In 1983, a milestone happened for this show. Barbara Phillips became the first and only person in Daytime history to win all the prizes on the stage and the cash jackpot of $68,000. Jim Perry mentioned that her total was $151,689 which was the highest Daytime television total of that time.
Tim Hollerin of Connecticut was the show's biggest winner. In around mid-1985, he took home cash and other prizes to the value of $166,875. It was at that same time that one of Tim's friends who congratulated him and wildly hugged Summer Bartholomew was indeed former "Saturday Night Live" alum and comedian Kevin Nealon.
Initially, contestants who won the game went to the "Sale of the Century" where they could use their winnings to buy prizes. If the contestant won enough money during their reign, they could buy every prize on stage, plus receive a cash jackpot that started at $50,000 and grew by $1,000 each day not won. Starting in January 1985 (December 1985 on the syndication run), to cut costs, the end game was a prize matching game called "The Winner's Board", where the contestant won whatever prize they ended up matching on a game board. Once the contestant has cleared the whole board (which would take 10 days) would have one final decision: Keep the cash and prizes or risk it all and win one more game. If successful, the contestant keeps the cash and prizes and wins a $50,000 jackpot bonus, but if lost, the contestant forfeits all earned endgame prizes. During the 1987-1988 season, the bonus round was changed once again to the "Winner's Big Money Game", with contestants having to solve four (originally five) puzzles from the clues Jim Perry would read to them. Payoffs for winning the round began at $5,000 on the champ's first day and increased through $10,000 on the sixth day. The seventh attempt was worth a new car, and if it was won, the contestant was allowed to return for an eight day, where winning the endgame was worth $50,000.
Was one of three game shows to premier that day on NBC. Out of the three that premiered, it was the only one that lasted beyond the initial thirteen week period. That day also was the day that the popular pricing game "Plinko" premiered on the "The Price is Right."
The Fame Game board started out using pictures of famous actors, actresses, and TV stars, hence the game's name. Eventually it was changed to being numbered 1-9 (possibly to save time in having to tell everyone who was who). The game was changed further when each money card was revealed one by one by Summer Bartholomew and flashing lights would bounce randomly and the contestant who had control had to hit his/her buzzer to try to hit one of them.
If a new champion didn't make enough cash in the main game to buy the cheapest prize in the shopping round, (s)he was offered the opportunity to buy it with what (s)he had won, but only for the first trip there. Afterwards, if the contestant did not win enough for the next prize up, (s)he had to decide on the lowest prize again.
The third Instant Bargain became an "Instant Cash" round later in the show's run. The player in the lead could go have a chance at a cash jackpot that started at $1000 and increased by $1000 every time it either was not picked or no one went for it. It often was not gone for due to the fact if one player was in the lead, the cost to go for it was the full amount of that person's lead, and you had to pick between three boxes (the other two had $100 in it). However, if two or all three players were in the lead, Jim made the cost to go for it more reasonable, and often someone would jump at the chance.