Sunday, April 10, 2022

Remembering the Games

Started off the morning with a quick breakfast and a peek out the windows. It was gorgeous and sunny...but also windy and much, much colder. Windier, too. I dodged the gales all the way to work. Even the sun couldn't warm things up today.

Despite the wind, we were busy almost the entire day, with some orders numbering in the $600s. Everyone's getting ready for Easter and spring break. We had long lines, even with enough help for a lot of the day. I guess a lot of people figure it would be cheaper to eat at home this year. Once again, my relief came on just in time, especially since I was in the express lane and couldn't shut down.

Rushed straight home after that. I was finally able to start shelving books and records tonight. I unloaded the children's books onto the larger Ikea shelf and the taller shelf next to it. (After trying to fix the bottom of the taller folding shelf and not doing well. I can't find the nails that go in there.) Got the boxes of doll clothes away from the window and into another closet, along with the boxes of journals that are here. 

Listened to the original Broadway cast of The Little Mermaid while I worked. This debuted in New York in 2007, but it had more than its fare share of problems. Mermaids were on rollerblades to simulate them being in the water, and there was a whole subplot with Prince Eric having to choose his bride among many at a ball that added nothing to the story. I honestly do like some of the new songs, though, including the lovely "Her Voice" to give Eric a song of his own. 

Had dinner, then kept right on working. The art supplies went back on a few shelves in the entertainment center. Most of the media books went on the other side, though they may move when I find the rest of them. Put out a few crates for records, but I'll pull the rest tomorrow after work or Tuesday morning. Put the record player on a crate and played a K-Tel album while I worked.

Finished the night online with game shows on YouTube. I tried to find vintage Easter game show episodes, but all I came up with was a Match Game episode from 1975. Brett and Fannie show up in the beginning wearing ugly spring hats.  They later somehow migrate to Tom Bosley and Gene Rayburn.

Instead, I dug into my childhood for game shows I watched on USA Network in the 80's. From 1986 to the late 90's, USA ran game shows all afternoon. Some were older, but most were either just finished their runs or syndicated shows, like the revival of Jackpot with Geoff Edwards and the Bill Cullen version of The Joker's Wild. 

(Ironically, the copy of The Joker's Wild I found online came not from its USA run, but from its original syndicated run on the Philly ABC, WPVI Channel 6. I don't remember seeing it there, and we watched Channel 6 all the time. My mother swore by Action News and would never miss Good Morning America and Donahue, and she and Dad loved General Hospital. Incidentally, the ad for Action News prominently mentioned Jim Gardner. He's such a fixture of the 5PM newscasts at Action News, he's only just retiring this year after more than 40 years on the air.) 

USA also played low-budget game shows from Canada like Bumper Stumpers. This cute word-based show had people figuring out the phrases on vanity license plates. Those who guessed the main plate right could move on to unscramble a series of plates. French Canadian weatherman Al Dubois really keeps the show flowing.. I always enjoyed trying to unscramble those plates or figure out what they said.

I first encountered Let's Make a Deal and Press Your Luck on USA around 1987-88 and watched the heck out of both. That's why I was so excited when Deal turned up on Buzzr two years ago, and why I enjoy watching Press there, even though they tend to run the same couple of episodes from 1984-85. It's fun to feel like that kid watching game shows or having them in the background while reading on a sunny summer afternoon. 

Watched The New 25,000 Pyramid regularly on CBS in the early-mid 80's and enjoyed seeing it on USA just as much. Denise Miller and a very young Michael J. Fox get to help contestants guess seven subjects in a box on a pyramid. If they get up to 20, they get to go to the Winner's Circle. There, they guess groups going progressively higher on the giant pyramid board. 

Probably my favorite game I watched on USA that hasn't turned up on Buzzr is Tic Tac Dough. I loved watching contestants keep rolling along and answering trivia along with them on the screen. Then there was the bonus round, where I always hope they'd get the prize package and avoid that scary roaring dragon! Wink Martindale was a charming and occasionally even intense host. 

Take a walk down memory lane with me, where characters are always welcome, even in game shows. (Look for the original commercials on many of these shows. And thanks to Wink Martindale and his channel for the Pyramid episode!) 

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