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Author Topic: Cullen Blockbusters boards  (Read 1713 times)

MSTieScott

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Cullen Blockbusters boards
« on: August 22, 2020, 01:34:24 AM »
After watching lots of Cullen Blockbusters and thinking, "Didn't those letters just recently show up in that same configuration?" I began to track the patterns of letters used in the main game. And sure enough, the show uses the same boards over and over again.

It wasn't until this most recent Buzzr run, when the boards started playing in alphabetical order, that I finally noticed that they can easily be identified by the letter in the upper left-hand corner. Exactly one board has an A in that position, exactly one board has a B in that position, et cetera. There appear to be twenty boards, A through T... although in the episodes Buzzr has aired over the past few months, board B has only shown up during the opening and board R hasn't appeared at all.

I remember years ago seeing a clip online where they played a couple of X questions, but I can't find it anymore and Buzzr hasn't aired that episode. Does anybody know what the board layout was when there was an X hexagon? I'm curious whether that was its own special board (board R?) or whether they took an existing board and replaced a different letter with an X.

While I'm here overanalyzing a game show from nearly 40 years ago, here are other statistics about the 19 boards I've seen:
• The boards do not all appear at the same frequency. For whatever reason, board M shows up the most.
• The letters Q, Y, and Z appear on one board apiece.
• U is excluded from six boards. J and V are each excluded from eight boards. K is excluded from nine boards.
• Of the non-super-rare letters, I is excluded the most, being absent from ten boards. When it does appear, it's always along the perimeter, and often in one of the "squished" hexagons that are less likely to be called. As a result, it's surprisingly rare to hear an I question on this show.

WilliamPorygon

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2020, 03:09:11 AM »
The board when they played with the X had J in the upper left, seen at the 13 minute mark in this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fr5LNLnRyQ&t=13m



After digging around a bit, I found the X is replacing a U in an otherwise normal J board.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2020, 03:19:53 AM by WilliamPorygon »

Bob Zager

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2020, 12:55:58 PM »
The Bill Rafferty hosted revival used the same letter arrangements for the 20-hex grid boards.

JakeT

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2020, 07:01:21 PM »
Would it be likely that, because of these set configurations, they also had premade question card trays that would contain those same configurations, making it as simple as removing the entire question tray and replacing it with the next with each game?

JakeT

Clay Zambo

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2020, 08:17:02 PM »
It makes sense to me that they would have organized things in the question stacking such that a particularly easy set didn't make a direct path across the board in either direction, but it never occurred to me that the letters were in a set pattern.
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WhammyPower

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2020, 08:27:54 PM »
Would it be likely that, because of these set configurations, they also had premade question card trays that would contain those same configurations, making it as simple as removing the entire question tray and replacing it with the next with each game?

JakeT
I'm fairly certain the main game questions are arranged alphabetically. The T is not next to the S on this board, and yet Bill pulls a T instead of an S.

https://youtu.be/rtv014nqblQ

MSTieScott

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2020, 08:48:56 PM »
After digging around a bit, I found the X is replacing a U in an otherwise normal J board.

(sees Buzzr bug in screen grab)

I guess I should amend my statement to "Buzzr hasn't aired that episode in the past several months." Thanks for finding that.

(I should also correct myself that board M has been showing up the most in the past 120 episodes. I don't know the stats for the series as a whole.)


The Bill Rafferty hosted revival used the same letter arrangements for the 20-hex grid boards.

It did, although after a while, they altered board A.







(Placing F, C, and K on top of one another in a column? Really?)

Adam Nedeff

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2020, 09:05:26 PM »
Would it be likely that, because of these set configurations, they also had premade question card trays that would contain those same configurations, making it as simple as removing the entire question tray and replacing it with the next with each game?

JakeT
No, this one I can answer for sure from interviewing Robert Sherman. Bill just had a single loaded tray with questions for every letter of the alphabet. Bonus info that you didn't ask for: the staff's greatest concern was that Bill would run out of questions for a given letter for each taping, so they deliberately overprepared. Excluding Gold Run material, Bill had 900 questions in front of him at the start of each five-episode taping session.

I'm starting to wonder if using a finite set of letter grids was a way of not having to deal with potentially embarrassing words showing up.

Veejay7

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2020, 06:46:14 PM »
This is all great.  Thank you for putting it all together

Bob Zager

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2020, 02:02:05 PM »
Excluding Gold Run material, Bill had 900 questions in front of him at the start of each five-episode taping session.

Nine-hundred questions is a lot;  but the home game version (Milton Bradley--1982), used 20 letters, and 50 questions in each letter, for a total of 1,000 questions in the home game!

While on the subject of Blockbusters, I've often wondered why on the original series, the three uppermost hexagons and the two lowermost ones were cropped!

tvmitch

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2020, 11:25:52 AM »
Seriously, this is the kind of quality content I have come to expect from this board. Very interesting stuff. Thank you all for contributing.
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Mr. Matté

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2020, 11:45:49 AM »
It's funny because a few days before this thread was created, I was reading about the UK Blockbusters how they only had about 15 different boards they used and I was thinking along the lines of "those el cheapo British game shows..." Then this thread comes up and we only had them beat by 5 boards. :)

clemon79

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2020, 01:00:35 PM »
I've often wondered why on the original series, the three uppermost hexagons and the two lowermost ones were cropped!

Because the red end zones flew in and out when converting the board for the Gold Run, and mechanical elements are imperfect.
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JasonA1

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2020, 01:40:34 PM »
The red parts were stationary. The white parts gave way to the gold bars underneath, and the (later) $5,000 sign tilted down from the top of the board.

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JakeT

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2020, 06:42:11 PM »
Would it be likely that, because of these set configurations, they also had premade question card trays that would contain those same configurations, making it as simple as removing the entire question tray and replacing it with the next with each game?

JakeT
I'm fairly certain the main game questions are arranged alphabetically.

I guess that would make more sense after all...would be annoying for Bill to have to look at the board to see which cubby to pull the question from...

JakeT