Sunday, October 30, 2022

Frightening Games

Barely had enough time for breakfast before dashing out to work. It was so early and quiet when I arrived, I spent the first half of my shift putting unwanted items away. It finally started to pick up around 11:30-12 when people came in to buy food for Halloween parties and Eagles tailgating, not to mention the beginning of the month. I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon on a register. It didn't even really slow down when the Eagles game started at 1. Thankfully, it did die enough (and we had enough help) by 4:30 for me to head home without a relief or a need for one.

(Oh, and according to one customer, the Eagles were up 21-7 by the end of the first half. They ultimately went on to beat the Steelers 35-13 and remain the only unbeaten team in the NFL.)

Went straight into popcorn and a spooky episode of Press Your Luck when I got home. Buzzr's doing a marathon of Halloween or horror-related episodes from 4 to 7 all weekend, but they've shown this 1984 episode many times before. Trick-or-treating Whammies slam the contestants, but the champ dodges them long enough to win. Host Peter Tomarken sports a Frankenstein mask while doing a weird little dance during the credits before collapsing!

Worked on writing for a bit next. Yes, Brett does resent that Ross is not Gene. Ross doesn't get into the questions the way Gene does, and he lacks Gene's authority. He is, however, the host and star of the show. Gene was her friend, but he's a different person, and she needs to understand that.

Broke for dinner at 6:30, and because the Match Game '90 Halloween episode deserves to be watched on a large-screen TV. This is by far the best episode of the show's short-lived 90's revival, with terrific decorations and some very funny questions. Charles Nelson Reilly dresses as Superman with inflatable muscles and his favorite drinking buddy Brett Somers comes as a little girl. Host Ross Schafer is Dracula, and Vicki Lawrence is Little Red Riding Hood in a super-short dress. Ronn Lucas and his dragon puppet Scorch are the ones who manage to come up with the scariest Halloween costume of all.

(It would seem that Buzzr isn't finished with Match Game '90 or the later Family Feud episodes just yet. Saw a commercial for this year's Veteran's Day Armed Services marathon, and it looks like episodes of the later 90's and 2000's Feud will be joined by the almost-as-funny Armed Services Week on Match Game '90.) 

Finished dinner and had dessert while listening to Witchcraft...! I found this heavy old LP ages ago. It's a collection of jazzy standards revolving around magic, sorcery, witchcraft, and anything related to them, like "Witchcraft," "Old Devil Moon," "Kiss of Fire," and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes." 

Moved to YouTube for even more Halloween game show episodes. While the original What's My Line never got into the holiday per se, they did have an occasional horror-themed contestant, like this 1956 episode featuring Vincent Price as the Mystery Guest. Actually, my favorite guest on this one was the woman who moderated the Brazilian version of Line. As Bennett Cerf joked when he finally guessed who she was, the panelists down in Brazil had the good fortune to look at her instead of John Daly!

Likewise, the brief 1972 revival of I've Got a Secret settled for having Price as a guest. They played on his love of art and drama by showing him and several other people recreating a famous painting. My favorite guest was the first one, who showed off a strange little contraption attached to the back of his car that could use the heat from the vehicle to cook his dinner.

Family Feud traditionally does at least one Halloween episode a year. Richard Dawson got his only Feud Halloween episode in 1994. He didn't dress in costume, but Ray Combs did in 1991, when he admitted he was a bit embarrassed to be garbed as Robin Hood in tights and an open shirt.

Alex Trebek also got into dressing the part on Classic Concentration in 1988. He's a matador in the episode I went with, and the contestants are a werewolf and a can can dancer. Marjorie Goodson doesn't exactly like being called "Mom" in her gypsy costume!

The Price Is Right has always done a Halloween episode during Drew Carey's tenure as host. I went with the show from 2012, which has a unique carnival theme. The models are dressed as a snake charmer, the strong woman, and the bearded lady, while the announcer is supposed to be a contortionist. Mini-games like Plinko and Rat Race are as close to carnival games as Price is going to get. 

Even low-budget shows celebrated Halloween. Peter Tomarken returns in Wipeout from 1987. Contestants snack on candy in mini-pumpkins as they try to guess which titles on a block of TV screens belong to a certain category. 

I loved the late 90's-early 2000's version of Hollywood Squares, and its Halloween episodes were no exception. By 2002, Whoopi Goldberg had vacated the center square, but that didn't stop Ellen Degeneres from dressing as her. Martin Mull appears as a priest, Kathy Najimy as a fairy princess, and Hulk Hogan tosses on a feather boa. Vicki Lawrence is back, too, this time garbed as her "Mama" character from The Carol Burnett Show and Mama's Family. Elvira adds the perfect touch of the macabre. 

Celebrate the spookiest day of the year with even more classic games to play at your Halloween party! (Price, Squares, and the 1994 Feud come with their original commercials and the ones from their run on Game Show Network. And watch out for Wipeout - the episode is in three parts.)

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