Announcer: It's a 7-letter word. The clue is...experts like to pick them.
Audience: Pockets!
Announcer: It's the crossword game you've played all your life, but never quite like this!
Audience: "Scrabble"!

Premiering on NBC at 11:30 A.M. Eastern time on July 2, 1984, this game show hosted by Chuck Woolery took little more from the board game than its title, the use of tiles, and the pink and blue color scheme.

Two contestants were given a clue to a word, the number of letters, and one of the letters to start with. One of the contestant then picked two numbered tiles, representing letters that were potentially in the word, and dropped them into a slot in front of them. They would then find out which two letters were associated with the chosen tiles, and would pick one of the letters to try to drop into the word. After successfully using both letters, they would pick two new tiles. The same contestant kept picking tiles and placing letters until they could guess the word, or until they tried to place a letter that wasn't in the word. That was called a stopper, and play would then pass to their opponent.

Corresponding to the spaces on the real Scrabble board, some of the blanks for the letters in the word were pink or blue, representing bonus money available if a contestant could solve the puzzle immediately after a letter fell into that blank: $500 on blue, and $1,000 on pink. Chuck would leave his podium to count out fake $100 bills for the contestant while the audience counted along.

If the contestants had hit all three stoppers between them, "Speedword" began, meaning the remaining letters were slowly filled in (except for the last letter) until one contestant buzzed in with the answer.

The next word would then build off one of the letters in the previous word. Whichever contestant correctly identified three words won the game; if both contestants were tied at 2, the final word would be played entirely in Speedword.

There were several rule changes affecting the bonus round throughout the run of "Scrabble," but the basic structure was as follows. The returning champion had played the main game against a new contestant, and then another round of the main game was played with two different new contestants. The two winners then competed against each other in the Scrabble Sprint, in which they were competing to see who could guess four words in the shortest length of time.

The first contestant had the choice of playing the words in the pink or blue packet. They would step up to the podium and be reminded by Chuck "no stoppers in any of these words, all the letters are good." He would read the first word and the number of letters, and then the clock would start. Two randomly chosen letters from the word would come up at a time, the contestant would pick one, it would appear in the word, and then two more random letters would show up. As in the main game, the last letter was never filled in. The contestant would hit the giant red plunger in front of them to stop the clock before guessing. An incorrect guess resulted in a 10-second penalty. Chuck would then read the next clue and number of letters before the clock started again.

After the first contestant finished all four words, the second contestant would then play with their set. The clock this time would be counting down from the first contestant's time. (During part of the run, the two contestants used the same set of words, with the second contestant offstage wearing headphones while the first contestant played the Sprint.)

The winner of the Scrabble Sprint was declared the champion and would get to come back tomorrow, but first, they played the bonus round, the Bonus Sprint. This was played like Scrabble Sprint, but with only two words and with the clock ticking down from 10 seconds, only enough time to place one or maybe two letters in each word. The prize for guessing both words increased daily until it was won.

"Scrabble" turned out to be fairly popular, running until March 23, 1990. It was then revived as a companion to "Scattergories," airing from January 18, 1993, until June 11 of that year. Reruns of the original run aired on the USA Network in the early 1990s.

As in the example at the beginning of this writeup, the clues on "Scrabble" encouraged a certain type of lateral thinking. Puns were frequently used, causing Chuck Woolery to groan. The most successful contestants could often figure out the word from the clue, especially in the Bonus Sprint, where doing so was almost a necessity. provided the clue I quoted above, and also reminded me of some of the rules.