Sunday, April 18, 2021

Childhood Games

Started off a fast morning with Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast and the original cast album for Finian's Rainbow. Scotswoman Ella Logan is Sharon here, singing "When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich" and the original topical lyrics for "If This Isn't Love." David Wayne does better as a charmingly impish Og; I love his "If I'm Not Near the Girl I Love." 

Headed for work after I finished breakfast. The Acme's just so crazy right now. There wasn't nearly enough help to deal with the Sunday crowds. They put me in the express lane, and I just couldn't go fast enough to keep things moving. Not to mention, people with large orders kept jumping in, even when I said not to. If employees aren't using up vacation time, they're still on leave, or they left their jobs. I was so happy when they had one of the baggers come in for me so I could go home on time.

Jodie came out on the porch as I made my way to the main house. One of the mothers who live across the street gave her a slice of key lime pie when she found out my birthday was earlier this week, and she put it in my fridge. She also told me that she now intends to put the house on the market in June. The house is too big for the two of us, and she can't afford its upkeep and the pool and cleaning up the extensive grounds. I don't know what I'm going to do after she does sell it. I have nowhere else to go, and no one I can live with. Everyone I know either doesn't have the room, or lives with their parents, or are too far away.

Cheered myself up with leftovers for dinner while listening to Danger: High Voltage. This K-Tel album is one of the few I've found from the 80's, in this case from 1981. "Don't Stand So Close to Me" by the Police and "Kiss On My List" by Hall & Oates were the big hits here. Other favorites include "Living Inside Myself" by Gino Vanellei, "I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbit, "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang, and a remake of "Tell It Like It Is" by Heart.

Finished the night on YouTube with many wonderful childhood memories. I've watched game shows for as long as I can remember. By the late 80's, my three favorite shows were on CBS, who had the best daytime schedule. Card Sharks started giving away cars along with the Money Cards around late '86-early '87. I went with one from December 1987 that was exactly as I remembered when I was a kid, up to and including them asking certain groups of people in the audience high-low questions.

When the Ray Combs version of Family Feud debuted the following fall, the brief Card Sharks/Feud/Price Is Right block that ran through the spring became "my" game show schedule. Combs always seemed to have so much fun, I looked forward to seeing him what he and all the hilarious families would do - and what their answers would be.

The episode I chose of The Price Is Right from 1988 is exactly how I remember the show being when I was about 10. Rod Roddy's announcing, Bob Barker has white hair, all of the models are around, there's the Spelling Bee and Bump games, and the Showcase Showdowns are genuinely weird. (Holly Hallstrom is dressed as a baby in the "story" Showcase!) 

Of course, I didn't just watch adult-oriented game shows. Shows intended for kids my age and younger began to turn up on newly-created family cable channels around the early 80's. The Disney Channel's first crack at a game show was Contraption, which ran from 1983 through most of the decade. Kids watched a clip from a Disney movie at different "stations" representing Books (movie based after a book or story), "Animals" (stories featuring animal characters), "Heroes and Villains" (action clips), and the bonus round, "Magic" (clips featuring magic or fantasy). After kids answered trivia on the first three, they'd race in different unique machines - bikes made to look like magic carpets or boats, a hamster wheel cart - and whomever won the race got the most "Contrap-chips." Whichever team has the most chips at the end is the winner.

It's too bad that like most of The Disney Channel's early programming, the show is hard to find nowadays. The one episode on YouTube is in pieces and not in the best of shape, but it's still fun to watch, especially if you're a Disney fan.

Nickelodeon's Super Sloppy Double Dare from 1989 isn't really different from any other version of the show. The Physical Challenges are just a bit messier. Likewise, the Fox Fun House from 1990 has a slightly updated set, a different announcer, and JD Roth ditched his mullet, but is otherwise the same wild stunts ending with a run through a weird house for prizes.

We return to Nickelodeon for something a little bit more unique. Finders Keepers is a cross between the 60's Camouflage and Fun House. Here, the kids have to find objects hidden in a picture. The kids who find three get to search for real objects in a house with some pretty strange rooms. The winners get to search the entire house for clues. Wesley Eure hosted the original Nickelodeon version.

(By the way, something I recently learned - Finders Keepers and Fun House did better in England, with the latter in particular running a decade and becoming a touchstone with many British kids who grew up in the 90's.) 

At any rate, I hope these shows bring back as many fond memories for you as they do for me! (Look for the original commercials on The Price Is Right.

No comments: