjorie Goodson
Rich Jeffries (1987 Test Show)
Gene Wood
Classic Concentration
NBC: 5/4/1987 – 9/20/1991
NBC Studios, Burbank, California
Mark Goodson Productions
Victory Television

This is chronicling the 1980s version of Concentration called Classic Concentration.

Game formatEdit

Main GameEdit

Two contestants faced a computer animated game board consisting of 25 numbered squares. Behind those numbers were matching pairs of prizes. The hidden prizes cover up a rebus puzzle which the contestants try to solve. To start the game, two puzzle pieces were revealed at the start. Later shows gave no head starts. On a player's turn he/she picked off two numbers at a time. If the numbers he/she picked uncovered a match, he/she won the prize and revealed pieces of a puzzle. If he/she doesn't match, control of the board goes to the opponent.

Special SquaresEdit

Also hidden on the board were special squares that affected game play.

  • Wild Card - This was a very special square which if uncovered, caused an automatic match. When one was uncovered, another number on the board revealed the natural match; so therefore three or more pieces were revealed instead of two. When the show started, there were three on the board and if two were found in the same turn, the contestant won a $500 cash bonus; if all three were found in the same turn, the contestant won a $1,000 cash bonus. Certain games in later shows had just one wild card on the board; so the $500/$1,000 cash bonuses did not apply.
  • Take! - When matched, that gave the contestant in control the right to steal one of his/her opponents' prizes if he/she had any or save the "Take!" for a later time. It was absent for the first few months but then after November 11, 1987, the Take One Gift squares now called simply "Take!" returned. At first only the green cards were on the board, but later shows also featured red Take! cards. The Takes had to be matched by color.
  • Cashpot - This premiered in 1989. When matched, this allowed contestants to win a mini cash jackpot which started at $500 and grew $100 for every day it's not won.
  • 5 Bonus Car Seconds - Only shown in the second game, when if matched, the contestant had a chance to add five additional seconds to the clock in the bonus game.

The first player to solve the puzzle kept all the prizes & bonus cash and went on to play the bonus game for a new car.

Should time run out in the middle of the second game, the puzzle was revealed one square at a time and the first player to buzz-in with the correct solution was declared the winner. If the buzz-in player missed, the remainder of the puzzle was revealed and the opponent got a free guess.

Bonus GameEdit

In the bonus round instead of 25 numbered squares, the winning contestant was faced with 15 numbered squares. Behind the numbers were eight brand new cars. Seven of them will match each other while one car will not match; this acted as a decoy to distract the contestant. The winning contestant's objective was to match as many cars as they can within the time limit; the time was 35 seconds plus 5 for every bonus round loss. If he/she can match all seven cars before time ran out, the winning contestant kept the last car matched.

Returning championsEdit

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.

Tournament of ChampionsEdit

Starting in 1988 and continuing annually until the end of first-run episodes, there was a Tournament of Champions. Ten contestants who won the bonus round in the shortest amount of time were invited back to play for a more upscale car and an extra bonus prize -- depending on the year, either a trip around the world or $10,000 cash.

Two contestants compete for the same show, playing two front games. For the first show only, the winner played the bonus round with the clock counting up. If the contestant was able to clear the board within the time limit, their time became the new "base time" (e.g., if a contestant cleared the board in 29 seconds, all future contestants had to complete the round in less time to be eligible to win; the clock counting down in all other cases). At the end of the tournament, the contestant who completed the bonus round in the shortest time kept the car they nominally won, plus won the additional grand prize.

Broadcast HistoryEdit

Classic Concentration premiered on May 4, 1987 replacing the short-lived revival of Blockbusters with Bill Rafferty.

The show ended on September 20, 1991. Reruns of the show aired briefly in 1993 before finally leaving the NBC schedule for good on New Year's Eve that same year.

Classic Concentration has not been rerun since 1993, but in early September 2018, it all changed. Beginning October 1, 2018, Classic Concentration will finally run again, this time on Buzzr.[1]


  1. Solve this puzzle and you'll learn some exciting #BUZZR news! 10.1.18


James Vipond’s Concentration Site
Joe Madigan's Classic Concentration Page
David's Classic Concentration Page
A blog about "Classic Concentration"