Now You See It
(with help from Chris Holland, Charles Blaquiere, and KNBC-TV)
Jack Narz (1974-75)
Chuck Henry (1989)
Announcers: Johnny Olsen (1974-75)
Gene Wood (1975)
Mark Driscoll (1989)
Don Morrow (1989)
CBS (April 1, 1974-June 13, 1975)
CBS (April 3, 1989-July 14, 1989)
Packagers: Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions
Theme: "Chump Change" by Quincy Jones (see "Notes")
Origination: Studio 33, CBS Televison City, Hollywood
"Every answer...to every question...is right here...before your eyes... AAAAAAND...now...you...see...it! Now You See It! And the staaaar of our show, now you see him...Jack Narz!"
"Hidden in this jumble of letters is the name of (insert clue here). Can you find it? (Answer is revealed on gameboard) Now you see it! That's how we play...Now...You...See...It! Now You See It!"
"Welcome to Now You See It, the show that shows you the answers...all you have to do is find them!"
"Welcome to Now You See It, a game where the answers are right in front of your eyes...if you can find them."
Premise: Contestants competed to find words hidden in a jumble of letters.
"The Elimination Round"
In this round, two teams (who were chosen at random prior to the show) compete. They sit facing a big board which contains 4 lines and 14 letters on each one. A clue is read (ex: "What kind of cartoon animal coined the phrase 'What's up, Doc'?) and if a teammate buzzes in and finds the line that the word is located in, and then his/her partner (whose back is turned throughout the game) must turn around and find the answer (in this case, "rabbit") and its positon (the postion of the first letter in the word) on the gameboard. If they do so successfully, they score points, depending on the position of the word on the board (for instance, if the word was on line 2, and the first letter in it was in position 7, that would be 9 points [2+7]).
Midway through the elimination round, a bell sounds, and the two teams switch places; the partners who found the lines that the words were located in in the first round now find the answer and the position, and vice-versa. When time is up at the end of the second half, the team who is ahead wins and moves on to the qualifying round.
"The Qualifying Round"
In this round, the two members of the winning team played against each other. A clue was read (ex.: "Never worn out") and letters in the word are revealed one at a time. The letters continue to be revealed until one player correctly guesses the word (in this case, "underwear"), or the next-to-last letter in the word is revealed; in that case, the correct answer is revealed, no one scores, and they move on to the next word. Each of the words that follow may contain a part of the last word (the word after "underwear" could be "argument," after "argument" could be "entertain", and so on)
The first player to identify four words recieves a prize package valued at about $1500 (starting with week 3) and moves on to the championship round.
"The Championship Round"
In this round, the winner of the qualifying round plays against the previous day's champion. The big board from the elimination round is brought back; the round is played the same way as the elimination round, except that since there are only two players, each player must find the line, the word, and its position.
The player who is ahead when time is up wins the game and moves on to the "Solo Round."
"The Solo Round"
The winning player has sixty seconds to try to find the answers to general-knowledge questions on another board; when s/he locates a word, s/he "circles" it with an electronic pen (much like those used by TV football commentators). The player is allowed to pass on a question; however, s/he must return to it once s/he has found the other words. Each correct answer is worth $100 apiece, and if the player found all ten words in the allotted time, s/he won the money in the bank, which began at $5,000 and increased by $1,000 each day that it remained unclaimed.
Contestants on the 70s version were allowed to return until they were defeated or won the "Solo Round," whichever came first.
NOTES ON GAMEPLAY:
For a time on the 70s version, a feature known as the "bonus answer" was used. Before the start of each half of the Elimination Round and the Championship Round, each player was given 3 seconds to study the gameboard. They then wrote down an answer they thought would come up during the round, and if their teammate was able to identify it, they received a bonus of 10 points in addition to the points they scored for that word.
In early 1975, the format underwent a MAJOR overhaul. First of all, the teammates and Elimination Round were dropped, and each game now began with a Qualifying Round between two new players; the first player to identify 5 words (not 4, as had previously been the case) won the prize package and moved on to the Championship Round. After one player in the Championship Round scored 50 points, the point values doubled for the remainder of the round, and the first player to score 100 points won the game and went on to play the Solo Round.
