Sunday, October 02, 2022

Rainy Day Games

Awoke to pouring rain. gloomy pewter skies, and howling winds. No two ways about it. i had to take Uber to work today. First, I ate a very quick breakfast and fed the kittens, making sure the little marmalade kitty didn't try to get loose.

Surprisingly for the weather, I had no trouble getting a ride this morning. Got him in less than 6 minutes. He got me there in less than 5. The rain continued to fall in a steady shower, even as he made his way down the White Horse Pike and Nicholson.

Work didn't start off busy, but it picked up by 11 and was insane through about quarter of 2. We had long lines down the aisles, even with every register that was up and running open. I hated it. I spent most of the first half of my shift frustrated and panicking...and then, I got even more upset when they pulled me to take carts and sweep the store, and everyone kept giving me a different job. I'd no sooner get out to push carts then they'd want me to sweep the store or put away loose items or pull items so they're uniform. I wish they'd make up their minds as to what I am. I'm tired doing everything at once. And I got stuck back in the register for the last half-hour, despite being almost done.

(At least I didn't push carts for very long. It was still raining at that point. It's been raining all day, and would rain all night. The rain is still coming down at press time.)

A neighbor I ran into at work drove me home. Fed the cats, then fed myself while listening to the original cast album for Baker Street. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries have been turned into a musical several times on the stage; this is the American version from 1964. Basically, it's an adaptation of A Scandal In Bohemia, with Holmes going against Moriarty and Irene Adler. The score was so underwhelming, Fiddler on the Roof tunesmiths Bock and Harnick were called in to provide three new songs. Admittedly, one of those tunes, a rousing routine for Adler (Inga Swenson) and the chorus called "I'm In London Again," ended up being one of the best songs on the album. Peter Sallis also gets the touching and introspective "A Married Man" for Watson near the end, when they're all trapped by Moriarty. 

Those two good songs aside, this is nothing anyone but major Holmes fans need to go out of their way for. I wouldn't have it myself if I hadn't found it so long ago, I don't remember where I got it from anymore. 

Finished the night online picking up with Buzzr's October salute to Bob Eubanks. Eubanks started out as a California DJ who was best known for producing the Beatles' Hollywood Bowl appearances in 1964 and 1965 and the Rolling Stones' North American tour, among others. This hip, irrelevant veneer may be why Chuck Barris asked him to hose The Newlywed Game. It went over so well, and he became so associated with it, he'd host various versions in some capacity through the late 90's and was brought in for a one-off special in the late 2000's. I went with episodes from 1968 and the later syndicated version from 1980 that are pretty emblematic of that series as a whole - newly-married couples compete for prize packages while giving naughty answers to innocent questions. 

Eubanks' other major hit was the late 80's version of Card Sharks. I know a lot of people thought his leering style was too spicy for that show, but I loved it when I was a kid and looked forward to seeing it before Family Feud and The Price Is Right. I don't remember ever seeing anyone win the car, yet I managed to find an episode from 1988 where they pull it off twice. 

He appeared in his share of flops, too. One of the most notorious was The Diamond Head Game from 1975. Eubanks himself complained about this one over a decade later on Card Sharks. Filmed in Hawaii, this complicated show let eight people from the audience answer trivia questions. The winners went on to attempt to recall lists of items read by Eubanks. The one who could recall the most went on to the "Money Volcano." They'd step inside a fake volcano filled with bills for gift certificates. If they got large sums of cash, they could go on, but a $1 bill would end their game.

I can see Eubanks' problems here. Waaayy too complicated, and the Money Volcano aside, it doesn't really make much use of the Hawaiian setting. Fortunately, the series is one of the few short-lived flops from its era to exist in full now, allowing us a glimpse of the elaborate sets and that crazy Money Volcano.

Rhyme and Reason from later in '75 was a heck of a lot more fun. ABC's entry in the flood of Match Game imitations from the mid-late 70's has a celebrity panel finishing goofy rhyming phrases for two contestants. If they use the words the contestants wrote down, the contestants get points. The similarities to Match Game are driven home by the fact that every celebrity in one of the few existing episodes also appeared on that show, including Richard Dawson and "poet laureate of television" Nipsey Russell. 

Dream House was a 1984 revival of a controversial game show from 1968 that had couples competing to see who could win the house of their dreams. In 1968, they had to win money for the land, too...which proved to be too unwieldy, as it's said that most of the winning houses were never made. The NBC version made the prize an already-built luxury home. It's sort of similar to Talk About. One couple chooses a category and decides if a statement in that category is true. The other couple either challenges them, or goes along. Not bad, but not terribly distinguished, either. Though the master tapes for this were apparently destroyed in a flood, there does seem to be a fair amount of episodes floating around, including the pilot seen here.

Eubanks tried twice to get back into that Newlywed Game vibe with All-Star Secrets from 1979 and his last network show, Family Secrets from 1993. All-Star has celebrities dishing out a secret about one of a member of five panelists. Another member will give their opinion on who has the secret. The contestants have to guess which one has the secret. Family was very similar, only here, a child had the secrets. All-Star couldn't compete with Family Feud; Family ran into controversy of its own when one of its "family" units turned out to be a dad, daughter, and his girlfriend who lied to get in. 

During the run of Dream House in 1984, Eubanks appeared on The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, and didn't do too badly, either. At least, he seemed to have fun in the Match Game portion, making me wish he'd turned up on the 70's-early 80's show, or even later in the 1990 version. 

Make a little whoopee with the king of naughty newlyweds, crazy card players, and Hawaiian honeys! (Look for the original commercials on several shows.)

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