Explosive Game Show Secrets That Will Forever Change the Way You Watch!
By Sarah Norman | September 25, 2023
Only 32 Teams In 120 Episodes Ever Won The Temple Run Round Of Legend Of The Hidden Temples
Step right up and get ready to reminisce about the fun and flashy world of game shows! We've spun the wheel, surveyed the audience, and uncovered a treasure trove of fascinating facts from 2021 that will make you want to shout "Come On Down!" faster than you can say "No Whammies!" So grab your lucky charm, and get ready to be tickled by trivia as we unveil the curtain on these delightful, behind-the-scenes tidbits. It's time to let the games begin!
Legends of the Hidden Temple, which aired on Nickelodeon from 1993 to 1995, took contestants on a thrilling journey through a massive, Aztec-themed set. Teams of two competed in various physical and mental challenges, culminating in the climactic Temple Run. The Temple Run was a true test of speed, agility, and teamwork. Contestants had just three minutes to navigate the treacherous temple, filled with locked doors, hidden passages, and spooky "Temple Guards" who could capture them at any moment. It was notoriously difficult to complete. In fact, over the course of the show's 120 episodes, only 32 teams managed to retrieve the artifact and escape the temple in time, earning the coveted grand prize.
Vanna White Was On 'The Price Is Right' In 1980
We all know the beautiful Vanna White from Wheel of Fortune, the show that catapulted her into TV icon status. No one can turn letters like Vanna! But just a couple years before Wheel of Fortune, Vanna was just one of the many contestants hoping to "come on down!" on The Price Is Right. And how did she do? Well, let's just say she didn't quite hit the jackpot. Despite her best efforts, Vanna didn't make it past Contestant's Row. But don't feel too bad for her. This was just a stepping stone in her journey. Just two years later, she would land the co-hosting gig on Wheel of Fortune, a role that she has held with grace and charm since 1982. But her appearance on The Price Is Right serves as a fun reminder that we all have to start somewhere.
All The Food In The 1990s Version OF Supermarket Sweep Was Legit, Except For The Meat And Cheese
The 1990's game show Supermarket Sweep challenged contestants to demonstrate their shopping savvy and knowledge of everyday products, as well as their speed and dexterity, as they raced through a fully-stocked supermarket set. As one would expect in a grocery store, nearly all the food on the set was the real deal, including the fresh produce and boxed items. However, there was one notable exception to the authenticity of the set's provisions: the meat and cheese. The reason why might surprise you, according to former Supermarket Sweep host, David Ruprecht:
All that was fake because [the contestants] get the meat juices on their sweaters, and that’s not telegenic, so they wanted to get rid of that.
Pat Sajak And Vanna White Were Drunk During Some Episodes Of 'Wheel Of Fortune'
Pat Sajak, the charismatic and long-time host of Wheel of Fortune, once confessed that he and the iconic letter-turner Vanna White had been, shall we say, a bit tipsy during some episodes of the beloved show. Back in the crazy 80s, Pat and Vanna would occasionally step out for a break during their long taping sessions. The duo would sneak away to a nearby Mexican restaurant for a little R&R, where they would partake in a couple of margaritas—sometimes more than a couple. The pair would then return to the set, their spirits lifted (literally and figuratively), and carry on with the show. Of course, these shenanigans didn't last forever. As Pat Sajak himself admitted, they eventually grew out of their boozy breaks, and the show continued its successful run, sober as a judge.
Vanna and I would go across and have two or three or six (margaritas), and then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet. Now, if I were to inhale the cork and a bottle of wine I would probably keel over, I’m getting a little older for this.
Mel Blanc Called In To 'Press Your Luck' To Correct The Host
First aired in 1983, Press Your Luck was a high-stakes game of chance, strategy, and timing, where contestants faced off against each other and the mischievous, money-stealing Whammy. Contestants would answer trivia questions to earn spins on the Big Board, a colorful, flashing display filled with cash prizes, vacations, and of course, the dreaded Whammy. The goal? To amass as much money and as many prizes as possible, while avoiding the Whammy at all costs. One of the most memorable moments of the show occurred when Mel Blanc, the voice actor for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and pretty much all of our Looney Tunes faves, called into the show to set the record straight. Host Peter Tomarken had asked "Which Looney Tunes character says "sufferin' succotash?" and marked the contestants' answer of Sylvester wrong, saying it was Daffy the Duck. Blanc, in character as Sylvester, let him know that it was indeed Sylvester's catchline first. Whoops!
