Mark Goodson Wiki
NBC Daytime: January 8, 1979 - March 26, 1982
Number of episodes
801 (1 Unaired)
Run time
30 Minutes
Allen Ludden (January 8, 1979 - October 27, 1980)
Bill Cullen (substitute host: April 14, 1980 - May 12, 1980)
Tom Kennedy (October 28, 1980 - March 26, 1982)
Gene Wood
Rich Jeffries
Johnny Olson
NBC Studio 3, Burbank, California

This is chronicling the 1979-82 revival of Password titled Password Plus

Game format[]

Main Game[]

Password Plus followed the same general format as Password in which two teams, each consisting of a celebrity guest and a studio contestant, competed against each other by guessing mystery words ("passwords") by way of one-word clues given by their partners. However, now the object of Password Plus was for teams to solve a series of puzzles called "Password Puzzles" (see below), and they got the clues to those puzzles by playing traditional Password. Just like on Password, the goal was for one member of each team to get their partner to guess a password by using a one-word clue, and ONLY a one-word clue (passwords, however, could be more than one word). If a player gave an illegal clue (ex: a hyphenated word, a made-up word, a two-word clue, an abbreviated acronym, a form of the word, or the word itself) or used noticeable hand/body gestures during their turn, their partner lost their chance to guess the word. On April 23, 1979, a new rule was added in which direct opposites were no longer allowed as clues (ex: "hot" for "cold," "up" for "down," "marriage" for "divorced," "in" for "out," "man" for "woman," "over" for "under," "actor" for "actress," etc.). Both teams alternated in giving clues for a password until it was correctly guessed or until neither team could guess the word. Cluegivers on each team were originally allowed to give three clues to their partner, but this was decreased to two clues per team effective June 15, 1979. The celebrities acted as the cluegivers in the first puzzle, the contestants in the second puzzle, and so on in alternating order until one team won the game.

Like the ABC series of Password, the first clue-giver for each password on Password Plus had the option to give the first clue or pass to the other team. Originally, this option alternated between teams per password, but from August 15, 1979 onward, the team that got the previous password had the option on the next one. Before the "no opposites" rule was enforced, if a cluegiver took too long deciding whether to pass or play, or if he/she decided to play and failed to give a clue in time, then the cluegiver on the opposing time got to give to two clues to their partner. However, after the "no opposites" rule was enforced, this two-clue penalty was extended to any time a cluegiver failed to give a clue in time.

Password Puzzle[]

As mentioned above, the new feature of Password Plus was the "Password Puzzle." Each of these puzzles contained five passwords acting as clues to the solution, which was always either a person, a place, or a thing. Whenever the receiver on either team guessed a password in the puzzle, he/she then got a chance to solve it. If neither receiver could guess the word, then it was added to the puzzle board and nobody got to solve the puzzle. If a puzzle had not been solved after the fourth password was revealed, then what happened was that for if the receiver who guessed the fifth password could not solve the puzzle after the word had been revealed on the puzzle board, their partner (the cluegiver) was given a chance to solve it. If the cluegiver couldn't solve it or if neither receiver guessed the fifth password, the solution was revealed, the puzzle was thrown out, and a new puzzle was played in its place. The puzzle was also thrown out if the solution was accidentally revealed.

Each puzzle was worth money to the contestant partner of the team that solved the puzzle. From the premiere until October 1981, it took $300 or more to win the game, the first two puzzles were worth $100, and the following two were worth $200 (the maximum a team could score was $400). From November 1981 until the series finale, the winning limit was increased to $500, so now the first three puzzles were worth $100 and the remaining ones worth $200 thereafter (the maximum a team could score was $600). Also during this time period, the contestants changed celebrity partners after the third $100, a move that was referred to by Tom Kennedy as the "crossover," a feature that occurred on Password after the first Lightning Round of each episode (originally on Password Plus, a contestant switched celebrity partners after playing Alphabetics).


The winning team played the Alphabetics bonus round for a cash jackpot, which was akin to Password's Lightning Round: the celebrity had 60 seconds to describe a series of passwords to their contestant partner using only one-word clues. However, in Alphabetics, the celebrity had to describe ten passwords to their contestant partner, all of which were arranged in alphabetical order (hence the name Alphabetics). These ten passwords were displayed on a board behind their contestant partner's head, and each password was revealed to the celebrity one at a time in alphabetical order; he/she could see only the current password until he/she either passed on it or their contestant partner guessed it (if the celebrity passed on a word, he/she can come back to it if there was time left on the clock). The celebrity could use multiple words to form a sentence, but had to pause distinctly after each word. When the "no opposites" rule was enforced in the regular game, this was enforced in Alphabetics as well. The contestant partner won $100 for every password he/she got right, and the entire jackpot for guessing all ten before time expired.

From the series premiere until October 1981, the grand prize in Alphabetics was $5,000 each time out, with $1,000 deducted for each illegal clue (this penalty was increased to $2,500 for a brief period in late 1981). From November 1981 until the series finale, Alphabetics was played for a cash jackpot that started at $5,000 and increased by that much each time it was not won (the maximum amount it could grow to was $50,000, while the highest jackpot ever won was $35,000). Contestants remained on the show until they were defeated or until they won seven games in a row, whichever came first; a contestant who won seven games in a row was retired as an undefeated champion.



The show was originally going to be called Password '79.
Former panelist Regis Philbin would later become host of the short-lived CBS primetime game show Million Dollar Password from 2008 until 2009.
The Main gameplay element would later be inspired for the unsold 1986 Mark Goodson produced game show pilot On a Roll hosted by David Sparks.

From the series premiere until partway through Allen Ludden's return in 1980, the show's introduction featured the celebrities names separated by an addition sign.
During Password Plus's first seven weeks on the air, the Alphabetics board was suspended from the ceiling in front of the show's entrance area. However, contestants and celebrities alike kept hitting their heads on it and it also blocked the show's logo that closed the entrance. So on February 26, 1979, the Alphabetics board was more conveniently placed on a wall behind a set of moving doors that slid open and closed at the beginning and ending of each Alphabetics round. Allen Ludden referred to this new wall as the "Alphabetics Wall."


Main Article: Password Plus/Merchandise


Main Article: Password Plus/Photos

Episode Status[]

See Also: Password Plus/Episode Guide

This series exists in its entirety, and repeats have aired on GSN at various times. Only the July 4, 1980 episode has aired on Buzzr in the past, and was the first episode of the show to air on Buzzr.


Password Plus @ Game Show Galaxy (via Internet Archive)
Password Plus @ Jay Anton
Password Plus (Cullen/Kennedy) @ Jay Anton
Password Plus (Cullen) @ Game Show Utopia

See Also[]

Password (1971)
Super Password
Password (1997 proposed revival)
Million Dollar Password
Subconscious Password
Password (Buzzr)
Password (2016 proposed revival)
Password (2022)



Password Plus "French" Episode Open and Act 1