"" Writer's Wanderings: In My Lifetime--Game Shows

Thursday, October 04, 2007

In My Lifetime--Game Shows

I watched Wheel of Fortune last night and saw Vanna in dazzling evening gown lightly touch the puzzle board and set the letters in motion, popping up for the first round. She's come a long way in 25 years. So far that I'm surprised she still has a job. The puzzle board is so automated that except for "window dressing," she really isn't necessary. Any one else remember when she had to actually turn the letters around?

Game/quiz shows have been consistently popular as long as I can remember. They were also a point of cotroversy back in the late 50s when it was discovered that some shows were feeding answers to contestants they wanted to continue on. The $64,000 Question was one that was investigated.

Lots of game shows have come and gone. Some I watched were: Password, Hollywood Squares, The Dating Game, Let's Make a Deal, $10,000 Pyramid, Family Feud, and Jeopardy (back when Art Fleming was host, too).

Perhaps the greatest of these (in my opinion) and the longest lasting is The Price Is Right. It's been going since 1972 and looks to continue even after Bob Barker's retirement. I remember watching Barker on Truth or Consequences before TPIR.

Certainly game shows have truly changed in the amount of money people can win. Inflation perhaps? Deal Or No Deal this week was trying to give away a million bucks. They were trying so hard, they had four suitcases with a cool mil in them.

So, why the popularity? Is it the fantasy of winning big? The challenge of knowing the answers (Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?)? Whatever the reason we all love to watch. . .and dream.

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