There Was A Full Blown Blackmail Scandal Behind The Scenes Of 'Twenty-One'
In the late 1950's, former Twenty-One contestant Herbert Stempel, came forward with allegations that the show's producers had manipulated the outcome of the matches by providing him with the correct answers in advance. Stempel claimed that he had been coached by the producers to deliberately lose a match to Charles Van Doren, an attractive and popular contestant who the producers believed would draw higher ratings. The scandal widened when it was revealed that several other contestants on Twenty-One and other game shows had also been given answers in advance. As the investigation deepened, it became apparent that the manipulation of game shows was widespread, involving other popular shows like Dotto and The $64,000 Question. The revelations led to a public outcry, with viewers feeling betrayed by the shows they had once trusted. As a result, new regulations were put in place to ensure the fairness and integrity of game shows, including tighter oversight by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Richard Dawson Met His Future Wife On 'Family Feud'
The year was 1981, and Richard Dawson was already a household name as the host of Family Feud. Known for his warm, engaging demeanor and his penchant for greeting contestants with a friendly kiss, Dawson had become the heart and soul of the show. And now, his life was about to take a romantic turn. Enter Gretchen Johnson, a beautiful, intelligent, and charming contestant who was part of the Johnson family competing on Family Feud. Sparks flew from the moment Dawson and Johnson laid eyes on each other. They stayed in touch after the episode, and their connection blossomed into a full-fledged romance. The couple dated for several years before tying the knot in 1991, and they went on to have a daughter named Shannon Nicole. Their love story stood the test of time, as Dawson and Johnson remained happily married until Dawson's passing in 2012.
Jay Leno And Arsenio Hall Got Their Start On 'Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour'
Jay Leno, who would later become the host of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was already a well-known stand-up comedian by the time he appeared on the game show Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour. Arsenio Hall, on the other hand, was still up-and-coming and relatively unknown during his appearance. However, both comedians entertained the audience with humorous answers and banter. Leno appeared on three weeks worth of episodes in '83 and '84, while Hall was on a whopping five weeks worth the same years.
Richard Dawson Let Deaf Kids Know They Were Loved
As you may know, Richard Dawson was famous for his warm demeanor and signature move of planting a kiss on contestants. But he had another sweet, lesser-known habit that deserves its own moment in the spotlight. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Family Feud was in its heyday, Richard Dawson would make a point of signing "I love you" to the camera during each episode. Why, you ask? Well, Richard wanted to ensure that deaf kids watching the show knew they were loved and included. It was a small gesture, but meaningful in a time when accessibility and inclusiveness were not yet common conversation topics. Dawson didn't have to do it, but he chose to, simply because he cared.
The Panelists On Match Game Were Drunk
Match Game was a beloved American television game show that originally aired from 1962 to 1969, and later had multiple revivals. The format of the show involved two contestants trying to match answers with a panel of six celebrities in a fill-in-the-blank style game. Match Game's atmosphere was known to be friendly, fun, and loose...sometimes a bit too loose. Filming days would be long, and the cast would often take long, vodka-laden breaks for dinner, according to panelist Fannie Flagg:
Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers would have martinis and get a little loopidy-doopidy. Those are some of my favorite memories.
The Qualifying Questions For 'Jeopardy!' Are Deliberately Harder Than On-Screen Ones
we all know that Jeopardy! isn't for the faint of heart. To even have a shot at gracing that famous stage, potential contestants have to prove their mettle through a series of rigorous tests. And it turns out that the show's producers have a sneaky little trick up their sleeves—they intentionally make the qualifying questions even more difficult than the ones that end up on the televised episodes. It's all part of the master plan to ensure that only the best and brightest make it onto the show. By making the qualifying questions tougher, they're essentially putting contestants through a trial by fire, a mental gauntlet designed to separate the true trivia titans from the mere mortals. So, the next time you're watching Jeopardy! and find yourself marveling at the contestants' seemingly endless reservoir of knowledge, remember that they've already conquered an even more daunting challenge just to get there!
Alex Trebek's Usual Breakfast On Taping Days Was A Diet Soda And Candy
Picture it: the sun is just rising, the studio is buzzing with anticipation, and there's Alex Trebek, sipping on his diet soda and nibbling on a piece of candy as he prepares to take the stage. That's right, even the man who became synonymous with intellect and sophistication had a sweet tooth and a taste for the simple pleasures in life, though in 2013 he made a slight change to his diet:
This past year I ran into a nutritionist who said, ‘Oh, Alex that’s terrible! You’ve got to be eating better than that at the start of the day.’ So I changed. I stopped eating Snickers and Diet Pepsi and I replaced them with Milky Ways and Diet Cokes. So you’re not going to catch me eating properly in the mornings. I do have a good solid dinner every evening.
