Blockbusters '87 Logo
Blockbusters '87 Copyright
NBC Daytime, January 5, 1987 – May 1, 1987
Run time
30 Minutes
Bill Rafferty
Rich Jeffries
NBC Studios 3 and 4, Burbank, California

This is chronicling the short-lived 1987 version of Blockbusters. In this version, it had two solo players competing against each other instead of a solo player vs. a family pair.

Game FormatEdit

Two solo players competed in this version. The champion represented white while the challenger represented red.

Main GameEdit

A 4x5 board of 20 hexagons is presented with a letter in each hexagon. A letter is chosen at random to start a game. The answer of the question would begin with the letter chosen. For example, if the letter B were chosen, a sample question might be: "What 'B' is a long silver rod twirled by a majorette or cheerleader?", in which case the correct answer would be "Baton". The player who buzzes in first gets a chance to answer the question. If correct, the space is marked with their color. If they are incorrect, the second player/pair gets a chance to answer (should the solo player miss, only one half of the family pair could answer, with conference). If nobody answers correctly, another question is asked whose answer began with that same letter.

The game was best two-out-of-three, with the advantage alternating between players in the first two games. In game one, the challenger would have to connect from top to bottom (red to red), which can be done in as little as 4 correct answers and that gives that player the advantage. The champion would have to connect from side to side (white to white) in as little as 5 moves and that gives that player a disadvantage. In game two, the champion would have to connect from side to side (red to red), which can be done in as little as 5 correct answers and that gives that player the advantage. The challenger would have to connect from top to bottom (white to white) in as little as 4 moves and that gives that player a disadvantage. On questions in which somebody would win the game on the hexagon that would cause either side to make the connection, Bill Rafferty referred to this situation as a "dual implication". If a tie is achieved, a 4x4 tiebreaker board is used and either player could win in as few as four moves (white still went from left to right, and red still went top to bottom). Each game was worth $100 and winning the match won a total of $200 and went on the the Gold Run.

Gold RunEdit

The player has to connect from side to side (gold to gold) in 60 seconds or less. The difference here was that many of the hexagons had multiple letters on them (1 to 5 letters), and naturally, they represented an answer of more than one word (eg: "BS", What people kiss in Ireland: Blarney Stone). Correct answers mark the chosen hexagons gold, but wrong answers or passes put up blocks and the player must work around them. If the contestant makes the connection, he/she wins $5,000. If time expires, the player gets $100 for every captured hexagon. If he/she gets blocked out, the contestant could still continue and try to build up the consolation prize of $100 for every correct answer until time ran out. Towards the end of the run, players who win the Gold Run won an accumulating jackpot that started at $5,000 and increased by that amount for each unsuccessful attempt. The jackpot reset to $5,000 each time a new champion was crowned. Either way, win or lose, Bill would go over any missed and/or passed questions, and another match would begin.



This was Bill Rafferty's last game show. Additionally, this was also Rafferty second and final Goodson-created game show, his first was the short-lived 1986-87 syndicated version of Card Sharks.

In the short-lived four-month 1987 run, the board was completely computer generated. The green hexagons which house the letters were bevel-typed, and in the back, the hexagons were blue with diamonds inside, similar to the ones on the set. The advantage of having a computer generated board was that it is now animated; in the opening of the show, the hexagons fly from all directions to form the gameboard, flips over & back (at the time of the show's logo showing), then comes apart prior to host Bill Rafferty's introduction (a shot of the animation was used in the ticket & contestant plugs); at the start of a game, after the sides come in, the hexagons fly in from the sides to form the board after which the letters pop in one by one; later shows starting in March (excluding the Gold Run) had them flip zoom in; starting in February, they flip zoom out (minus the captured hexagons) when the game was over. While the home viewers saw the board on their TV sets, the contestants saw the board on a small TV monitor housed inside a giant neon blue hexagon which during the closing credits did a light show; it spun around and later wiped in (both two triangles at a time). On certain shows after the credits, while it is still wiping in light-wise, the neon hexagon zoomed out to re-reveal the set which by that point went dark save for a few spotlights and the set logo which continuously lights up a letter at a time just like the 1980 series logo during the closing. On one episode, when the game quickly went from a Gold Run to a new match with no commercial interruption, viewers could see the small TV monitor reveal itself as the Game 1 board flew in.

Upon a game win, the camera would zoom-in to player who won.

Four months later, this version was replaced by another Goodson created game show Classic Concentration hosted by Alex Trebek and ran from May 4, 1987 until September 20, 1991 (along with its repeats lasting until December 31, 1993).


GSN once had their own online interactive version of Blockbusters where you were allowed to play along with the show on their website.



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Episode StatusEdit

Main Article: Blockbusters (1987)/Episode Guide

This series exists in its entirety, and has aired on GSN at various times in the past.


Blockbusters (revised) 1987 NBC Debut

Blockbusters (revised) 1987 NBC Debut

Blockbusters - February 16, 1987

Blockbusters - February 16, 1987

Blockbusters - March 18, 1987 (Joanie vs

Blockbusters - March 18, 1987 (Joanie vs. Jeryl)

Blockbusters - April 1, 1987

Blockbusters - April 1, 1987

Blockbusters Finale (Rafferty) 5 1 87 (OB)

Blockbusters Finale (Rafferty) 5 1 87 (OB)

Wink's Game Show Bloopers - Episode 1

Wink's Game Show Bloopers - Episode 1

Remembering Bill Rafferty

Remembering Bill Rafferty

See AlsoEdit

Blockbusters (1980)


Blockbusters (Rafferty) @ Game Show Galaxy (via Internet Archive)
Blockbusters (Rafferty) @ Jay Anton
Blockbusters with Bill Rafferty fan-site
Blockbusters '87 @ Classic Game (via Internet Archive)