Sunday, June 26, 2022

Games for a Song

Started off the morning with a quick breakfast before heading out. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning. Sunny, windy, warm but not too hot. Everyone must have been at church or sleeping in. I barely saw a soul outside, not even on the Pikes. 

They all went grocery shopping. It was busy from the time I arrived until around 2 PM. Everyone came through with food to take to the Shore or for barbecues and picnics, or just to feed kids who were now home all week. It slowed down after 2, but never emptied out. 

I did have a couple of annoying families about an hour before I left. One family came through loudly arguing amongst themselves. They were some of those people who say they have a hundred dollars to spend, despite having a car full of giant bags of shrimp and fish and packages of thick back and steaks that cost 200 or more. They ended up putting back a quarter of it, and ended up splitting it into three orders, even though they really didn't have to. 

My last customers had the wrong cheese for their WIC card. I had to go retrieve it, even though I only had about five minutes left before I was done for the day. And then the PIN number for their card wouldn't go through, and it eventually locked. I finally turned them over to the head manager and barely got out on time.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road to calm down and enjoy the day. While it was much hotter and more humid, it still remained a nice, sunny, windy day. Once again, there was no traffic anywhere. I was even able to cross the White Horse Pike quickly. Everyone must have either gone to barbecues or the Shore by that point. I admired gardens of waving purple and orange lilies and satiny roses. 

Went straight into writing when I got home. As Brett and Charles leave Humpty-Deacon, they hear a great crash. "All the king's horses and all the king's men" are supposed to put him back together again, but all they do is get lost and act ridiculous. 

Broke for dinner at 7. Listened to my cast album for George M! while I ate. This is the original 1968 version of George M. Cohan's life and times, with Joel Gray as George and Bernadette Peters as his sister Josie. I really do wish they'd used more of the lesser-known songs. "Billie" introduces his second wife Agnes, and there's a lot of cute chorus numbers like "Push Me Along In My Pushcart" and "Popularity" that didn't make it into the TV version. 

Finished the night online with more musical shows. Face the Music from 1980 had people guessing which songs related to celebrities of the day. It was better-known for its strange contestants than its gameplay. Here, a woman can't stop screaming, whether she's yelling out an answer or just talking. In her enthusiasm, she often forgets that she needs to figure out the face, too. Ron Ely tries his best to keep things from getting too crazy. 

Fandango was the first game show on The Nashville Network (now Paramount Network). This is a simple country music trivia quiz hosted by the ever-charming "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson. He was joined by a talking jukebox named Edgar who spouted bad jokes sent in by viewers. This was an early hit for TNN, running from 1983 to 1988. 

Triple Threat was originally a syndicated show in 1988. That only lasted a year. It was revived on BET in 1992, with families playing instead of celebrity-contestant pairings. This is kind of a variant on Face the Music, only in this case, they ask questions related to the song itself. It could be fun to watch; it was too bad it still didn't last more than a year. 

With the revival of Name That Tune still running on Fox, I revisited the 1970's syndicated version with Tom Kennedy. That was a big deal in the late 70's-early 80's as one of the first shows to offer a six-figure payout. I loved the version with Jim Lange as a child, and it's just as much fun to watch people try to name all the songs in the Golden Medley here.

Most music-based game shows don't just involve knowledge. The Singing Bee and Dance Revolution threw the focus on actual performance. The Singing Bee had contestants called up to hear part of a popular song. They then had to sing the next lines. This started out well in its original run on NBC, but it ended up dying by the end of 2007. It did slightly better on Country Music Television (CMT), running from 2009 to 2012 there. The episode I chose is a special from the CMT version that focused on former members of 90's boy bands playing for charity.

Dance Revolution brought kids in on the fun. This Saturday morning CBS show emphasized exercise and nutrition...but it was really an excuse for groups of children to show off some funky moves. Host "DJ" Rick Adams and his Slumber Party Girls would catch moves from three teams of contestants, the "Dance Crews." The Crews would learn new moves from a choreographer, then see who could execute them the best. The kids could be fun to watch, but it moved slowly and spent too much time on the "Slumber Party Girls" and their routines. No wonder it barely ran a year. 

Of course, the concept is nothing new. People have been judging performance probably since someone first shook their caboose in a cave. Judge for Yourself is one of the many musical shows showing off live performance in the 1950's. This is the original format from 1953, hosted by acerbic Fred Allen. He, three celebrities, and three audience members watch a trio of professional performers. If the audience's points matched the celebrities', the contestants won a jackpot. If they didn't, it increased until someone won. Yeah, I can see why they retooled the format after a few months, and this didn't even last a year. I can't imagine the audience and the celebrities were in complete agreement that often. 

Dance and sing your way into the summer with these musical excursions to the past!

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