Sunday, January 30, 2022

Picture This

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and the original cast album of Flower Drum Song in honor of Lunar New Year on Tuesday. Rogers and Hammerstein's tale of strife between two generations of Chinese immigrants and the bride who comes from China to marry the younger is badly dated today, but does have some good songs. The brassy "I Enjoy Being a Girl," performed here with verve by Pat Suzuki, is this show's major standard. Other lovely tunes include "A Hundred Million Miracles," "You are Beautiful," "Sunday," and "Love, Look Away."

Headed out before the record ended. Between the snow and temperatures that barely got in the 20's, I took Uber to and from work. I got incredibly lucky today. My ride to work was supposed to take 17 minutes to arrive; the one going home was listed as arriving in 19. They both took less than ten. The main roads weren't bad. The real problem was the Acme's parking lot. Salt and ice congealed to form a slick, messy surface that resisted plowing. Customers complained about it all day.

The Acme was off-and-on busy. It's likely that the frigid weather and the mess in the parking lot kept it from being even worse. Big championship games between the Chiefs and the Bengals and the Rams and the 49ers probably cleared folks out, too. Thankfully, it slowed down enough by 5 that I was able to shut down with no relief.

(Incidentally, the Bengals and the Rams are going to the Super Bowl in two weeks. Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24 and the Rams won over the 49ers 20-17.)

Finally got to working on some writing. Patti (Deustch) Dee and Donald (Ross) Dum don't appreciate being stared at like dummies or poked at by Brett's son David. They're not waxworks, you know, and poking isn't polite. Sir Richard explains they're on their way across the Looking Glass Checker Board so Brett can be queen.

It was almost 7:30 before I broke for dinner. Had leftover Italian bean casserole while listening to the soundtrack from Streets of Fire. This extremely 80's hard rock action musical has some great tunes, including the hit ballad "I Can Dream About You" and the epic dance song "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young."

Finished the night on YouTube with picture puzzle games. Seven Keys was a local game initially produced for the LA market in 1961 before going national briefly in '62. Host Jack Narz and a model in a fur choose three at home contestants randomly who wrote down keys they wanted. The keys open some kind of prize, ranging from furs to appliances. The main game is basically Chutes & Ladders for adults. The contestant spins a wheel and can go up and down depends on where the wheel lands. When they land on a space, they answer a trivia question that will give them a key to a prize package. Alas, the lady contestant didn't reach the end or the big kid-themed prize package. 

The winner here is the Concentration franchise. The version hosted by Hugh Downs with the simple clickety-clack board lasted on NBC for 14 years, from 1958 to 1973. Alex Trebek hosted the later NBC Classic Concentration from 1987 to 1991, this one with a chroma key board, more wild and take cards, and a bonus round that had contestants matching car models in order to win the last model they matched. The episode of Concentration I went with from 1963 is one of the few remaining of the original show's run. Buzzr runs the 1987-1989 Classic Concentration episodes to death, which is why I picked one of the show's last episodes from 1991. (And hey, NBC, how about a night time revival? Could be fun for the summer months.)

Catch Phrase, Headline Chasers, and All Star Blitz are three failed picture puzzle games from 1985. Catch Phrase is by far my favorite. One of the earliest games to make heavy use of computer graphics, it has two contestants trying to guess a puzzle to open a piece of a larger "Catch Phrase" puzzle. If they get the full puzzle, they win the round. It's too bad this didn't last a year in the US. It's too adorable, and Art James looks like he had fun with it. It seems to have found far greater success in other parts of the world, notably England and Vietnam. 

Headline Chasers is somewhat similar, only here, the "catch phrase" is actually parts of a news headline. As more letters are revealed in the headline, the contestants have to guess the headline. Wink Martindale handles the headlines here. All Star Blitz brings in celebrities as Peter Marshall leads contestants to choose a square. A celebrity has to answer a question, and the contestant decides if they're telling the truth. If they guess right, part of a word puzzle will be revealed. All-Star Blitz barely made it a few months; Headline Chasers didn't even make a year. I do have some fond memories of both from their runs on the USA Network in the mid-late 80's. 

Even Nickelodeon got in on the picture puzzles. Their Get the Picture from 1991 is basically Catch Phrase with stunts. Two teams of two kids first have to reveal an outline of dots piece by piece and guess what the dots represent after answering trivia. The second round featured an actual picture under the pieces. Occasionally, the kids choose a "Power Surge" piece that allows the kids to play some kind of stunt for extra cash. The winning team moves on to the "Mega Memory" board. The kids see a group of nine photos, then have to remember where they're placed. 

This was a really fun show. It was actually a bit challenging to remember all those pictures and where everything was. I'm surprised this one didn't run longer, either. It was only on first-run for nine months, though it re-ran for several years on Nickelodeon, and later on the Nick GAS game show-oriented channel.

Here's hoping you can concentrate and figure out these picture and word puzzles! (Look for the original commercials on several shows, including Concentration and Get the Picture.)

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