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June 1st, 2000

Card Sharks

As a young child (age 5 or younger, I believe) I was addicted to game shows. I was the biggest fan of the original Card Sharks (with host Jim Perry) and The Joker’s Wild (with host Jack Barry). The Game Show Network shows episodes of Card Sharks each morning at 8:30, and since I began getting the station in April, I haven’t missed an episode.

You may remember how Card Sharks worked, but in case you need a refresher, here you go:

Two contestants would answer questions along the lines of “We surveyed a 100 working mothers…” The first contestant would guess how many working mothers answered the question a certain way, the second contestant would then guess if the answer was higher or lower. The contestants were encouraged to expound on why they answered the way they did, which was often amusing, especially when they had no clue what they were talking about. Their answer would inevitably begin with, “Well, these days…” Whoever won the question then got “control of the cards.” Each contestant had five giant cards and the goal was to work their way down the row of cards declaring whether each card was higher or lower than the previous. If the player won the question, they could change the base card (generally done when the card was between a 7 and a 10) if they wanted. Each game had up to four questions, with the final question being “sudden death” (the winner of the question either had to call the rest of their cards correctly or pass to their opponent and hope that they didn’t). It was a best of three games, with the third being a tie-breaker with only three cards and up to three questions.

The winner of the best of three games would then go onto the really fun part — the money cards. This involved betting money and going through eight cards in the standard higher-lower fashion. The player began on the first row with $200 and the option to change the first card. They’d call higher/lower three times, betting a minimum of $50 each time. At the end of the first row (or if the person “busted”), the card would then be brought up to the second level. The player would get another $200 and an option to change the card. At that point, they went through three more cards and the final card was brought up to the top row, the “Big Bet,” which required a minimum 50% bet. The contestant could also change the card here. The maximum amount one could win on the money cards was $28,800 and in the three-year run of the original Card Sharks, it only happened once.

I was so addicted to this game as a kid, that I would make houseguests play the game with me anytime they visited. I’m surprised people didn’t slap me with how annoying I must have become. 🙂 I honestly think, though, that I would totally clean up if I were to go on that show today.

A couple years ago, my mom was in some random store in West Chester, PA and found a copy of the old Card Sharks game for the PC (on 3.5″ floppy) for 25 cents. Thankfully she bought it for me — at least I can pretend. 🙂

Interesting facts/links… Markie Post got her start as a card-turner on Card Sharks before she went on to Night Court… Apparently someone’s considering making a new version of Card Sharks titled Play Your Cards Right (ugh!)… there is a shareware version of Card Sharks available for DOS… there’s also one for Macintosh… a couple pages to check out: The Card Sharks page, The Card Sharks Photo Page (all from the Bob Eubanks era, though).

Next time around, I tackle The Joker’s Wild. -ram

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

Chris October 7, 2006, 11:55 pm

Hi Folks,

I just wanted to know if anyone knows the name of Jim Perry’s second self awareness book?

Any info is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


A person December 4, 2006, 8:55 pm

Does anyone know where I can get giant bicicle cards? I love the bycycle brand, and I want them to be at least 11 inches tall.

andrea d. wiener December 11, 2006, 8:19 pm

June — I don’t blame you and Jim for wanting to keep your privacy and all that…Jim had a GREAT career in game shows (I liked him on both Sale of the Century and Card Sharks! Jim’s Card Sharks was the BEST!!).

If I could ask you guys one question, this is what it would probably be: when Jim was “hot” on TV doin all those shows, how did you guys keep a normal relationship?

Thanks for reading this,

Andrea D. Wiener
New York City
(Card Sharks forever!)

Christina Crowe December 28, 2006, 11:50 pm

Hey folks,

Here’s some biography of Jim Perry:


