Game Shows Wiki
Jim Caldwell (1989)
Wink Martindale (1990)
Rick Sommers
The Great Getaway Game Pilot.jpg
Pilot: 1989
The Great Getaway Game.jpg
The Travel Channel (Daily): 6/1/1990 – 7/25/1990 (with repeats until 4/1991)
Brockway Television/
Wink Martindale Enterprises
The Travel Channel

"The little mermaid statue is found in what European capital? The world's crookedest street is situated in which west coast city? The world's smallest drawbridge is located on what island nation? If you knew the answers were Copenhagen, San Francisco and Bermuda, then your playing The Great Getaway Game. And now, here's the host of The Great Getaway Game, Jim Caldwell!"

"Today, one of these contestants could win a fantastic vacation, because they're about to play The Great Getaway Game. And now, here's the star of The Great Getaway Game, Wink Martindale!"

The Great Getaway Game (or Great Getaway Game) was a short-lived travel-themed question, answer & word game show for the Travel Channel.


Two contestants (one a returning champion) played a Q & A/wordsearch-based game about traveling, geography, and world culture.


Aside from the fact that the game was the same, there were other differences between the pilot and the series:

  • The points were a tenth of what they would be in the series.
  • Contestants did not choose squares to reveal free letters in the beginning of each round.
  • Only one letter was given on each completely missed question.
  • There was a prize hidden somewhere on the board in each round.


Main Game[]

In the front game, the players faced a game board of 30 squares (numbered 1-30). Behind those numbers were letters, one for each square and some of them made up a word the contestants would be searching for. The mystery word could be in any direction (up or down & backward or forward (no diagonals)) and it was always 4, 5, or 6 letters long.

To start the round, a category was given along with a letter in the word (almost always a vowel), then the contestants each picked two free squares to reveal letters in. When the choices were made, and the letters were revealed, the toss-up questions came into play. In each toss-up, a player could buzz-in at anytime if he/she thought they knew the answer; a correct answer awarded points, but an incorrect answer lost points and gave the opposing player a chance to answer. Now the player with the correct answer also won another pick at the board as well as a guess. Somewhere on the board was a square marked "Double Pick" meaning that the player in control got to choose an additional number. Should both contestants miss the question, two letters in the word search were revealed at random. The first player to find & guess the word scored bonus points (which was ten times the question value) and won a prize.

In the first round, questions were worth 10 points and the mystery word was worth 100 points; the values increased by these amounts for each new round. Several rounds would be played according to time (usually three). Should time run out in the middle of a round, letters in the word search were revealed until a contestant found the word. The player with the highest score won the game, became the champion and went on to the bonus round.

Bonus Round[]

In the bonus round, the winning contestant stood behind the host's podium where he/she faced a secret screen consisting of a visible 7×7 wordsearch grid (similar to Now You See It). Hidden in that grid were five words that fit a specific category. The words were given by Wink at the start, then the winning contestant had 30 seconds to find those words. Doing so won a trip.


Theme - The Winning Plan (A) by Graham Preskett


Richard S. Brockway


Times Square Studios, New York City, NY


39 episodes were produced.

Each taping day consisted of up to seven episodes.


"The Great Getaway Game is a Brockway Broadcasting Television Production in association with the Travel Channel." - Rick Sommers (1989 pilot)

"The Great Getaway Game is a Brockway Television Production in association with Wink Martindale Enterprises and the Travel Channel." - Rick Sommers (1990)


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YouTube Links[]

The full 1989 pilot episode (Cary vs. Dan)
A full episode from June 5, 1990 (Eric vs. Rich)
A full episode from June or July 1990 (Ed vs. Stacy)
Most of a fun prank "episode" from 1990 (Jim vs. Howard)