Game Shows Wiki
Joe Garagiola
Theresa Ring
Charlie O'Donnell (earliest taped episodes)
Bob Hilton
Pilot: 1985
Syndication (Daily): 9/15/1986 – 5/22/1987 (reruns aired until 9/1987)
Kline & Friends
Bruce M. Sterten Productions
Ladd Framer Productions
Blair Entertainment

EARLY EPISODES: "(description of prizes). Today, thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are waiting for our couples, as they play the fastest high stakes game on television, the all-new STRIKE IT RICH! And now, here's the host of STRIKE IT RICH, JOE GARAGIOLA!"

REST OF SERIES: "(description of prizes). Welcome to the fastest high stakes game on television, the all-new STRIKE IT RICH! And here's your host, JOE GARAGIOLA!"

This show is far different from the Strike it Rich show in the 1950s.


Two couples, one usually the returning champions, competed to win cash & prizes by moving across a bi-level archway by answering trivia questions. Both levels had nine television monitors spanning from one end of the stage to the other, and seven of these monitors had buttons below them. Those monitors were always in play, as was the monitor at the end of each archway. The first monitor in each archway served as the starting position for the couples.

Main Game[]

Play started with the couple on the bottom level (usually the returning champions), who were given a choice of a one, two, or three question contract to fulfill. Five possible answers fitting a specific category were displayed on the game board, and the couple chose an answer from the five for each question. Answering enough questions to complete the contract gained the couple control of their respective archway. Failing to complete the contract passed control to the opposing couple, who was given a chance to complete it by answering the remaining questions. If neither couple was able to complete the contract, the category was taken out of play and the first couple was shown the next category and list of answers.

Once a couple gained control, they began to move across the archway. Each monitor displayed either a prize or the show's villain, the bandit. The couple had to successfully pass an amount of monitors equal to the number of questions in the contract. The bandit only appeared in one of the monitors, and his position was shuffled before each turn. The shuffle included all of the open monitors, including ones that might not have been in play on the couple's turn (especially early in the game, when the couples did not have a chance to make significant progress).

The couple pushed the button to determine what was concealed on the monitor. If anything other than the bandit was revealed, the couple won the prize and was given a choice to either stop, bank their prizes, and hold their position, or to keep going to try to pass the remaining monitors, if there were any. If the bandit was revealed at any point in either couple's turn, the couple lost the un-banked prizes and their turn with their progress frozen at the monitor where the bandit was found.

Once a couple's turn ended, a new category and set of answers was revealed. If a couple ended their turn by completing the moves and chose not to bank the prizes, they retained control. However, if a couple ended their turn by banking prizes or by finding the bandit, then the opposing couple received control.

Once one of the couples passed the seventh monitor, one last question called "The Strike It Rich Question" awaited them at the end of the archway. This question did not have multiple possible answers and thus did not require the use of the game board. Instead, the card bearing the question was placed in a holder on the monitor and its category was not revealed until Garagiola removed the card from its holder. This question was also asked if time was called when none of the couples passed the seventh monitor.

The first couple to answer "The Strike It Rich Question" won the game and moved on to the bonus round. Answering the question incorrectly cost the couple that did so any unbanked prizes that they had and control went back to the opposing couple who resumed from where they had left off.

Both couples were able to keep any prizes they managed to bank during the course of the game.

Bonus Game[]

In the bonus game, the winning couple had a chance to win $5,000 in cash and a car (alternating between a Jeep Wrangler and Cadillac Cimarron, at least one episode had a replica of an Auburn convertible from the 1930s). Originally, couples had to choose between those two prizes. After several weeks, the choice changed to simply playing for the money or for both the money and the car.

Both sets of monitors were used, with one member of the team playing the top archway and the other the bottom. Before the round began, a series of bandits and pictures of the show's logo, referred to as "dollar signs", were shuffled into place on each archway. To begin, the couple chose whether to reveal what was hidden behind the top monitor or the bottom monitor. One of the monitors had a dollar sign hidden, the other a bandit, and the couple had an equal shot of uncovering both as they progressed.

Each revealed dollar sign was worth $100, while each bandit earned nothing. Depending on the chosen bonus prize, the couple had a certain objective to accomplish. If they chose to play for $5,000, the couple had to uncover five dollar signs and could not uncover more than two bandits. Playing for both the car and the $5,000 required six dollar signs, and the bandit could not appear more than once. If the couple revealed too many bandits, the round ended and they were credited with any money from the previously revealed dollar signs.

