Pitfall (partially found Canadian game show; 1981-1982)

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The show's title card from The Search for Canada's Game Shows documentary.

Status: Partially Found

Pitfall was a Canadian game show that aired in syndication from September 14th, 1981 to April 23rd, 1982. It was hosted by the late Alex Trebek and produced by Catalena Productions and distributed by Rhodes Productions.[1] The show is infamous for being the only show where Alex Trebek wasn't paid for his hosting duties and most of the contestants didn't get their prizes as Catalena Productions went into some financial troubles after their version of Let's Make A Deal (that only aired in Canada) came to an end and they went bankrupt shortly after the show's end in 1982.[2] Although the series continued in reruns for several years thereafter, it last aired in 1986 and to this day, remains mostly lost.


Trebek asks the audience a question and four possible answers are shown. After the audience enters in what they think the correct answer is, two contestants determine which answer got the most votes. If the contestant's guess is correct they get a point. For their first, third and fifth point they get a "Pit Pass" (to use in the end game). If neither contestant select the correct answer, no points will be rewarded. This continues until the bell rings and the contestant with the most points goes on to the Pitfall round.

The Pitfall round starts with the contestant being given a "light show" on the eight elevators behind them (the ones that light up twice are the pitfalls). After that, they must choose which numbers (given how many pit passes they won in the main game) they think is a pitfall. The winning contestant and Trebek take an elevator up to the bridge. The contestant has 100 seconds to make it across the bridge of eight elevators by answering as many correct answers as possible, if they step on a pitfall, they go down and they have to give a correct answer in order to continue. If they answer correctly, the clock stops and the contestant goes back up and they continue to play and the clock resumes where it stopped at. At any point in the game, they have to give Trebek a pit pass that they selected earlier, which allows them to skip an elevator they think is a pitfall. If they make it across in 100 seconds or less, they win a prize package worth more than $5,000 ($2,500 after a small prize was added to the fifth elevator) and they come back on the next show.[3]


After the show's 1982 cancellation, it was seen sporadically in reruns on a number of US stations, while the Global Television Network aired it in Canada through 1986. Home recordings of the show have surfaced online in the years since and some were even used in the 2020 documentary The Search for Canada's Game Shows. Eight episodes were unearthed by the Canadian streaming service Bonus Round.ca on May 12th, 2021, and the description says that most of the episodes were destroyed or misplaced and the episodes on the streaming service were from home recordings.[4]



Documentary on the show.


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