Tic Tac Dough

1978-1986 syndicated
Host: Wink Martindale, Jim Caldwell
Announcers: Jay Stewart, Johnny Gilbert, Charlie O'Donnell

Premise: Players answer general knowledge questions to win money and prizes.
The game begins with Wink presenting the nine categories on the gameboard. A sample board from 1984 might look like this:


Prior to 1980, all categories were general knowledge on blue backgrounds. Later, special categories were added, bit by bit. The champion chose a category from the board, and was asked a question from that category. If the player is correct, an X or O in the box, and the opponent went took a turn. Each box claimed added money to the pot that the winner of the game would claim. Outside boxes were worth $200, and the center box was worth $300. The center box questions were generally tougher, and required a two-part answer. After the O player's turn, the categories shuffled. Later, this changed to the categories shuffling after each turn.

Whoever got tic-tac-toe won the game, and all the money in the pot. If the game ended in a tie, the money in the pot carried over to a new game, with a fresh board of categories. The loser of a tie game would win $250 for each tie game that the loser lasted. Occasionally, the champion would win the game before the opponent ever got to pick a box (the game board would have to have the Bonus Category, and possibly the Double or Nothing one as well). If that happened, the champion was credited with a win just like normal, but the challenger got to come back for a new match after the bonus round finished up.

Here's a list of Red Box Categories.

The Bonus Game
The champion would now join Wink at stage left next to the giant game board to play the bonus game against the mascot villain, the Dragon. The champ could win $1,000 in cash as well as a prize package, usually consisting of three or four prizes, one of which was worth a few thousand dollars. All the champ had to do was collect $1,000 or find TIC and TAC before finding the Dragon to win it all.

The game board now had the numbers one through nine covering each square. Each number hid one of the following: TIC, TAC, $100, $150, $250, $300, $400, $500 and the Dragon.
The champ would call a number, and the contents were revealed. If the contestant had not yet found the Dragon, he or she could opt to keep the money and play a new game, forgoing the prize package, or press on, trying to win it all, but risking finding the Dragon. This continued until $1,000 or more was found, the player got TIC and TAC, the player quit (almost no one bothered to bail early) or the Dragon was found.

If the player didn't win the bonus game, the prize package would be up for grabs during the next bonus game.

As was the standard for Barry and Enright game shows, five-time champions won a brand new car. Champions could stay on the program until defeated, making minor celebrities out of at least one champ.

The $50,000 Tournament of Champions

In 1983, Tic Tac Dough invited back eight of its biggest winners ($1,249,000) to play in a tournament bracket to win money for their favorite charities.

Gameplay was just like that of the early shows: no red categories. Players who lost in the first two rounds played against the dragon for $5,000 in cash for the charity. The two finalists played a best of three match: runner up received $25,000 and the winner $50,000 for the charities.

Thom McKee: One of the most successful contestants in game show history. He blew through the contestant exam and knocked off a champion who had won over $100,000. Over the course of three months, Thom won game after game, including a five-tie game that had reached $36,800 because of the Secret Category), and toppled every record for winnings in the book. Promotions for the 1981 season of Tic Tac Dough featured Thom and his $229,600, prompting viewers to find out if he could win $250,000 or more. After 44 wins, eight cars and $312,700 in cash and prizes, Thom lost his crown to Erik Kraepelien, who won $69,000 for himself (including a $24,300 coup very similar to the one Thom captured). Thom returned for the All-Time Tournament of Champions in 1983, and was dismissed in the Round of Eight after a tie game when he lost on the Seesaw tiebreaker.

Kit Salisbury: The winner of a Contestant Search in Florida, Kit probably would have blown Thom's record of winnings out of the water if not for his awful luck in the bonus game. Several of his wins came from the Bonus Category and Double or Nothing, resulting in wins of $600 and $700. He won over forty games and eight cars, finally winning $199,750 (So close, too!), before losing the game by failing to spell "misspell" correctly. He won more money on the show than anybody but Thom McKee. Most fans agree that if the two were to play against each other, Kit would have opened a can o' whupass on Thom.