Close calls...narrow escapes...split-second decisions...and $25,000 in cash! A combination guaranteed to make you say...
"Whew!" was a game show that was probably a little bit ahead of its time. Hosted by Tom Kennedy, with announcer Rod Roddy, it aired on CBS at 10:30 A.M. Eastern time from April 23, 1979, to May 30, 1980.
The main part of the game was played on a board consisting of five levels of five boxes each, with dollar values ascending from $10 to $50, and a sixth level on the top with three boxes, worth $200, $350, and $500. Two contestants competed, one designated as the charger and the other as the blocker.
At the beginning of each game, the charger was sent offstage, and the blocker chose six of the 28 boxes on which to put blocks (up to a maximum of three per level on the bottom five, and only one was allowed on the top row). After coming back onstage, the charger had 60 seconds to answer one question in each of the six levels. Picking a box with a block in it resulted in a 5-second penalty. At any point, the charger could call for a "longshot," which stopped the clock. The blocker then placed a block (or another block) on level six, and the charger then had one chance to first pick a box on level six without a block behind it, and then answer one question correctly for an automatic win.
The questions used on "Whew!" were called bloopers. They were factual statements containing an intentional error, displayed on a video monitor in the main game with the error underlined (e.g., "Vivien Leigh starred in the movie 'Gone with the Rain'"), and the contestants merely had to say the correct word or phrase with which the underlined portion should be replaced.
It took two wins to go on to the bonus round; the charger and blocker switched roles after each game.
The bonus round was officially called the Gauntlet of Villains, and playing it was called running the gauntlet. 10 cardboard cutouts of monsters, pirates, landlords, and other villainous types, all with video monitors built into their chests, stood in a line. The contestant had a base time of 60 seconds, plus 1 second for every $100 they won in the main game, to get past all 10 villains by solving bloopers read by the host before the correct answer appeared in each villain's monitor, after about 2 seconds. Each correct answer was worth $100, and the grand prize for getting past all 10 was $25,000.
Beginning November 5, 1979, the contestants gained celebrity partners and the show was renamed "Celebrity Whew!" The celebrities handled the second and fourth rows in the main game and half of the villains in the bonus round.