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Title: Pick-A-Box  
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Subject: 1971 in Australia, 1957 in Australia, Logie Awards of 1966
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Pick a Box
Genre Game show
Presented by Bob Dyer
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 900 (approx.)[1]
Location(s) ATN-7 studios, Sydney
Running time 25 minutes
Original channel Seven Network
Original run 2 March 1957 – 28 June 1971
Followed by Ford Superquiz
(1981 – 1982)

Pick a Box was one of first game shows to be broadcast on Australian television. Hosted by the husband and wife team Bob and Dolly Dyer, the program aired from 1957 to 1971.


Beginning initially as a radio program in 1948 on Sydney's 2GB, the program successfully made the move to the new medium. The show debuted at 8:00 pm on Saturday 2 March 1957, less than six months after television was launched in Australia.

The program was filmed in the studios of Sydney's ATN-7 and was broadcast ATN-7 and Melbourne's GTV-9, which were initially affiliated. This changed, however, when Frank Packer, owner of TCN-9, bought a controlling share in GTV-9 and formed the National Television Network, which later became the Nine Network. As a result, ATN-7 and HSV-7 later came together to form the Australian Television Network, now known as the Seven Network.[2] The affiliation changes meant that Pick a Box became part of the newly formed network.

The program was initially broadcast on Saturday nights and sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive. Three years later, on 4 July 1960, the show was moved to Monday nights at 7:00 pm and was sponsored by BP.[3]

Bob Dyer, who produced and packaged the show for the Seven Network, decided in 1969 that it was time to start thinking about ending the show. After approximately 900 episodes, Pick a Box broadcast its final episode on 28 June 1971.[4] As they owned the program, the Dyers then reviewed most of the archived episodes - kept a few as souvenirs and discarded most of them. The couple then retired to Queensland where Bob pursued his other great love, fishing.[1]


The format for each episode consisted of two contestants participating in a five-question trivia quiz, with the second contestant wearing sound-proof headphones while the first was being questioned. The contestant who correctly answered the most questions, was invited to choose from one of a number of boxes. Without disclosing the box's contents (which could be either valuable or a booby prize), Dyer would offer the contestant a cash payment in lieu of the prize. Here appears one of the program's catch phrases, "The money or the box?"

To increase the risk/suspense, he would sometimes offer increasing amounts of cash to contestants who chose the box. After receiving the cash or prize, contestants had the option of leaving the show undefeated, or returning to play for more prizes, at the risk of losing those already won.[5]

This format remained largely unchanged throughout its entire run.

Famous contestants

The first contestant to make a name for himself was Ken Eccleston. Eccleston gained instant fame over 10 weeks in 1958 when he achieved what was then the longest win on the program. After claiming the official title of "Mr Pick a Box" during a closely fought contest with Melbourne entrant George Morris, Eccleston retired from the game with a total of AU£3873/5/-.[6]

Two other famous contestants were Frank Partridge, the last Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross in World War II, and George Black, who went on to become a question writer for the show.[7]

However, by far the program's most successful contestant was Barry Jones, who won a total of 208 episodes spanning eight years between 1960 and 1967, and won over A$58,000. Jones later went on to become a member of the Parliament of Victoria and later of the Federal Parliament, a minister in the Hawke government, President of the Australian Labor Party, and chosen as an Australian Living Treasure.

Pick a Box was added to the australianscreen online.

Episode status

Out of the 900+ episodes made, about 60+ are stored at the National Film and Sound Archive, including the final episode, according to a search of the archive's website.

See also


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • at
  • australianscreen online
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