Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Queen of Games

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Charlie & Lola. Lola loves watching her brother work on the tricks from his new magic set. "I am Extremely Magic" she says, and tries her own tricks. What she doesn't realize is those tricks rely on a lot more than waving a wand and saying magic words. Charlie finally shows her how they're really done.

Worked on writing after that. The Queen of the Snowflakes looks a lot like Betty White. She greets Gene as an old friend. He explains that she's the head of the snowflakes, who keeps wintry parts of the world white every year. She also knows about the disappearance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Brett) and her cavalier (Charles) and has been searching for them.

Went straight to work after I got off. I seriously regret it. Work was nothing short of a royal pain in the rear. At least four people had trouble with that new government benefit card that's supposed to let you buy basic food. Yes...but you have to use your food stamp card before you use the benefit card. Most people use the benefit card first, not giving me the chance to explain that it doesn't work that way. One woman and her husband threw such a fit over it, they called the young manager who tried to talk to them a "little girl." That got her mad and she walked off, leaving me to deal with them. 

I also had trouble with two Instacart customers whose clients didn't give them enough money for their orders. They took so long, they eventually canceled, and all that food had to go back. And they held up long lines. And were just plain off-and-on busy, despite the cold, windy day and the Eagles playing next week. My anxiety was so bad, my stomach is still in knots, even hours later. 

Rushed home fast as I could. Soon as I got in, I changed, grabbed dinner, and watched Match Game Syndicated. Brett's nervous when she has to help the contestant with "__ In-Law" in the Audience Match. Everyone else has some interesting answers about what's wrong with the show's infamous mythical sleazy country Nerdocrumbesia.

Finished out the night after a shower on YouTube with game show episodes featuring Betty White, in honor of her 101st birthday Tuesday. Betty goes way further back on game shows than anyone probably knows. She filled in for Peggy Cass on an episode of To Tell the Truth from 1959. She has an easier time figuring out who's a security guard than which of the three people are the host of a horror show called Nightmare and a ping pong champion. 

Betty's probably most associated with Password. She married its original host, Allen Ludden, in 1963. During the early 70's ABC series, the two even changed places for a week, letting Betty host while Allen played as a panelist...and they both did very well, too. Too bad the episode seen here is the only one known to exist from that week.

She continued playing Password, even after Allen died of stomach cancer in 1981. Betty was a frequent panelist on Super Password with Bert Convy in the mid-80's. Bert even called it "her" show. I don't think they would have allowed anyone else to get away with destroying the question holder used for the hated "Ca$hword" mini-game in the last episode!

Betty appeared on Password straight into the new millennium. Million Dollar Password reworked the game into an overly-complicated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire clone, complete with a winnings ladder and dark neon-lit set. In mid-June, she turned up with comedienne Susie Esseman from Curb Your Enthusiasm to help a lady navigate the new rules. Regis Philibin was on hand to make it as close to Millionaire as possible.

Of course, she did many other game shows, too. She made frequent appearances on the various Pyramids over the years, including an early week of The New $25,000 Pyramid with Charles Siebert. She played well in the regular rounds, but had no luck with the Winner's Circle. Charles did much better there.

My favorite Betty appearances are by far on Match Game. She was by far one of the best players in the sixth "comedienne" seat, never failing to have a funny answer or come up with a great bit with Richard Dawson, who sat next to her. She also had a fondness for mock-stripteases, as we see in this hilarious episode from 1978. Richard wasn't as cheery by this point - Gene point-blank tells him to smile - but he seemed to perk up for Betty's bits. 

Climb pyramids and strip down with the Queen of Game Shows! (The copy of Password '75 is rough, inverted, and in black and white, but it seems to be the only version of that rare episode online at the moment.)

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