Game Shows Wiki
John Reed King (1949–1952)
Dennis James (1952–1956)
Ken Roberts
Jay Simms
Kenny Williams
Chance of a Lifetime.jpg
ABC Radio (Weekly): 9/4/1949 – 5/28/1950, 7/3/1951 – 1/19/1952
ABC Radio (Daily): 5/29/1950 – 1/5/1951
ABC Primetime: 9/6/1950 – 11/28/1951, 5/8/1952 – 8/20/1953, 7/3/1955 – 6/23/1956
DuMont Primetime: 9/11/1953 – 6/24/1955
Robert Jennings Productions

Chance of a Lifetime was originally a guessing game show, then later, it was a talent game show.


The show had two very different formats during its run.

Format #1 (1949–1952)[]

Radio Version[]

Four contestants appeared on each broadcast. A series of letters would appear on an electronic board, and players were allowed to choose three each. During this process, a bell or buzzer sounded. A bell meant the contestant won a luxery gift, while a buzzer awarded a less-expensive gift. After the contestant chose his/her prizes, he/she could choose to keep them, or risk them by picking another letter within ten seconds. If the player could choose a letter with a bell, he/she won that prize; otherwise, he/she lost everything.

Television Version[]

In this version, contestants selected two lucky letters in the sponsor's name (B-E-N-D-I-X) where each letter corresponded to a button that either buzzed or rang and which determined the value of the prize. Buzzers were worth prizes ranging from $200 to $500 in value, while bells were worth prizes ranging from $500 to $1,000 in value.

To win the prize, contestants had to answer questions or participate in stunts, such as watching an Olympic gymnast perform on the parallel bars and then attempting to repeat the routine or perform a scene from a famous movie and then identify the film.

Format #2 (1952–1956)[]

Two professional performers competed against each other in the first half of the show, with the studio audience applause determining the winner.

The second half of the show featured the winner from the first half of the show competing against the winner from the previous week's show. The winner (again determined by applause from the studio audience) received $1,000 and a week's engagement at a nightclub as well as $500 for a home viewer partner.

Sometime in 1956, the rules were altered slightly to have three performers in the first half and remove the home viewer element.

Production Location[]

New York City, NY

Video Links[]

A full episode from February 12, 1956
A full episode from circa Spring 1956