Merv Griffin and Game Shows

I was sad to hear of the passing of Merv Griffin today who was the creator of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!  I am a HUGE fan of game shows.  In fact, when Time Warner moved the Game Show Network to a “premium package” I almost decided to pony up the extra dough just to get it back.  Game shows are a unique phenomenon.  The reason I love them might surprise you.

I am a fan of the game shows where people lose and lose big.  I figure that it is a windfall anyway so why not watch someone whose greed causes them to lose all they have gained up until that point in the show.  My favorite all time show for this was Joker’s Wild.  In that show you had to answer question like, “Who was the second in command at the Battle of Bunker Hill” and other impossible quesitons to advance in the preliminary round.  If you were lucky enough to make it out of that round you had to “Beat the Devil.”  In that round you would pull what appeared to be a giant slot machine lever and three cards with dollar amounts would appear on the screen.  If you spun enough times to reach a total of $1000 you would win a car.  At any point along the way you could stop and keep the money because if the Devil card came up you would lose it all.  I can’t tell you how many times someone would get to $975 and decide to risk it and the cards would come up, “$100, $50, Devil, oh I’m so sorry, we will see you next time on Joker’s Wild!”  I loved it.  🙂

 Other favorites—Press Your Luck (Whammy’s would take your money); Jackpot, $100,000 Pyramid; Password; Card Sharks (where players would play “Big Money” and typically lose most of it); Tic Tac Dough; Family Feud;  and of course, The Price is Right.  I loved the Lucky 7 game on that show–it was next to impossible to win as well–but the Yodeler was the best–he would Yodel all the way up the mountain depending on how many dollars you miss guessed—and then fall off the edge when you missed too much.

 Deal or No Deal is the ultimate show of greed–how often do people turn down the bank at the moment when they could have had the most money?  Oh well, it’s just a game!


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