We're glad to know Trebek got at least one good meal a day!
Serial Killer Rodney Alcala Was On 'The Dating Game'
In 1978, something downright eerie happened on the set of the popular TV show, The Dating Game. Unbeknownst to the producers, the other contestants, and the lovely bachelorette, one of the charming bachelors vying for a date was a serial killer. At the time of the episode, Rodney Alcala had already committed several rapes and murders, and had been convicted, sentenced, and paroled for child molestation. Despite his hidden, grisly past, Alcala managed to charm his way onto the show, unbeknownst to everyone involved. He was the winning bachelor of the episode, but the bachelorette, Cheryl Bradshaw, refused to go on a date with him as off-camera she found him very unsettling. Bachelor #2 from the episode, Jed Mills, also found that Alcala made him very uncomfortable:
He was quiet, but at the same time, he would interrupt and impose when he felt like it. And he was very obnoxious and creepy — he became very unlikable and rude and imposing as though he was trying to intimidate. I wound up not only not liking this guy … not wanting to be near him … he got creepier and more negative. He was a standout creepy guy in my life.
Contestants On 'Jeopardy!' Submit Their Final Jeopardy Wagers On Paper In Front Of The Crew First
Did you know that Jeopardy! contestants actually submit their wagers on paper, in front of the crew, before the final round begins? Let's explore this intriguing aspect of the game that doesn't make it to our TV screens. By having contestants write their wagers on paper, the show's crew can double-check the numbers and ensure that everything is on the up-and-up. It also provides a record of the contestants' original wagers, preventing any disputes or misunderstandings that could arise during the high-pressure final moments of the game. Once the wagers are written down, they're collected by the crew and verified before being entered into the system. Only then do the contestants see their wagers appear on their screens, and the nail-biting Final Jeopardy round commences.
Lifelines On 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' Could Google Answers
As you may recall, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? originally featured three lifelines: 50/50, Phone-a-Friend, and Ask the Audience. However, as the show evolved and technology advanced, the lifelines were updated to include options like "Ask the Expert" and "Switch the Question." But one lifeline in particular took advantage of the ever-growing power of the internet: Phone-a-Friend. The friend on the other end of the line, armed with a computer and an internet connection, could quickly Google the answer and provide the information to the contestant within the allotted 30 seconds. In essence, this lifeline became a cleverly disguised way to Google the answers during the game. Of course, the Phone-a-Friend lifeline was initially designed to allow contestants to reach out to a knowledgeable friend or family member who might possess the required expertise or insight to help with the question at hand. However, as technology evolved and access to information became more readily available, the lifeline took on a new form.
Bob Barker Asked 'The Price Is Right' Producers To Chill With "Leather Jackets And Fur Coats As Prizes"
Bob Barker, who hosted The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007, was a staunch supporter of animal rights throughout his life. As a devoted advocate for animal welfare, he used his influence to make changes on the set of "The Price Is Right," urging producers to reconsider some of the prizes that were being offered. Barker spoke up and asked the producers to take a more compassionate approach, and the producers listened. Over time, the show phased out fur coats and leather jackets, opting for more animal-friendly prizes instead. Way to go, Bob!
The Set Of 'Win, Lose Or Draw' Was Based On Burt Reynolds's Living Room
Win, Lose or Draw was created by Burt Reynolds and his close friend, television host and producer Bert Convy. As the story goes, Reynolds and Convy were playing a game of charades at Reynolds's home one evening when inspiration struck. They realized that the concept of having players draw clues instead of acting them out could be the basis for a fun and engaging game show. But it wasn't just the game's premise that was inspired by that fateful night at Burt Reynolds's home—it was also the set design itself. When it came time to create the set for the show, the producers wanted to recreate the comfortable, laid-back atmosphere of Reynolds's living room, where the idea for the show had first taken shape.
Bob Barker And Betty White Reportedly Feuded Over An Elephant
Bob Barker and Betty White were both well-known for their dedication to animal rights, and their shared love for our furry and feathered friends brought them together on many occasions. However, their friendship reportedly hit a bump in the road when they found themselves at odds over the fate of Billy, an elephant living at the Los Angeles Zoo. Barker, who had donated millions to animal rights causes throughout his career, believed that Billy should be moved from the zoo to a sanctuary, arguing that the zoo's small enclosure was inadequate for an animal of Billy's size. On the other hand, Betty White, who was a zoo enthusiast and a long-time member of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, believed that Billy was well cared for and content at the zoo. Billy ended up staying put at the zoo, much to Bob Barker's displeasure.