June May 11, 2007, 3:22 pm

Jim and I lived very normal lives in between tapings. We were very into tennis in those days. Our son was a ranked Junior and we had a court at home and used it a lot for our own enjoyment and for playing with friends. We also did a lot of charity tennis tournaments in those days.
Jim only taped about once every two weeks. They’d tape 5 shows in a day, so there was plenty of free time for tennis, seeing friends, short trips, eating out, etc.
Jim was also traveling back and forth to Canada to tape his Canadian shows in those days as well; but again, he only had to go up there about every other week.
We’ve always lived quietly and privately and even more so now in our later years.
I haven’t been back on this site for a few years and I see there were more questions; but don’t have time to read or answer everything (I have a huge garden to plant this year!)
One person asked why Jim didn’t do the new Card Sharks. He couldn’t do it because he was contractually committed to Sale of the Century at that time.
You won’t find Jim’s new book because it hasn’t yet been published. Jim has asked me about putting it up on the Internet but I don’t know how to do that.
Our daughter Erin’s fiancee is a computer programmer, so one of these days we might get his input on how to set that up.
Someone asked about a recent picture of Jim. There’s a picture of Jim with one of our dogs on my Shambhala Pottery blogspot (near the very bottom), but it’s not a closeup. You can see that Jim and I have gone “au natural” and let our hair go to white. I think it looks great on him. 🙂
It’s lovely that so many of you have such fond memories of the shows and Jim’s hosting ability. You’re absolutely right in that he cared very much about the contestants and wanted to make them as comfortable as possible and have them be shown at their best.

Warmests regards,

Chris Kennedy November 12, 2008, 3:15 am

Hello folks,

Today is Jim Perry’s birthday.

June, if you are reading this, if you can pass my message along, that I wish him happy birthday, and he is one of the greats and is a big inspiration for me to host shows. He always made me laugh alot and I liked his warmth. Well Happy Birthday Jim! And may you win at the money cards for a long time.

Thanks folks.

Take care,

Neil September 6, 2010, 12:50 am

This thread has run almost 10 years.
I know this is more about card sharks, however I grew up with $ale of the century, and I’m not sure if June still answers questions on here or not for Jim. And anyone who has knowledge on this could answer.
My question is…
What was the reason for the set change or makeover in the 2nd season of $ale?

I tried looking up info on this and could not find an answer, I kept thinking it was a studio fire or someting major that prompted the set to be replaced with the more golden Two-tone set.

jackie January 28, 2011, 2:12 pm

Jim is a fantastic host! My hubby and i really enjoy the re-runs of card sharks!

Jackie January 28, 2011, 2:15 pm

i recall a time on CARD SHARKS when a woman was introduced and as she answered one of the questions-she said: “being that it is 1978” and Jim had to correct her that it was actually 1979, it was hilarious and the gal said she was still getting over “the party”… she was a riot!

Gary Richard Collins II February 16, 2011, 2:24 pm

June — I heard everything that is true, especially if your husband [Jim] has been doing game shows, he’s been living a private life like you. I tried to ask his daughter about one of my favorite soap operas that I used to watch all the time, which was: Knots Landing, when she wasn’t going to forward the message. Just one of those things. But Jim’s a very wonderful man, very handsome, I enjoyed his work on “Sale of the Century,” even more incredible that I got to see him on “Card Sharks.” I didn’t know your husband was nearly a Pennsylvanian [like his former teammate, Bill Cullen was], yet Jim enjoyed Bill so much, just before he died. Just like Mr. Perry himself, Mr. Cullen was the best of the best, who always gave a darn about the contestants, who gave everybody 1st class. Thank you & be blessed!

Love, Bro. Gary C. II

Sammy Reed October 21, 2019, 10:48 am

As the old commercial said: Today the pits, tomorrow the wrinkles.
Now there are cards you can buy that are 10 1/2 by 14 1/2 inches! Not quite the 1 x 2 foot cards used on “Card Sharks”, but we’re gettin’ there.
Yeah, I know – Amazon. Now we’re ALL used to buying other stuff from them besides just books.

Sammy Reed October 22, 2019, 10:19 am

Here’s a MUCH-shorter address for the same thing.
I’m STILL learnin’ how to do this stuff.

Sammy Reed November 27, 2019, 1:12 pm

I’ve learned some things relating to the size of these cards. First of all, if you made a 200×100 pixel square in a drawing program, that should tell you that those cards couldn’t really be 2 feet by 1 foot. Just too dang high or too dang thin, or both.
By measuring closeups of the cards on YouTube using Print Screen and measuring pixel size, I found that the ratio of height to width of the cards on the show was roughly 1.35:1. Now, the 12×8-inch Colossal Playing Cards are 1.5:1, and the 14.5×10.5-inch cards I got have a ratio of 1.38:1 – closer to the cards on the show.

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