Sunday, March 26, 2023

Water Panic

Got a quick start this morning. Read The Adventures of Robin Hood, wrote in my journal, grabbed breakfast, and hurried out. Considering I got going a bit late, it's a good thing it took me only a minute to get a ride, and they arrived in less than four minutes. For some reason, they went around behind the Acme and almost missed it all together. I had to direct them to the front of the store.

That was only the beginning of a very long day. It was a fairly normal, even quiet Sunday until around 2:30. Then suddenly, we were overwhelmed with people buying bottled water. People bought nine or ten 35 packs of bottled water at a time! They pushed two or three carts loaded with water jugs and grabbed piles of loose water bottles. Our shelves were stripped of every inexpensive bottle of water within two hours. The lines got so ridiculously long, they had to call people from the bakery, floral, and produce to help deal with them all.

And why did all of those people want water? Apparently, a company accidentally dumped chemicals into the Delaware River, where Philly gets its water supply, and the city told everyone to only drink bottled water. While some parts of South Jersey do use Delaware River water, for the most part, we get our water from upstate. Our water was perfectly fine. After South Philly was stripped of bottled water in record time, they all drove over here...and the Audubon Acme is the first decent grocery store for many people coming off the bridge. 

(Things got so insane, I heard stories of fist fights breaking out over bottled water in South Philly. I later read online that Philly had regrets for causing mass panic. They eventually claimed the water was fine for now, and everyone could fill up on tap water until tomorrow.)

I had a hard time getting home, too. It took me a while to get a ride. Thankfully, they came in 9 minutes, and the very nice gentleman had no trouble getting me back.

Finished the night online after a shower with dinner and YouTube. Today is the 50th anniversary of the very first Pyramid series, The $10,000 Pyramid on CBS. After their success with The Price Is Right, Gambit, and The Joker's Wild, CBS quickly ordered more star-studded game shows with elaborate sets. Producer Bob Stewart had been perfecting $10,000 since the late 60's, after he split from Goodson-Todman. He set up the board on the lines of a pyramid, with monitors showing six categories. A contestant and a celebrity has to guess seven words that make up a category. If they get to 20, they make it to the Winner's Circle, where they guess six categories with increasing difficulty and monetary value. 

The game was a hit straight off the bat, at least for a while. When it faltered in the ratings on CBS, ABC grabbed it. It eventually jumped up to The $20,000 Pyramid while on ABC. Dick Clark hosted the daytime versions, while Bill Cullen was in charge of the nighttime $25,000 Pyramid in syndication. Clark took over for the syndicated $50,000 Pyramid briefly in 1981. 

CBS brought back The New $25,000 Pyramid in 1982, and it's this version and the subsequent $100,000 Pyramid in syndication that I remember best. I loved watching both as a kid, on CBS and later in syndication and on USA. It was so exciting when they beat the Winner's Circle, especially in a good time. Dick Clark was associated with the daytime versions; John Davidson briefly took over $100,000 in 1991. 

Several attempts at revivals didn't do nearly as well. At least three pilots (one with Chuck Woolery) that made radical changes to the format failed to sell in the late 90's. The Donny Osmond-hosted Pyramid was hit with the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire bug, with cheap and dull industrial neon sets. It being a PAX TV show is probably the reason it dropped down to $10,000 as it's highest offering. Osmond's attempt at excitement seemed forced, and all the bonuses were dropped but a "Secret Six" board. Despite all this, the show wound up being a two-year hit for PAX. Another revival on Game Show Network, The Pyramid, barely lasted three months in late 2012. 

Pyramid didn't really find its groove again until 2016, when it was picked up by ABC as part of their "Summer Fun & Games" series of game shows. Once again titled $100,000 Pyramid, it's played pretty much the same as before. Only change is, it's now an hour, with two full games with two different sets of celebrities playing. The episode I have here features current game show hosts Ken Jennings, RuPaul, and Ross Matthews. 

Climb to the top of the Pyramid with the first 50 years of one of the most beloved game show franchises! (Sorry for the lousy tape on $10,000, but episodes from the show's early years are rare. Bob Stewart Productions would continue erasing tapes into the early 80's, and the late 70's syndicated $25,000 is just plain lost. And thanks to Wink Martindale for the debut episode of the original $100,000!)

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