Sunday, May 15, 2022

Talking About Games

This time, I began a much nicer morning with breakfast and the By Jupiter off-Broadway cast album I bought last week. The Greek soldiers must get the girdle of Diana from Amazon Queen Hippolyta. They do this by falling in love with her warriors, including Theasus with Antiope. Meanwhile, Hippolyta's husband Sapiens, who stays home with their children, is forced by his wealthy mother to finance their campaign against the Greeks and use all of his charms (such as they are) to get her to give up the girdle.

It's a good thing there's some good Rogers and Hart songs in this one, because as you can tell from that plot description, the story is incredibly dated. Ray Bolger played Sapiens in the original 1942 cast, which should give you an idea of his character. The songs give more of a hint as to why this was Rogers and Hart's longest-running show on Broadway, with the lovely ballad of longing "Nobody's Heart" for the head Amazon warrior, "Wait 'Till You See Her" for a smitten Theseus and his "when the girls come home" spoof "At the Gateway of the Temple of Minerva," and Sapiens and Hippolyta's comic marriage squall "Everything I've Got."

Went straight to work after breakfast. Work didn't start out busy, but by lunch, we had long lines snaking down the aisles. I'm getting tired of people complaining about the bagging. I understand complaints about the situation with the baby formula, even if there's nothing we can do about it. Parents and those who can't eat food need it. The bags...not only is getting rid of them not life-threatening, but frankly, people don't need them. You use them for the trash? To carry your pet's litter? You can buy bags for that. Keep them around for a while. And the reusable bags hold so much more, and you don't have to lick your fingers to open them! 

I was very happy to hurry out and rush home. In fact, I celebrated a beautiful day by taking the long way down Nicholson Road. Needless to say, there were many people enjoying a leisurely Sunday ride. I ducked down Atlantic to avoid them, then went even longer, crossing at WaWa.

Went straight into writing when I got home. Brett sees a monstrous bird-creature carrying off a screaming human figure. She climbs to the top of a rugged cliff to find out what's going on, leaving her blue Victorian gown (and her knees and palms) in tatters. She's out of breath when she finally gets up there...but what she sees when she can think again makes her blood run cold...

Had a quick leftovers dinner while listening to an older soundtrack album I've had for years. I've had the soundtrack for Swing Time and Shall We Dance for so long, I forget where I got it from now. I think it's a bootleg album, but it does contain all the songs from both movies. Good thing, too, as they're two of the best scores from any Astaire-Rogers films. Jerome Kern standards from Swing Time include "A Fine Romance," "Pick Yourself Up" and the Oscar-winning "The Way You Look Tonight."  Shall We Dance gave us the Gershwins' "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."

Finished off the night with word association games in honor of the debut of the 1989 Canadian word game Talk About on Buzzr Memorial Day. Talk About lasted two years in its native Toronto; it also did two years here, in syndication (which is probably where I saw it), and later on USA.  Two teams, one of men, one women, were given two topics to choose from. They then had to describe the topic they chose. If they used words associated with the topic that were on the board, they'd win points. If they could get all ten words, they'd get a 500 dollar bonus. If not, the other team could steal the topic. 

The bonus round had one member of the winning team trying to guess the ten words. If they didn't get them, they could take their money and go home, or call out their partner and continue. If the latter, the partner had to guess all the words.

Fast-paced and fun, I can see why Buzzr opted to pick up this one. It's a lot like a TV version of the group game Outburst, which my family played quite a bit in the 90's and early 2000's. Host Wayne Cox is charming and never fails to keep things moving.

Word association games have been around long as game shows have. Password and Match Game are the long-runner word association champs. NBC announced a new Password starting later this summer; Match Game just ended its run on ABC.  I went with one of the earliest surviving Password episodes, a black and white nighttime episode from 1962 featuring Gary Moore playing against his star and protégé Carol Burnett, the show from the first week to feature Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Betty White on the panel in Match Game '73, and an episode from the week on Password Plus where Betty White hurt her ankle and had to be carried to the Alphabetics bonus round by her hubby Allen Ludden and Robert Pine.

The Pyramid franchise is another long-runner that's still with us today. I jumped way back to The $10,000 Pyramid in 1973 to showcase a big win for Barbara Feldon and her contestant. John Schuck doesn't have nearly as much luck with his.

Not every word game went over as well. The 1977 NBC show Shoot for the Stars is sort of a Bob Stewart cross between Pyramid, Whew!, and Talk About. The contestants and their celebrity partner would choose a numbered box and get and then try to figure out how the two words behind it were related. The bonus round was similar, only the dollar amount was chosen by a randomizer, and the accumulated money would increase with every attempt. Bill Cullen and Anita Gillette were the celebrities in the pilot. Originally titled Shoot the Works, it seems to be the only episode of this show available for viewing today. 

Another Bob Stewart show, Chain Reaction, has a long and complicated history. Two teams (contestants and celebrities in 1980) guess the next word in a word chain. The winners move on either guess the words or phrases the celebrities put out. The original 1980 Bill Cullen-hosted show fell victim to NBC wanting to give David Letterman his own morning showcase; there's only two episodes currently available for viewing online. The Canadian version without celebrities did better on USA Network in the late 80's-early 90's. Game Show Network revived it three times. It barely lasted a year each in 2007 and 2015; here's hoping the new version that launched last year does better.

Words a' Poppin' is probably the most unique word association game out there...because it was made for kids. A gentleman in a forest ranger's hat named Shotgun Tom Kelly asked a panel of six kids to unscramble words under a specific category. The second round had them guessing letters in a word. The bonus round was sort of a child's version of Now You See It - kids have to find words from connected letters on a board. Really cute syndicated show was a big hit in the late 70's, and I can see why. Too bad the episode I saw seems to be the only one currently online.

Let's talk about Talk About and other games requiring quick thinking to find the right words! (The rare Words a' Poppin' is in three parts, but like I said, it doesn't otherwise seem to be online.)

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