(NOTE: If a player won the "Solo Round", the player s/he had defeated in the "Championship Round" that day became the designated champion on the next show)
Time was no longer a factor in gameplay; the games were now straddled (that is, a show could end in the middle of a game and be continued on the next show)
"The Qualifying Round"
This round was played between two new players, and was played the same as the 70s version, but with a new scoring system. A countdown clock was used; it began at 100 points, and 5 points were deducted for every 1/3 of a second that passed, w/15 points deducted every second (thus the faster you found the answers, the more points were scored). If no one scored once the clock reached 25 points, Chuck would give the line that the correct answer was located on, and the first player to buzz in and identify it got the points. Otherwise, the word was revealed, and no one scored.
Point values doubled for the second half of the round (that is, the "countdown clock" now began at 200 points, with 30 points deducted every second, and the clock ran down to 50), and the first player to score 1000 points moved on to the "Championship Round".
"The Championship Round"
In this round, the winner of the "Qualifying Round" and the previous day's champion tried to find words which fit a specific category.
Here's how it worked: a category was announced (ex.: "Famous Men Named John"), and the board, which contained six possible answers, was revealed. The first player to buzz in and locate a word was then given twenty seconds to find the five remaining words. If s/he did so successfully, s/he won that board and its value; otherwise, his/her opponent was given five seconds to try to find one of the words, and if s/he did so, s/he won the money.
The value of the first category/board was $200, the second was $300, the third was $400, the fourth was $500, and the fifth (if neccessary) was $600. The first player to reach $1000 or more won the money and the round, and went on to play the "Solo Round".
The Solo Round was played the same as on the 70s version; successfully finding all 10 words on the board in less than 60 seconds won the jackpot, which began at $5,000 and increased by that amount each day that it was not won.
On the 1989 version, players were allowed a maximum of five appearances, after which they retired undefeated.
In 1985, a pilot was produced for a possible syndicated revival of the show. Jack Clark hosted, and Gene Wood was the announcer. The intro was the same as on the '89 version (plus the "Now you see him" tagline from the 70s intro), and gameplay for the maingame was COMPLETELY different from the other two versions. Two teams played for the entire game; here's how it worked:
One teammate was shown a word; s/he had to define it as quickly as possible, and after giving the definition, the player slapped a bell and his/her partner then had 15 seconds to find that word on the gameboard; doing so scored points, depending on the amount of time left (i.e. if there were 7 seconds left, the team scored 7 points). Four words were played per team, and then it was on to Round 2.
Jack Clark read a clue to a certain word on the gameboard; the first team to buzz in and identify it recieved 20 points. The first team to score 100 points or more won the game and chose one member to play the "Solo Round"
The Solo Round was played the same way as both the 70s and '89 versions; successfully locating all 10 words on the gameboard in less than 60 seconds won $5,000. If the same team won game 2, they played the Solo Round for a total of $10,000; if the other team won that game, they tried for $5,000.
Two games were played during the show, with both teams competing in both games; the team who won the most money in the Solo Round would become the champions and return on the next show.
Both versions of NYSI are fondly remembered for their great sets, both designed by veteran G-T art director Jim Agazzi:
The 70s version featured a two-level podium, with the challengers on the bottom and the returning champ looking in on the action from the top level (known as the "Champion's Gallery"). When it came time to play the championship round, the champ would join his/her challenger on the bottom level. The 70s version also had the gameboard on a turntable (on the other side was the show's logo)
The set of the '89 version had a cool "space age" look to it (no doubt because of the "night sky" backdrop behind the set). It contained three different levels for each round, w/each individual area being covered by a lit neon circle; when it came time to play a certain round, that circle would rise up, and pop back down again once the round was completed.
Both versions of NYSI also had the classic theme song in "Chump Change"; this Quincy Jones composition is considered one of the best and funkiest themes of all time. However, for a short time early in the run of the 70s version, a different theme song (written by Score Productions) was tried, but only lasted a short time in that capacity (although "Chump Change" was still used for the opening sequence during that time), though it continued to be retained as a commercial cue for the remainder of the 70s run, and was later used as the main theme for both the UK and Australian versions.
Mark Driscoll, the original announcer on the 1989 version, is a well-known Los Angeles DJ.
Concurrent w/his stint on NYSI '89, Chuck Henry also worked as a news anchor/reporter for KABC, a position he held until 1993. The following year, he moved to KNBC, where he served as longtime anchor/reporter for their 6:00 and 11:00 newscasts, in addition to hosting and producing the station's Emmy award-winning travel/food series "Travel Cafe".
Reruns of the 70s version aired on GSN from their 1994 launch until late 1997, and again in the late 2000s, then were picked up by Buzzr in 2016, which carries NYSI on weekends to this day. Although it was thought for years that Chuck Henry refused to allow reruns of his version to air on GSN, it was later revealed that the network simply had no interest in doing so.