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Sunday, 21 March 2010

Freakish Television memories PT2.

So apart from kids TV, the other stuff I watched a lot of as a youngster were game shows. American game shows. Probably the strangest thing about old Sky was the way they would, in the morning after their cartoons were over, they would run game shows from 9am onward. People in big glasses and bigger hair playing various shows and possibly winning a car. The three axes of evil for gameshows were, Sky (now Sky One), SuperChannel (later NBC Europe, now long since cancelled.) and Lifestyle Channel which was owned by WH Smiths (though we didn't know this at the time, oh and also completely extinct).


Superchannel was weird, they had Voltron and Rambo, and for a while Jackpot. When they were NBC Europe they also had Jay Leno's talkshow at 9pm weekdays which was da bomb, though to be honest we never ever watched the talkshow bits, only Jay and especially Headlines.

Jackpot worked like this - you had a small audience of people with one person at the front answering questions, from a selected person from the bunch. If they get it wrong they changed places with the person who answered the questions. Looking on Youtube it seems to have been part of NBC which is why we got it on Superchannel. Not a lot of fun here and to be honest looking at it now it just seems so redundant.

Sky One.

A major player in game show excellence, Sky circa 1990 had: Press Your Luck, Concentration, Lets make a deal, Card Sharks and Jeopardy with Alex Trebek.

Press Your Luck.
Press your luck. Don't remember a whole lot about this. Don't remember the set up or scoring either. In fact the only thing I remember is this. They had a little red cartoon dude called the Whammy, when a person fucked up on the show, he would come and perform some dumbass trick like mess with tnt, this would backfire and the contestant would lose all his cash.

W00t Tnt and a whole lot moar here.
In hindsight looks like the attract screen of a fruit machine. Maybe it was.

In a related note, listening to old acid track Phortune House Rights (Fight For it), theres a sample that sounds suspiciously like it could be the whammy, saying don't take my house.

Concentration was an NBC show based on the concept of find two panels that match on a board of squares. You then had to solve the riddle underneath, we remember one being Good Golly Miss Molly for some unknown reason. Your host was Alex Trebek, who also did Jeopardy as well. There's an English version with Bob Carolgees, though it's unknown if Spit the Dog was involved as well (He probably was gobbing at the contestants, the dirty Bast).


Another Alex Trebek hosted show and probably the one he's best known for, there's a bit of it in Airplane if you're wondering. The aim of the game is to answer questions on a board, but only in the form of a question. Questions were phrased thusly: A painful attack to the genitals caused by swift attack of a foot, you would be answer like this, What is a kick in the Bollocks, Alex? (two hours writhing on the ground and all chances of fatherhood dashed). The show was entertaining enough for Sky to do their own version with Paul Coia, it was, just like Bob Carolgees version of Concentration unmitigated shite.

Card Sharks.

An American version of Play Your Cards Right, this was hosted by Bob Eubanks instead of Brucie and lets face it apart from the name change was identical minus Bruces catchphrases).

Lets Make A Deal.

Imagine the horrors of Cosplay, now make a gameshow based around this, a whole audience dressed up as one mass of wrong and you'll begin to understand why Lets Make A Deal sucked balls. We stuck it out for 5minutes back in 1992, we normally liked the gameshows but this was seriously crap.

Lifestyle Channel.
They only had two gameshows and both were excellent, The original American version of Supermarket Sweep and The Jokers Wild mixing One armed bandits and questions.

Supermarket Sweep.

When you're in store and you hear that beep, think of the fun you'll be having, on supermarket sweep. Sheer bloody poetry that, hosted by David Ruprecht. Three teams of contestants, asked general knowledge about produce in general before they were allowed to go 'wild in the aisles' with the time they accumulated from said questions. Spicing it up were large foam props to pick up and assorted doofuses in fancy dress to generally hassle the contestants. Fondest memories came from this pure mix of greed and people haring round a condemned supermarket.

Looking up on this, both the U.S and U.K versions were almost similar, though we didn't get any people in costumes. The U.K version was also a big success with Dale Winton as host, something you couldn't easily say with the usual US game show conversions.

The Jokers Wild.

A game based on a fruit machine, you spun reels and answered questions on stuff that came up. If you got 3 jokers you won. In fact, they had this guy who seemed to be on every week, and as it was winner stayed on, looked like he was there for months. We figured he looked like a serial killer possibly from being on that show for months at a time.

There's a UK gameshow of the same name but has 4000% more Bernard Manning than is strictly necessary and is nothing to do with the show itself. It has Frank 'Its a cracker' Carson too though that may just be me thinking of The Comedians instead.

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