Amazon Prime & Strike
Text by: Cyndi Seidelman
On December 29th, 2018, Buzzr posted on their Twitter feed that they will be uploading episodes of the Kline and Friends show Strike It Rich to Amazon Prime. This news shocked a lot of fans because people thought that Strike It Rich was still owned by Richard Kline and had little to no shot at being reran again. While it's not a gigantic get by any stretch of the imagination, it was a step to getting more outside Fremantle shows into the Buzzr family. After watching the Premiere again one week later when the shows actually made their way to Prime itself, the end credits had the Fremantle logo at the end, meaning they probably bought the shows outright and cherry-picked certain episodes to put on there. This got me to thinking that they possibly have rights to the Kline and Friends library. This would mean they have the 1985 version of Break The Bank, Masters of the Maze and the 1997 version of Pictionary since Win, Lose or Draw is owned by Disney and Joker '90 is in a quagmire of rights between Sony and NBCUniversal. While not any grand get, it's decent enough schedule filler or could possibly bolster the amount of exclusive Buzzr shows on Amazon Prime as the only exclusives currently are the 2000 episodes of Supermarket Sweep and Strike it Rich.
Now, while watching through all of the episodes they had posted I had come to one massive conclusion: This show wasn't as great as I remember watching when I had traded for all of the possible episodes that are on the circuit. What I gather from all of the episodes is that it's a massive proof of concept. The highlights that I'd like to bring up is Joe Garagiola as host. He might be one of those unsung game show hosts who made contestants feel right and home and comfortable playing the game more than I could say about Joe Farago's tenure on Break The Bank. I also loved that he constantly gave shoutouts to how great the crowds were and bantered with them at the beginning. But the rest of the show was just one massive slog of sorts.
The concept of making 1-2-3 moves for 1-2-3 questions was sound, but the movement of the Bandit did bog it down because it was always random instead of the set pattern that the successful version of the UK version had. So, while it's possible to prep for the Hot Spot in the UK version, you couldn't for where the Bandit was. Also, near the end of the game the Bandit would be in the first spot you hit and thus the game just slowed down and in later episodes, most teams just went for one or two moves to avoid the bandit as much as possible. That's why in certain episodes you don't get the shuffle of the Bandit and Dollar Signs in the bonus round as well as the plug of the Car that absolutely nobody went for.
Ah yes, the bonus game. The very definition of a coinflip. The biggest problem with the bonus game that it was very hard to win the lowest prize which was $5,000 for 5 dollar signs with only 7 monitors, meaning you can only miss 2 and then the game is over. It's why that over the 130 episodes that were produced that hardly anybody, if at all went for the 6 dollar sign option which was for a brand new car. Later episodes added to it to heighten the amount including a boat and later the $5,000. Friend of the site Dave Livingston messaged me about this and he came up with the idea to have the choices removed and have a payout system with the amount of dollar signs earned making a better prize with the lowest payout being 4 meaning a trip, 5 being $10,000, 6 being the trip, $10,000 and the sportscar. That way, you can still get somewhere with an over .500 record and not have to worry about someone flat out rejecting the hardest option every single episode.
In conclusion, the UK version just flat out blows the original out of the water. Their game moves at a much faster clip and Michael Barrymore is simply amazing to watch. Tons of episodes from that version are up on YouTube so check that out. But while the US version isn't anywhere near as fantastic as that one, it's still worth the watch because of its novelty and seeing a show from over 30 years ago that has never been reran, even during the heydays of the USA Network, CBN/Family Channel or even on GSN. Plus, watching the US version on Amazon Prime sends a message to Buzzr that we'd like to see more buried treasures show up on Amazon Prime, such as whatever shows they don't have space to air on their schedule. So, once again, thank you Buzzr/Fremantle for putting something quite rare and unique on the service.
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