'Family Feud' Pleaded With Richard Dawson To Stop Kissing Contestants, But He Refused
Richard Dawson, who hosted Family Feud from 1976 to 1985, was known for his charisma and quick wit. However, he was also well-known for his habit of greeting female contestants with a kiss on the lips. Dawson's "kissing bandit" reputation became a signature part of his hosting style, but the show's producers were less than thrilled with Dawson's penchant for puckering up. Concerned that the kisses might be perceived as inappropriate, they reportedly asked Dawson to tone it down and refrain from kissing contestants. Dawson, however, had a different perspective. Believing that his kisses were a genuine expression of warmth and goodwill, Dawson refused to comply with the producers' request. To Dawson, the smooches were an integral part of the Family Feud experience, and he was determined to continue the tradition.
Ray Combs Delivered A Major Burn On His Final Hosting Appearance On 'Family Feud'
Ray Combs, a stand-up comedian, was chosen as the new host of Family Feud in 1988. He brought his own brand of humor and warmth to the show, successfully carrying on the legacy left by Richard Dawson. However, by 1994, the show's ratings had declined, and the producers made the decision to bring Dawson back in order to revive popularity.
Combs was understandably disappointed and hurt by the decision, but at least his final episode of Family Feud was a memorable one. During the "Fast Money" round, Combs told one man whose answers resulted in zero points:
You know, I've done this show for six years and this [is] the first time I had a person that actually got no points and I think it's a damn fine way to go out. Thought I was a loser until you walked up here; you made me feel like a man!
Monty Hall From 'Let's Make A Deal' Is Immortalized By A Statistical Conundrum
Let's Make A Deal, which first aired in 1963, was known for its colorful set, zany contestants dressed in costumes, and, of course, Monty Hall, the charming host who invited contestants to choose from a variety of doors, boxes, and curtains in the hopes of winning fabulous prizes or avoiding the dreaded "zonks." The Monty Hall Problem emerged as a direct result of the show's format. It's a probability puzzle that has stumped mathematicians, statisticians, and casual observers alike. The problem goes like this: imagine you're a contestant on Let's Make A Deal, and Monty Hall presents you with three doors. Behind one door is a car, and behind the other two are goats. You choose a door, say Door 1. Monty, who knows what's behind each door, opens another door, say Door 3, revealing a goat. He then asks if you'd like to switch your choice to Door 2 or stick with Door 1. What should you do? If you switch, the probability of winning the car is 2/3, while sticking with your initial choice gives you only a 1/3 chance. Ow, my brain!
The "Answer In The Form Of A Question" Format Of Jeopardy Was Designed To Win Back Audiences After A Series Of Fixed Game Shows
In the 1950s, the game show landscape was rocked by a series of scandals involving fixed quiz shows. Popular shows like Twenty-One and The $64,000 Question were revealed to have been rigged, with producers providing contestants with answers in advance to boost ratings and create dramatic storylines. In 1964, television producer Merv Griffin saw an opportunity to restore faith in game shows and win back audiences. He created Jeopardy!, a show that would be as transparent as possible, would revolutionize the format and reinvigorate the genre. The now-iconic "answer in the form of a question" format was a central part of this strategy. In Jeopardy!, contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, and they must respond with the correct question. This innovative format ensured that contestants could not be provided with answers in advance, as they would still need to come up with the corresponding question on the spot. By flipping the script, Griffin effectively eliminated the possibility of rigging the game and created a sense of authenticity that had been lacking in previous game shows. What is brilliant?
The Last Surviving Witness Of President Lincoln's Assassination Appeared On 'I've Got A Secret' In 1956
February 9, 1956 was a remarkable moment in television history. Samuel J. Seymour, the last surviving witness of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination appeared on the popular game show "I've Got A Secret'. Samuel, born on March 28, 1860, in Talbot County, Maryland, was just five years old when he attended Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, and became an unwitting witness to one of the most infamous moments in American history. , He was in the company of his godmother, Mrs. Goldsboro, to see the play "Our American Cousin', but they ended up frozen in horror as John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, assassinated President Lincoln in his box seat. In 1956, then 96-year-old Seymour's secret was, of course, that he was a witness that night.
