Break The Bank 1976
ABC Daytime, April 12, 1976 - July 23, 1976
Syndicated, September 18, 1976 - September 11, 1977
Run time
30 Minutes
Tom Kennedy, Jack Barry
Johnny Jacobs, Ernie Anderson
Studio 55, ABC Television Center, Los Angeles, California

Break the Bank (not to be confused with the 1948 and 1985 game show of the same name) was a game of hide and seek where two contestants try and find three Money Bags to break the Bank which could be worth thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

Game FormatEdit

Two contestants played a Hollywood Squares/Concentration-like game, while trying to break the Bank.


Two contestants, one man and one woman, faced a game board of 20 squares numbered 1-20 with nine stars seated around it. Behind those numbers were three money amounts in groups of three that touched each other along one side of board, five money bags which scattered all around the board and may or may not touch each other, five blank spots which never touched other, and one wild card which can be found anywhere & used for anything. The player in control called out a number, after which that box flipped over, and if a money box or the wild card was found, the host asked a question to the two stars connected to it. One celebrity gave a true answer (the correct answer), while the other gave a false answer (a wrong answer). The player's job was to choose the correct answer, doing so captured the box and place his/her symbol in the box, either a mustache or red lips (mustache for the man, lips for the woman); that player also kept control of the board. Choosing the wrong answer lost control to his/her opponent. Originally on a miss, the box would be flipped back to its normal position, but in later episodes, the box would be given to the opponent unless it triggered a win (for a win had to be earned by the player going for it); that's when it would be flipped back. Control of the board would also be passed if the player uncovered a blank space.

If a Money Bag was uncovered, the player in control could either take it (not having to answer the question, but also forfeiting control) or turn it back and select a different box.

The first player to capture one group of three matching money boxes won the game, the total of the amounts showing, and a special surprise prize. Capturing three Money Bags broke the Bank for at least $5,000.

ABC VersionEdit

In the Tom Kennedy version the money boxes were $100 (Yellow), $200 (Blue), and $300 (Orange) respectively; so the cash prizes for winning a game would be $300, $600, and $900.

The winners of each game faced another player unless the player defeated did not get a chance to play (at which point that player was invited back to play in the next game). They remain champions until defeated or until they exceeded $20,000 (champs can keep up to $25,000, however).

The bank was an increasing cash jackpot which started at $5,000 plus $500 (later $250) for every game it was not broken.

In this version the games straddled episodes.


Jack Barry's version replaced the blue $200 boxes with red $500 boxes, for a possible maximum winning total of $1,500. The $300 boxes were now blue while $100 stayed the same.

The Bank was a prize package worth more than $10,000 including a new car.

Contestants played for the entire show, and the first player to break the bank or the player who won the most games won the match.

When time ran out in the middle of a game or at the start of a game, players alternated turns picking boxes with no questions asked until one of the players got three of the same amount.

There were no returning champions.

Each episode was self-contained.

Bonus Game (Syndicated only)Edit

The winner of the match also got a chance to play a bonus game for $5,000. In the bonus game, eight of the celebrities held a money amount ranging from $200-$1,000 in $100 increments, but one had a BUST card which bankrupted the contestant if found. The contestant picked off celebrities one at a time; each time he/she found a money amount, it was added to his/her score, after which the player would then decide to either quit with the money earned or continue picking. If the contestant reached $2,000 or more, s/he won $5,000.


The show was distributed by Colbert Television Sales.

International VersionsEdit

Main Article: Break the Bank/International


Board GameEdit

Milton Bradley (1977)


Episode StatusEdit


Break The Bank ep 4 1976 Tom Kennedy22:21

Break The Bank ep 4 1976 Tom Kennedy

Break the Bank - Episode 2623:19

Break the Bank - Episode 26

Break the Bank Jack Barry's premiere, pt10:43

Break the Bank Jack Barry's premiere, pt. 1

Break the Bank Jack Barry's premiere, pt 211:28

Break the Bank Jack Barry's premiere, pt 2

3 Break the Bank29:48

3 Break the Bank

Break the Bank ticket plug, 197600:20

Break the Bank ticket plug, 1976

See AlsoEdit


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