Sunday, March 06, 2022

Rainy Day Games

Got a very late start, thanks to my wanting to finish Devonshire Scream and avoid the rain. Had a quick yogurt-and-veggie breakfast. Unfortunately, the rain continued, even as I ate. I ended up calling Uber. They took 10 minutes, but they did come. Took the slightly longer way down Nicholson and got me there just in time.

Work was busy the entire afternoon. For one thing, it's still the beginning of the month. There were a lot of very large orders, some as big as seven hundred dollars. For another, while the rain vanished by the late afternoon, bringing people out of the woodwork. It being extraordinarily warm for March, into the lower 70's. may have contributed as well. We're still short on help, too. 

Had a harder time getting a ride home, despite the rain being long gone by then. It took me nearly ten minutes...and when I found something, it took almost 17 more minutes. And then the driver nearly missed the house when he got me to East Clinton. (In his defense, it was long dark by the time I got out of work.)

Went straight into dinner when I got home. Made steel-cut oats with peanut butter to get rid of my peanut butter, oats, and sugar. Finished the night online after a shower and delivering this week's schedule downstairs. Not every flop game show is as much fun to watch now as Whew! It's Anybody's Guess from 1977 gave Monty Hall a rare hosting gig away from people in chicken suits...but they would have been a lot more interesting than this. Two contestants have to put bets on how four normal people will answer a question. That's pretty much it. Some of the answers are pretty funny, but the game play is flat-out boring. No wonder the episode on YouTube is the only regular one known to exist now. 

Hit Man from 1983 was far more enjoyable. Three people answer questions based after a previously-seen short documentary. The more right questions they get, the further their little man goes up the screen. The winners go on to battle the previous champ. The more questions they answer correctly, the more chances they have to eliminate their opponent's men. The "Triple Crown" is more like Connect Four. The champ chooses a column and answers questions to put a man in a hole in the column. Fill three columns, win the money. 

Really wish this one lasted longer than a few months. The character was cute, the game play was fun, and Peter Tomarken should have narrated more documentaries, because he did great with the short segments on The Wizard of Oz and the history of jeans. 

Hit Man wasn't the the first flop game show based around memorizing a filmed segment. Bank On the Stars ran off and on throughout 1953 and 1954, usually as a summer replacement show. Bill Cullen had one of his earliest hosting assignments in the episode currently on YouTube. Basically the same idea as Hit Man, without the fancy graphics, with couples instead of solo players, and segments from movies then in theaters instead of informational shorts. (Incidentally, I believe one of the segments in the episode I saw was from the 1954 Danny Kaye spy caper Knock On Wood.)

I actually have some fond memories of Blackout, which aired on CBS between Price Is Right and Card Sharks in 1988 before Family Feud was ready. Basically, it's Wordplay Plus. One celebrity explains a word that belongs in a punny line, while the other pushes a plunger and "blacks out" certain words they're saying. The contestant has to guess the word based on what they get, then guess the puzzle. Not the greatest game in the world, but guessing the puzzle can be interesting. Bob Goen was the amiable but bland host. 

Three for the Money from 1975 also involved celebrity-contestant teams. In this case, two contestants join a celebrity to answer trivia questions from three categories. Each contestant played one category chosen by the celebrity captain to play against one contestant on the defending team. They won money depending on the answers given and how many contestants got it. They played all week. The winning team got to play the bonus round, where they figured out their answer as it appeared one letter at a time. Dick Enberg leaves his accustomed sports environs to host.

Complicated, but fun. Barbara Felton of Get Smart and Jim McKrell of Celebrity Sweepstakes really seemed to have a great time, and the contestants were a ball of energy. Too bad this is another one that disappeared in a matter of months and only has a handful of surviving episodes today. I'd love to see the full week of game play.

Bank on these rare flops to get rid of the late winter blahs and provide a true blast from the past! (And watch out for a bad tape on the ultra-rare It's Anybody's Guess.)

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