Sunday, June 06, 2021

Million Dollar Games

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Johnny Mathis. This Is Love had a few peculiar numbers, including an odd ballad version of "Put On a Happy Face." Better (and more typical) are "More" from the weird documentary Mondo Cane, "Poinciana," and "The End of a Love Affair."

Headed out before the record ended. Today was my first of four bagging days in a row. I was totally on my own for most of the morning, sweeping and trying to keep up with the carts. Thankfully, my help actually showed up this time. The teens took over the sweeping and helped with the carts later. Though I did get stuck in a register twice when the lines were very long, I was also able to finally gather the trash and recycling and drag carts from remote corners. 

We were busy in the morning and early afternoon, and though it never slowed entirely, it calmed down enough by 4 for me to leave with no trouble. Gorgeous and super hot and sunny weather may have contributed to people hurrying home for barbecues and birthday parties, too.

Went straight home and into changing and writing. Duchess Marcia is dressed like royalty in a black Victorian gown and tiara...but she's also carrying a baby and has a bad-tempered cook (Mary Wickes) who thinks pepper cures all ills. Marcia does loan Brett a blue and white dress to wear to the croquet game, but she also literally leaves her holding the baby when Mary starts throwing crockery around. The grinning Cheshire Cat makes itself scarce, and Brett does the same. The baby grunts like crazy as she leaves the house and eventually turns into a pig, which she releases.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Made scrambled eggs with vegetables for dinner, then put together No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies while listening to the other Music of Broadway set representing 1933-1934 I found at Goodwill a while back. I did skip the second half of the first album covering Roberta, which I already have elsewhere. They also had a lot of songs from the British cast of Anything Goes, including the title song, "Be Like the Bluebird," "I Get a Kick Out of You," and a "You're the Top" with some unique lyrics not found elsewhere. Other good songs here include "Fun to Be Fooled" from Life Begins at 8:40, "Isn't It a Pity?" from Pardon My English, and "You and the Night and the Music" from Revenge With Music.

Finished the night on YouTube with more trivia game shows. Trivia shows made a comeback in prime time in 1999 when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire launched on ABC.  It was such an instant sensation, ABC pushed it to four times a week by mid-2000's. Unfortunately, they milked their million-dollar cash cow dry by the end of 2001. It became so ubiquitous and imitated, it lost its cool factor. It remained popular enough for a long-running syndicated version, first hosted by Meredith Viera in 2002.

By late 1999, I was in college and really not paying much attention to anything besides trying to keep up with my classes. I did occasionally watch Millionaire, but I barely noticed the raft of imitators looking to grab a piece of that big-money pie. The first one to debut in the US after the success of Millionaire was Greed. Fox's big trivia show had a two million dollar prize, with Chuck Woolery leading a team of hopeful millionaires through a line of tough quizzes. The team members all challenge each other; if the challenger loses, they're out. Complicated, but not without its virtues, including some tough questions. This one may have lasted longer if Fox didn't get a new production head who hated game shows.

It's Your Chance of a Lifetime, another Fox show and British import, was both the shortest-lived of the imitators and the closest to Millionaire. Other than a few minor differences - fewer questions, starting off with a question to pay off credit card debt, and making a bet on questions instead of having fixed values - this was played pretty much the same as its parent. Originally a week-long event, this was to have been a series, but ran into trouble with the same game show-hating executive who also took Greed off the air. 

To bring this full-circle, NBC's entry in the Millionaire imitation race was a revival of Twenty One. The isolation booths and tough questions remained, but this time, drama was provided by slick editing and Millionaire-style "lifelines." Maury Povich made a more jovial host than you might suspect, given his trash-TV reputation. I really enjoyed this one, and I'm surprised NBC hasn't attempted another revival in the current "bring back old shows" craze. 

Hope you enjoy this trip down a question-filled memory lane with Millionaire and the millennial trivia shows...and that's my final answer. 

No comments: