Sunday, May 21, 2023

Kids and Games

Began the morning with breakfast and The Backyardigans on Paramount Plus. Tyrone, Pablo, and Uniqua can't decide what to play, so they let Tasha decide. They're disappointed when she goes with a tea party, but Tasha's "High Tea" turn out to be anything but docile! She leads them through the jungles of Borneo, helps them cheer up the grumpy Emperor Austin of China, and takes them for a ride across the Gobi Desert in search of the perfect cup of tea. 

Headed out shortly after the cartoon ended. My 8 and 1/2 hour day was...mostly kind of boring. It was off and on busy, only getting bad when I'd have to jump into the express line so the cashier there could go on break and we'd be down to one or two lines open. Of course, things didn't get bad until she went home, and I had to go in for her during my last hour and a half. The people in the express line were often rude; many of them had far larger orders than should have been in the line, but either didn't or wouldn't hear when I told them they didn't belong in this register. After all, there was only one other line open. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Went straight into dinner and Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour soon as I got home. They were already into the Hollywood Squares second half by the time I changed and settled down with leftovers. I recognized Pat McCormick and Mark Russell, but the contestants were different. The winning contestant from the Match Game half was so small, very tall Jon Bauman got on his knees to talk to her! 

Finished the night after a shower with YouTube and more kid's shows, this time revolving around stunts. The long-runner champ for kid's stunt shows is, of course, Nickelodeon's Double Dare. Kids dare each other to answer trivia. Anyone who can't answer takes the "Physical Challenge," a messy stunt. If they get the challenge, they win the money. Otherwise, the other side gets the money. The winners take on the Obstacle Course, a series of difficult stunts for gradually larger prizes. Simple but addictive, this ran from 1986 to 1993 and saw revivals in 2000 and 2018. I went with an episode of one of its two spin-offs, Super Sloppy Double Dare, which was the same thing with slightly messier stunts.

The wild success of Double Dare spawned many imitations. My sisters and I were equally big fans of Fun House in the late 80's and early 90's. We looked forward to seeing it after school in syndication, and after 1991 on Fox. Same deal, only with no daring, and kids ran through a house filled with obstacles looking for prize tags instead of a linear course. The announcer Tiny was kind of annoying, but host JD Roth was really cute.

Dr. Fad, also from the late 80's-early 90's, was another favorite of ours. We looked forward to seeing it early on Saturday mornings, usually as the last show before the cartoons started. Real-life inventor Ken Hakuta (who merchandised the wildly popular Wacky Wall Walkers)  held two contests for kids to show off their best inventions. The winning kid got a trip to Epcot. In between, there would be segments detailing the history behind popular toys and games (here, we learn about the Superball) and the fads and fashions of a given year (1969 in this episode). Hakuta was an energetic and fun host, and we loved not only seeing what kids our age could come up with, but learning about fads and toys of the past, too. 

Kids played stunts for prizes as far back as the early 50's in shows like Choose Up Sides. Gene Rayburn was the unlikely host of this New York-based stunt show that had two teams of kids playing themed stunts against each other. Gene surprisingly did pretty well with the kids, and they all seemed to have a great time with the stunts. They even handled the rather creepy mechanical wall figure who announced the stunts well.

Shenanigans from 1964 has more in common with the later Family Game Night. Basically an advertisement for Milton Bradley games, here kids run around an oversized game board, playing mini-games inspired by Milton Bradley's products. (Some, like Operation, can still be found today!) Stubby Kaye was the genial "Mayor" of the board.

The syndicated Xuxa from 1993 replaced the trivia with music from its Brazilian pop star hostess. This was based on a popular Brazilian kids' show Xuxa also hosted that was more variety than straight game show. Between stunts, Xuxa leads the kids in several songs in her native Portuguese, shows off kids who have unusual hobbies or careers, and introduces celebrity guests. I don't know what the original show was like, but between her odd co-hosts in slightly creepy animal costumes and Xuxa herself being a bit bland, this came off as more than a little strange. 

Nickelodeon's Slime Time Live! from the early 2000's did more-or-less the same thing between weekday Nick shows. Here, though, the emphasis was firmly on the stunts (and hitting everyone with pies). Kids also got to call in and answer trivia about pop culture and the Nick shows airing that day. Energetic Dave Aizer hosted. They were filmed at what were then the Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida - in fact, they might have been some of the last things filmed in them before they closed.  

I remember occasionally catching these between Nick shows in college and largely enjoying them, and I know a lot of people who grew up during the early 2000's who have very fond memories of it. The "episode" I have here is an extra-long series of games from between new episodes of several Nick Toons (including Invader Zim and The Fairly Oddparents) strung together. 

See kids run wild and crazy and create the next big thing in these wacky games!

Oh, and yes...thank heavens, I am now officially on vacation! I have a lot to do before Lauren comes tomorrow, though, including running errands. 

No comments: