|Merrill Heatter Productions|
OPENING SPIEL: WINK: What does everybody want? AUDIENCE: The Last Word! JENNIFER: And now, ready to play the game where The Last Word is worth everything, our players: (insert two civilian contestants from city, state, and occupation, and their celebrity partners), and now, here are two big/good/great words to get us started, Wink Martindale!
The Last Word was a word game where a group of words share a common bond, and where the last word means everything.
Two teams consisting of a celebrity and a civilian contestant compete to guess a series of words that had something in common in order to win prizes.
To start, three rows of blank squares (indicating how many letters are in each word) were revealed along with three free letters (one in each row). Now the player in control presses a button which causes a yellow square to move around the board. When it landed on an empty square, a letter in that square is revealed and then the player has to decide to either take a guess on any word in any row or pass control to his/her opponent (that player also had the option to guess at the start of a turn); but if the yellow square landed on a square that already has a letter revealed, then the player had to choose which row & square to reveal a free letter in.
When guessing the word, if the team guessed correctly they win that word; but if they guessed wrong, the computer typed in the letters that were correct (up to the first incorrect letter), except for the last letter which remains hidden. The first team to guess the last word in the group of three wins the game. If they had solved only the last word, they won a rather cheap prize; two words won a better prize, and solving all three words and winning the game won the first two prizes & a bonus prize for that game. A game win was signified by a star lit up on the team's podium. A best two-out-of-three match is played with the winning team becoming champion & moving on to the bonus round.
Unlike most celebrity-civilian word games, the arrangement of which people played in each game varied. In the first two games, the celebrity from one team faces off against the civilian player from the other team. In the tie-breaker, both civilian players face off.
When time ran out in the middle of a game, all the words were revealed, and the game had to be restarted at the start of the next show.
In the bonus game, the winning team has 60 seconds solve 10 puzzles. Each puzzle has two words already revealed, they act as clues to the third word which was unrevealed (one letter was given at the outset). Letters in the mystery third word are revealed one at a time in random order, and the last letter is not given. Each correct answer was worth a $100 gift certificate; solving all ten puzzles won a growing jackpot grand prize package (which usually included a trip). Should that not occur, more prizes were added until won.
After the bonus round, both players switch celebrity partners for each new game, and the first player to win two matches becomes the champion.
The pilot (taped in December 1988) had rules that were the same as the series except with these differences:
- The show was taped in Los Angeles while the series was taped in Canada.
- There was a different hostess named Jana White who worked the computer and the announcer was Burton Richardson.
- Players stopped the square (which was white) with the use of a lever instead of starting the yellow one by hitting a button.
- Words were worth $100 cash.
Michael Camilo for Score Productions