The phrase trump card initially had no association withDonald Trumps family name.
The term trump originated around the 16th century as a term for success, or alternative to triumph.It wasnt until the 1990sthat the real estate mogul associated the phrase trump cardwith his growing brand.
In a chance (and completely unrelatable) moment, Trump happened to be riding in a helicopter with an exec from TV production company Lorimar sometime in the late 1980s. This exec pitched a game show with Trump.
It would become Trump Card a short-lived game show filmed inside the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City,New Jersey.
At the time, it seemed like a great idea, apparently. Warner Brothers got on board for distribution and the Associated Press quoted the Lorimar exec, Dick Robertson,as sayi: This idea stopped us in our tracks … Its the best single new idea wed seen in years.
In any case, with all this excitement, the teams behind this show decided to make a play for the coveted programming space of 7 or 7:30 p.m., called access.
The Huffington Post came across an advertisement for Trump Card thats eerily reminiscent of Trumps campaign for president, if you switch the term access for the presidency.
Heres the two-page ad:
Hmm …hopefully its not America.
For easier reading, heres the text from the second page:
This time of year you get pitched by lots of people promising an instant fix in access. But, deep in your heart, you know that to come out on top you need a lot more than a new idea and a promise of prosperity. You need a show that will compensate for the trials of first-run syndication.
That show is Trump Card. No other strip has its magnetic power. Not a one! Because no other show has the power of Donald Trumps name to pull viewers to the set. Nor does any pilot have the prime time feel that comes with taping in the billion dollar Atlantic City Trump Castle. And Trump Card has already been proven in the trenches. Like many long-running hits of American TV such as Threes Company, All in the Family and Sanford and Sun, our access strip is based on a format that has been a hit in England for over six years.
Next fall, dont put a new strip into play with insufficient assets. Get Trump on your side of the deal and youll be in the #1 position to take over access.
Heres a clip of Trumps cameo in the shows premiere episode:
Articles from the time seem suspiciously similar to this advertisement. The Chicago Tribune started a piece about the show with the line, Hes a casino. Hes an airline. Hes a tower and a yacht. Now Donald Trump is a TV game show.
Newsday reported on a conference held by Trump where they summarized his words: Donald Trump said he expects the new Trump Card game show to trade on the renown of his casinos, real estate, air shuttle, yacht and book.
The Associated Press quoted Trump: I think it will be tremendously successful. Were trading on the glamour of the Trump Castle, the Trump Princess [his yacht] … The Trump name has never been hotter.
The lesson here? Just keep listing your best physical possessions until the country makes you president.
In any case, Trump Card crashed and burned fairly quickly. It taped one season and that was that.
To learn more about short-lived gameshow, check out The A.V. Clubs piece on it, too.