Regardless of the outcome, each winning couple continued playing on the next show.

Occasionally, if there was extra time at the end of the show, the winning couple would get to play a special bonus round similar to the one described above, where for every dollar sign they uncovered, $50 would be donated to the couple's favorite charity.

Earliest Taped Episodes[]

The format was significantly different than the one used for the bulk of the series. While in the front the questions were asked the same, instead of a couple earning moves, they instead earned prizes for each correct answer. In addition, instead of the Bandit being in one of the screens in place of a prize, the Bandit instead moved from screen to screen, with the couple hitting the button to stop him moving. If the Bandit landed on a screen with a prize, the couple lost everything to that point. As usual, the couple could bank their prizes and the first couple to make it to the end of their arch and correctly answer "The Strike it Rich Question" won the game.

The bonus game was also different. Instead of choosing to play for either $5,000 or $5,000 & a car, the couple had these choices: 3 $'s: $1,000, 4 $'s: $2,000, 5 $'s: Car, 6 $'s: Two Cars.


Trade Ads[]

Press Release[]

International Versions[]

A short-lived Australian version hosted by Ronnie Burns aired on the Nine Network in 1994 and like its 1986-94 British counterpart, it was also under the name Strike It Lucky. Unlike its other counterparts, the show had a hostess, Jane Blatchford and was announced by Craig Huggins (who had earlier announced the Australian version of Keynotes). Also for the bonus round, instead of winning a cash prize, winning the bonus round gives the winning couples a prize package. The format was generally similar to its UK counterpart, with the only noticeable difference being that time could run out before a couple got to the end of the arch. If that happened, the couple furthest along won the game. If two teams tied for the lead (or if all three tied), the final "Strike it Lucky Question" was treated like a toss-up question, with the team members at the screens buzzing-in to answer.

An equally short-lived French version aired on Antenne 2 from 1988 until 1989 and was hosted by Georges Beller under the name L'arche d'or (The Golden Arch/Ark).

Despite the show being a flop here in the US, a long-running and much more successful version hosted by Michael Barrymore has aired on ITV in the United Kingdom originally under the name Strike It Lucky from 1986 until 1994 then the show was revived and renamed again as Michael Barrymore's Strike It Rich from 1996 until 1999. Unlike its US counterpart, the show had three couples competing for cash and prizes (also unlike the US, cash could be won in the main game in addition to the bonus round), with one half of the team answering questions at podiums while the other half ran through the arches. As opposed to answering one, two, or three questions, the person at the podium could answer two, three, or four questions, with each category containing a list of six answers as opposed to five. Upon finishing the contract, the team in control would go through the arches, trying to avoid hitting a "Hot Spot" instead of a bandit like the US show, still with the option to bank or risk prizes. If the team in control completed their moves without hitting a Hot Spot, the prizes were automatically banked and the next team in line got to answer the next set of questions. As before, the first couple to get to the end of the arch answer the final "Strike it Lucky Question" (which always contained the words "struck it lucky" in the question itself) correctly won the game, putting any unbanked at risk like the original. The winning team then had the option to try to reveal six, seven, or eight screens (out of ten) with arrows to win a cash prize before revealing three, four, or five Hot Spots. Also included among the screens were true-or-false questions, which, if answered correctly, turned into arrows, but if answered incorrectly, turned into Hot Spots.

South Africa also had a long running version, entitled Telly Fun Quiz, hosted by Martin Bailie and co-hosted by Eddie Eckstein and Anne Tyrell (and later on, Tumi Makgabo), airing on TV1 throughout the early 1990s. While the general format remained the same as other versions, this was also quite different from others. Four teams of two competed each episode, with the first two rounds seeing two couples competing against each other playing the game like normal (using lists of six answers like other foreign versions), but players only had the option to answer two or three questions per category before going through the arches to win prizes to avoid "Booby Traps" (their equivalent to bandits and Hot Spots). Unlike other versions, there was also a "Joker" prize among them-- if it was revealed, the couple in control automatically won the prize attached, regardless of outcome. As before, the first team to get to the end (with only six screens this time) and answer the final question correctly won and then moved on to the third round, with the process repeating for the second round. For the third and final round, the two teams that each won their rounds would play a 90-second speed round where Martin would read off rapid-fire questions. The first team to ring-in with a right answer would then choose a screen, containing a cash prize from R100 to R500 (in R50 increments), a Booby Trap (which added nothing), or a R1,500 bonus prize, which, if picked, would stop the clock, and the couple would win that prize, even though it didn't count towards their score. When all of the screens were picked, or after the 90 seconds expired, the team with the most money won the game and tried to answer one last question correctly to win a jackpot that started at R10,000 and went up by that amount each time it wasn't won.


