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The Joker's Wild (1972)

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The Joker's Wild
Premiere September 4, 1972
Finale May 23, 1986
Creator Jack Barry
Host Jack Barry (seasons 1-12),
Jim Peck (season 11),
Bill Cullen (seasons 12-14)
Network/Provider CBS (seasons 1-3),
Syndication (seasons 4-14)
Style 30-minute game show
Company Jack Barry Productions (seasons 1-3)
Barry-Enright Productions (seasons 4-14)
Seasons 14
Episodes 2496
Origin USA

The Joker's Wild is a game show that aired on CBS and later in syndication. It originally got prepped as a pilot for CBS in 1968 with Allen Ludden as host, followed by a second in 1970 (as The Honeymoon Game) and then finally as The Joker's Wild which had a three month run locally in Los Angeles on KTLA in 1971. It marked the return of Jack Barry to the game show arena since his exile from the Twenty-One scandal. It was also the first big-ticket giveaway show on CBS since 1958, when the network imposed a ban on giveaway shows in light of the scandals. It premiered on September 4, 1972, the same day the The New Price Is Right and Gambit premiered on the network.



Two contestants sit at podiums with a handle from a Vegas slot machine. In turn, they pull the handle to manipulate three slot machine windows. As each window stops, they display one of five categories or "Jokers." The "Jokers" act as wild cards as contestants can make pairs out of categories or even three of a kind. They select a category and is asked a question. If correct, the payoff is $50 for individual categories, $100 for pairs (natural or with Jokers) and $200 for three-of-a-kind (natural or with Jokers). If a contestant misses a question, the opponent can score it by giving a correct answer.

A player reaching $500 wins the game, provided the opponent cannot make a combination to at least tie. A player spinning three Jokers can win the game by selecting a category and correctly answering the question.

The winner plays the bonus game. The very first bonus game had the player the prize showing on the windows that compose a three-of-a-kind. It later changed to the player taking up to three spins and winning a prize by spinning three Jokers and not revealing a Devil. In the final season, the bonus game had money amounts on the wheel. The player had to spin $1000 without hitting the Devil to win a jackpot of prizes.

After CBS canceled the show, it ran in replays for a year on Los Angeles station KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV). It went into first run syndication afterwards with the only noted change from the CBS show being some of the categories, which included "Fast Forward" (running off a series of answers). Late in the syndicated run, three members of the studio audience were invited to spin for money. Each member took one spin and won whatever money amount was in the windows. The high scorer spun the machine for prizes as per the regular bonus game. A children's edition of the show, called Joker! Joker!! Joker!!!, aired weekends in syndication from 1979 to 1981.

Jim Peck filled in for Jack Barry several times. Barry died in 1984 of a heart attack, so during the show's final two seasons, veteran Bill Cullen became the show's host (his final show before retiring). A new version of The Joker's Wild premiered in syndication in 1990.

Jack Barry Productions produced the CBS version of The Joker's Wild in association with the network from 1972 to 1975, then its successor Barry-Enright Productions produced the syndicated version from 1977 to 1986. The syndicated version, which was originally distributed by Colbert Television Sales, is now distributed by Sony Pictures Television.


Person   Duration
Main Cast 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Johnny Jacobs * * *
Jay Stewart * * * *
Charlie O'Donnell * * * * * * *


Season  Premiere Finale #
Season One September 4, 1972
Season Two
Season Three June 13, 1975
Season Four September 5, 1977
Season Five
Season Six
Season Seven
Season Eight
Season Nine
Season Ten
Season Eleven
Season Twelve
Season Thirteen
Season Fourteen May 23, 1986


DVD Releases

There are no DVD releases for this show.

External Links