Flashy Games
February 7, 2005 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Remember when game shows had a soul? All the bug-eating and voting off has left me wishing for the golden age of games. Reminisce with some well-designed classic bonus rounds here.
posted by AloneOssifer (18 comments total)
I used to be a writer on many of these old game shows, including The Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares. Thanks for the good words about the good old bad old days. And, yes, most of the celebrities were blasted.
posted by worbid411 at 3:46 PM on February 7, 2005

I recently watched "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (not recommended despite my being a big fan of Charlie Kaufman's other films.) But it was striking to see its portrayal of Chuck Barris being vilified for his role in dumbing down TV when even The Gong Show seems restrained by modern standards.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:51 PM on February 7, 2005

Well, if you turn off your TVs, you could always play some Diplomacy. ;-P
posted by mischief at 3:52 PM on February 7, 2005

When I was a youngster, I used to watch the networks' morning game shows whenever I was home from school for whatever reason. Scrabble was probably my favorite. Much more entertaining than the syndicated Millionaire or whatever else is left over from the 1999-2001 game show boom.
posted by aaronetc at 3:59 PM on February 7, 2005

These silly old game shows have a certain joy of performance in them that most others nowadays lack. It doesn't seem like anyone goes on Fear Factor for fun - and it almost seems like you couldn't, unless you're a masochist - they do it to win, and for the challenge of defeating horrible obstacles. The joke's on them.

On the other hand, the cheery "we're all here to have fun and dole out some cool stuff" vibe of Price is Right was simply perfect for sick days and snow days. Good times.

At least Who Wants to Be A Millionaire retains positivity, but it's just not the same. The set should be more neon-puke.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:26 PM on February 7, 2005

Oh yes, I remember the old game shows. You can still catch some of the oldies on GSN but it is depressing so many of those people are off this planet. I totally agree about the bug stuff.
posted by lag at 4:46 PM on February 7, 2005

wordbid411 - Were you around for the exit of Paul Lynde from Hollywood Squares?
The story I've always heard is that Mr. Lynde, expressed (in rather nasty terms) complete and utter disdain for the studio audience while very much under the influence.
Supposedly, that was his last day on HS....
posted by cows of industry at 5:18 PM on February 7, 2005

I love these shows. Especially Match Game (which is, indeed, still on Game Show Network.)

I love TV Party, too - one of my favorite sites.

A special favorite is the information on "Lost" kids shows - specific to region and city, as well.

Though damn! You didn't used to have to pay for it :(
posted by OhPuhLeez at 5:21 PM on February 7, 2005

Great stuff, and I'll second the Match Game lovin'. That show got me through many boring after-school-finished-homework afternoons.

worbid411: Brett Somers. Loved her. But her claim to fame was [blank]?

She always seemed to be there because she essentially was Charles Nelson Reilly in drag, but I know this can't be the real reason...
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:29 PM on February 7, 2005

I think there's still some good game shows around, just not as many.

"The Amazing Race," while still dishing up the gross bug-eating challenges, is also an amazing travelogue and consistently features interesting people.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 5:36 PM on February 7, 2005

Two that really stand out for me are "Just Like Mom" which was a Canadian mother/child take on the newlywed game with a finale consisting of a "food" item created by the kids that had to be guessed by the mom, it was usually just a bunch of ingredients slapped together (it almost foreshadowed fear factor). The second one was "Its Your Move" where the grand prize was $75 or one of those brown jerrold tv converters with the cable and long row of buttons. Genuine class.
posted by phirleh at 5:46 PM on February 7, 2005

As campy and entertaining as Match Game was, I wouidn't say it had soul...I've seen some episodes of the 1950's "What's My Line?" and it was amazing to see how funny, intelligent and grown-up TV used to be.

Game Show Network used to show "What's My Line?" "Match Game" and "The Gong Show" (not back-to-back, but close enough together). Watch them all in a row and you can feel civilization slowly crashing and burning. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by PlusDistance at 5:50 PM on February 7, 2005

I think of all the TV of my youth that I miss the most and it's the game shows. Now that cartoons like Challenge of the Superfirends and Spiderman are on DVD, I'm amazed that I bothered to sit through that schlock, but I would watch a Match Game/ Joker's Wild marathon with no qualms whatsoever.

Little Bo Peep lost her (blank).

Joker! Joker! Things about horses. Jack, I'd like to go off the board and take Sodium for $50.
posted by DonnieSticks at 9:04 PM on February 7, 2005

Well, there's always "Jeopardy!"... I miss Art Fleming, but Alex Trebek runs a pretty tight ship. It's still about the questions (answers) and the competition, not about glitz, T & A, or grossouts.
posted by alumshubby at 4:38 AM on February 8, 2005

Forgetful Frank is so forgetful...
(how forgetful is he?!?!?)
Whenever he tries to remember his mind goes (blank)

My sons favorite when ever anyone talks about match game.
posted by angrynative at 5:58 AM on February 8, 2005

"Brett Somers. Loved her. But her claim to fame was [blank]?"

She was Jack Klugman's wife and ex-wife, and also played that role in the Odd Couple TV series.
posted by Ben Grimm at 6:40 AM on February 8, 2005

It was the oddest thing; I never thought there was much use for Game Show Network until last spring when my girlfriend and I just randomly started watching Match Game when we got a satellite TV system installed. We just fell in love with it. Neither of us had ever seen it before (I'm 23 and she's 25, if that helps). The interplay between Brett and Charles Nelson Reilly was golden, but I think it was Gene Rayburn who really held the thing together. Even when that late 80's/early 90's version of MG they show sometimes has Brett & Charles on it, it still isn't quite the same without Gene. He was an awesome host; I was googling up information on him one day when I came across this, which just broke my heart it was so sad (though I must admit on an aside that it is kinda funny that Al Roker apparently had some sort of proto-blog in 1996).

Sadly, GSN is gearing more and more towards reality stuff; they don't show the classics as much and thus I don't really watch it all that much anymore.

re: Brett Somers, I think the way it went was that they had originally wanted Jack Klugman for the show and he had brought her along when he was doing it, but he didn't work out very well as a panelist; they ended up keeping her. I don't remember for sure though, it's been a while since I read about it.
posted by Kosh at 7:39 AM on February 8, 2005

Mark Goodson, who created or co-created many of these shows on GSN, liked to have one person fill the "villain" role on the panel shows like Match Game and What's My Line? Brett Sommers filled that role on the Match Game. She was the celebrity that everyone loved to hate. Dorothy Kilgallen was the originator of that role on What's My Line.
posted by worbid411 at 8:37 AM on February 8, 2005

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