The Contestants On Jeopardy All Look Like They're The Same Height Because They're Standing On Moveable Platforms
Have you ever noticed that all the Jeopardy! contestants appear to be roughly the same height? This is no accident or coincidence; it's the result of a clever piece of stage design that ensures every contestant appears to be on equal footing, both literally and figuratively. To achieve this effect, the producers of "Jeopardy!" use moveable platforms, also known as "contestant risers," on which the contestants stand during the game. These adjustable platforms can be raised or lowered to accommodate the varying heights of the contestants, ensuring that each player's head is roughly level with the others. This serves a practical purpose: by ensuring that all contestants are at a similar eye level, the show's cameras can easily capture each player's face without having to constantly adjust the angles, making for smoother transitions and a more polished viewing experience.
Merv Griffin, The Creator of Jeopardy And Wheel of Fortune, Composed The Theme Song For The Former In Less Than 30 Seconds
Merv Griffin was a man of many talents. Before he became a television mogul, he was a successful singer and band leader. His love of music never left him, even as he transitioned into television production. According to Griffin, he came up with the Jeopardy! theme song in less than a minute as a lullaby for his son. Little did he know at the time that this simple, earworm-inducing tune - officially titled "Think!" - would become one of the most recognizable melodies in television history. Fun fact, "Think!" actually has lyrics:
We're in trouble — trouble deep!
We're imperiled and endangered.
We're in trouble, yes indeed,
We are all in Jeopardy!
Paul Feig Appeared On The $25,000 Pyramid So He Could Win Enough Cash To Quit His Day Job And Pursue Stand Up Comedy
Before he became known for his work on popular projects like Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids, and The Office, Paul Feig was a struggling performer trying to make a name for himself in the world of stand-up comedy. In search of a financial boost to help him quit his day job and focus on comedy, Feig decided to try his luck on The $25,000 Pyramid, a popular game show where contestants could win substantial cash prizes. The show, which first aired in the 1970s, paired contestants with celebrity partners as they attempted to guess words and phrases based on a series of clues. His gamble on The $25,000 Pyramid paid off. Feig managed to win a significant cash prize, reportedly around $29,000, allowing him to leave his day job and fully commit to his comedy career.
Dr. Joyce Brothers Upended Gender Stereotypes With Her Two Game Show Appearances
In 1955, Dr. Joyce Brothers made history with her appearance on the popular game show, The $64,000 Question, where contestants were quizzed on various topics for prizes. Dr. Brothers chose to compete in the category of boxing, a subject typically associated with men. Despite facing skepticism from both the show's producers and the public, Dr. Brothers demonstrated her extensive knowledge of the sport, eventually winning the top prize of $64,000. A few years later, Dr. Brothers made another memorable appearance on a spin off of The $64,000 Question, The $64,000 Challenge. She once again once the maximum prize, continuing to defy gender norms and expectations and showcasing her sharp intellect..
President Lyndon Johnson Introduced The New White House Secretary On 'What's My Line?'
In 1964, during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, an episode of What's My Line? took an unexpected turn when it was used as a platform to introduce the new White House secretary, Geraldine Whittington, to the world. Mrs. Whittington was also the first African American to hold this role. During the episode, the panelists were unaware of the President's appearance and were blindfolded as usual, as they attempted to guess the occupation of the mystery guest—the newly appointed White House executive secretary. Do you think they guessed it within the ten question limit?
The Hatfields And The McCoys Faced Off On 'Family Feud' In 1979
The Hatfield-McCoy feud, which originated in the late 19th century, is one of America's most famous and enduring family rivalries. It began due to a revenge plot that transpired during the civil war, and has since then been full of violence and deep-seated animosity throughout the decades. However, fast forward to 1975, the Hatfield and McCoy families shook hands, officially declaring peace. Just a few years later, members of the family appeared on Family Feud as part of a week-long special. Though the Hatfields ended up winning, the event was all in good fun, fostering a sense of camaraderie between the two families.
There Were Forbidden Words On 'The Match Game'
Match Game was a popular television game show that gained widespread popularity for its humor, innuendo, and playful banter between the host and panelists. However, despite its casual and relaxed atmosphere, there were still certain restrictions in place regarding the language used on the show. During the 1970s, when the show was at its peak, television was subject to stricter censorship rules. As a result, certain words or phrases that were considered inappropriate, offensive, or vulgar were not allowed to be used on the air. However, the clever panelists and writers often found ways to work around these restrictions by using innuendo, double entendres, and clever wordplay. A. Ashley Hoff, author of Match Game 101: A Backstage History of Match Game, notes that this added an extra layer of humor to the show:
The real wit came in the use of euphemisms. They provided deeper laughs than a one-note ha-ha.