Global Television Network/Barry & Enright Productions/Wink Martindale Enterprises/USA Network
Bumper Stumpers is the Canadian game show where two teams of two solve vanity license plate puzzles known as "Bumper Stumpers". Champions stand at the blue podium and the challengers stand at the red podium.
The object of the game was to solve the "Super Stumper", a special license plate with seven blank spaces. At the start of each game, the Super Stumper was revealed in the center monitor of a seven monitored game board. Host Al read a clue (which was always someone or something the plate(s) belong to) to the puzzle, and then the first blank was revealed.
To reveal another space, the teams must win a series of jump-in rounds. On each jump-in, two plates were revealed in the top two monitors, and a clue to one of those plates was read. The first player on either team to buzz in chose which of the two plates the clue belongs to, either the left or the right. A correct answer gave his/her partner ten seconds to solve the plate (originally a choice to either let the partner play or challenge the opposing team), but an incorrect answer gave ten seconds of solving time to the opposing team. In either case, solving the plate won a chance to solve the Super Stumper, but failure to solve the plate gave the opponents ten seconds to solve it. If nobody solved it, another jump-in was played. In later episodes, a green light in between the top two monitors was lit, to indicate that was time to buzz in; the light was not lit and the buzzers didn't work until after the clue was read.
The winners of each jump-in chose which space to reveal another character. Then they had five seconds to solve it. Solving the Super Stumper won the game; otherwise another jump-in was played. If the team failed to solve the Super Stumper when all seven spaces were revealed, the opposing team got a chance to solve it. Originally, if the opposing team wasn't able to solve it, a brand new game with a brand new Super Stumper was played; in later episodes the game shifted to a speed round with a brand new Super Stumper. Starting with the team who won the last jump-in, teams alternated turns picking spaces until one of the teams solved the Super Stumper.
The first team to win a best two-out-of-three game match won $1,000. Originally the team only had to win one game and doing so won $500, plus $500 for each game not won, and losing two games eliminated the losing team from the show. In either case, the winning team went on to the bonus round for more cash.
There were three bonus games used throughout the series.
Bonus Round #1Edit
The bonus round was split into two halves. In the first half, the winning team had 30 seconds to solve seven stumpers. Each correct solve increased the odds of winning the bonus round, and solving all seven plates won $2,000. However, not solving any of the stumpers ended the bonus game right away.
In the second half, the winning team played a game called "The Final Stumper" where the seven gameboard monitors spelled out the word "Stumper" (S-T-U-M-P-E-R). There were two versions of the Final Stumper.
Final Stumper #1Edit
Behind the letters in "STUMPER" were money amounts ranging from $100-$500 and stop signs. $500 always went first, with the lower moneys added for each subsequent solve, starting at $100, and ending with the second $500 space. The number of stop signs were determined by how many stumpers were missed in the first half. The winning team picked off letters and whatever money amounts revealed were theirs. Reaching $500 or more doubled the money, but hitting a stop sign ended the bonus game; however, unlike most Barry & Enright shows using this type of bonus format, any money earned was theirs to keep.
Final Stumper #2Edit
At the same time the main game switched to a two-out-of-three format, the Final Stumper was altered a little. Though the first half was the same, a square marked "WIN" was now added to the money amounts. "WIN" always went first with the money amounts added in descending order. Plus, finding a stop sign now lost any money won up to that point, but the winning team always got an option to stop and keep the money after each amount. Reaching $1,000 or more or finding the "WIN" square was worth $2,000.
Bonus Round #2Edit
In this bonus, the winning team was now shown up to five plates: the goal was to solve four of the five plates; doing so won $200, but solving fewer than four plates ended the round. In addition to the $200, the winning team also had a chance to solve three more plates. The winning team had seven seconds to solve each plate; solving each plate doubled the cash for a maximum of $1,600. Failure to solve any plate lost the money, which was why the team had an option to stop and keep the money before each plate.
Bonus Round #3Edit
In the final bonus game of the series, one member of the winning team was isolated offstage, while the other had 30 seconds to solve up to five stumpers but without clues to the stumpers. Each one was a clue to a puzzle, and for each one solved, the team won $100. When time was up, the plate solving player had a decision to make; he/she can either let the isolated player solve the puzzle with the clue stumpers solved for triple value or keep whatever they won. The unsolved clue stumpers were blanked out at that time. Whatever the decision, the isolated player was brought back out to solve the puzzle. When taking the risk, if the puzzle solving player successfully solved the puzzle in 10 seconds, the team won triple the cash for a maximum total of $1,500, but an incorrect solve or expiration of time lost the money.
Whatever the outcome & whatever the bonus round, the winning team got to face another (or the same) team afterwards. Winning teams retired from the show after winning five matches. Originally, they could win up to ten games, and left after losing twice.
Tournament of ChampionsEdit
During the show's final two weeks in December 1990, a "Tournament of Champions" was held, with 16 undefeated teams returning to compete. The winning team received an additional $10,000, while $5,000 was awarded to the runners-up.
Creator Wink Martindale and his wife Sandy named some of their pets after Wink's shows. He named one of them "Gambit" due to his time on Gambit; when Bumper Stumpers came to town, he named his two other dogs, "Bumper" and "Miss Stumper".
While still announcing the show, the show's announcer Ken Ryan found time to voice the Federal Agent turned chief, Baldwin P. "Bulletproof" Vess in the short-lived animated series C.O.P.S.
The name tags for the contestants were blue and pink.
A time's up buzzer didn't sound when a team failed to solve the jump-in puzzle and the Super Stumper on the first two shows. A ding was put in its place.
The time's up buzzer was the same one used for the game show Pyramid hosted by Dick Clark.
When Bumper Stumpers was rerun on Game Show Network, the Columbia TriStar Television Logo was used.
When Bumper Stumpers was rerun on Game TV, the logo was Sony Pictures Television.