Most international versions use a three-couple format, which is what the US version used for its pilot before dropping to just two when it went to series.


Stations that carried the US show include:

  • New York - WCBS
  • Los Angeles - KHJ
  • Chicago - WGBO
  • Philadelphia - WCAU
  • San Francisco - KRON
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth - KTVT
  • Boston - WQTV
  • Atlanta - WVEU
  • Houston - KHTV
  • Phoenix - KTSP
  • Seattle - KCPQ
  • Minneapolis - KMSP
  • Miami - WSVN
  • Sacramento - KSCH
  • St. Louis - KMOV
  • Pittsburgh - WPXI
  • Indianapolis - WRTV
  • Charlotte - WPCQ
  • Baltimore - WBAL
  • Nashville - WTVF
  • Hartford-New Haven - WVIT
  • Kansas City - KMBC
  • Cincinnati - WCPO
  • Milwaukee - WTMJ
  • Grand Rapids - WOTV
  • Harrisburg - WHTM
  • Louisville - WLKY
  • Greenville, SC - WAXA (now WMYA)
  • Oklahoma City - KOKH
  • Greensboro - WGHP
  • New Orleans - WWL
  • Fresno - KFSN
  • Albany - WTEN
  • Mobile - WALA
  • Ft. Myers - WEVU
  • Honolulu - KMGT
  • Des Moines - KCCI
  • Green Bay - WLUK
  • Tucson - KPOL
  • Portland, ME - WCSH
  • Cedar Rapids - KDUB
  • Greenville, NC - WITN
  • Ft. Wayne - WFFT
  • Bakersfield - KERO
  • Rockford - WREX
  • Ocala, FL - WBSP
  • Rochester, MN - KTTC
  • Columbus, OH - WCMH
  • Casper, WY - KGWC


The original name of the show was Arch Rivals; however, producer/director & former Barry & Enright director Richard S. Kline believed that it needed a better name for it to sell, hence the change to Strike it Rich (or The All-New Strike it Rich as mentioned in the opening).

This was the last game show hosted by famed baseball announcer & occasional Today Show host Joe Garagiola. He hadn't hosted a game show since To Tell the Truth ended in 1978. This would also be his only game show he hosted in Los Angeles (all his other shows were taped in New York).

This was also the last show in which its music was composed by Barry & Enright music composer Hal Hidey.

According to the ads from Broadcasting Magazine and while the show was in development, the format was to have had three couples play the game. But it was changed to two before it went on the air.

When the Bandit was revealed, he usually laughed. The Bandit's laugh was the voice of baseball player Boog Powell.

Some of the sound effects from Tic Tac Dough were recycled into this show (shuffle and reveal sounds).

The diamond used in the intro was later used for the bonus round in Season 1 on Masters of the Maze.

The same balloons of green, white, and gold that fell on Break the Bank when the bank was broken also fell on Strike it Rich when a couple won the bonus round (albeit with red ones added). Along with the balloons, a siren similar to that of a burglar alarm would go off. International versions, however, do not drop anything on a bonus round win, nor do they blare a siren, regardless of prize.

In early 2019, reruns began airing on Amazon Video[1]via Buzzr, as Fremantle (who already had UK rights due to producing that version) acquired US rights from the previous rights holder, the now-defunct 20th Television. The series was removed from Amazon in July 2019.


"They struck it rich. I hope you strike it rich. This is Joe Garagiola saying 'See ya next time.'" - Joe Garagiola (1986-1987)
"Strike it Rich is a Kline & Friends Production in association with Blair Entertainment." - Announcer (1986-1987)



Rules for Strike it Rich
Josh Rebich's Strike it Rich Rulesheet
Flash game for Strike it Rich

YouTube Videos[]

Clip of the 1st Segment
End of the game, bonus round & credits

Paul & Linda[]

Regular & Charity Bonus Game
Paul & Linda vs. Linda & Rod