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Monday, March 20

Top Five Game Shows From My Youth: #3 “Classic Concentration”

(A public service announcement before we start – The Girlfriend had her eye surgery on Friday and while it may have irritated her the way a dog gets irritated when you blow in its face, she made it through and is recovering nicely. She should be able to see again by mid-week, and until then the Stevie Wonder jokes will fly through my parents house while she sits at the dinner table in her sunglasses. To quote my mom: “We make fun of you because we love you.” I don’t think that has the loving sentiment she was shooting for, but it’s honest if nothing else. On with the Top Five.)

The Premise

This show was kind of like the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indiana had to survive all those booby traps in the cave leading to the Holy Grail. First he overcomes the “only the penitent man will pass” section, but then just as he thinks he’s made it, he has to traverse the faux stone floor by spelling out Jehovah with his steps. But in Latin it begins with an I!

In much the same way, the two contestants would first go head-to-head in a memory matching game. Competition was often intense.
















The contestants sat before a board of 30 squares, each of which concealed the name of a prize. One at a time, the contestants called out two numbers, and if the prizes matched, whatever prize was printed on the card was placed on a board behind the contestant and added to their booty.

More importantly, matching two squares removed them from the board, revealing underneath a rebus, which is not a cut of meat, but rather a puzzle where you decode a message consisting of pictures representing syllables and words. The player could try to solve the rebus or choose two more numbers. Here’s an example of a rebus I created:

(I’m just kidding – as any rebus-lover knows, many rebuses use sarcasm! And no, much to my dismay it isn’t “rebii.”)

The Host

Only a man so in love with his own legend would wake up one morning, look himself in the mirror and say, “The world needs you to host three game shows, Alex.” That man was Alex Trebek.

Like a well oiled machine, Trebek abstained from sex, travel, horseplay, and leisure on a whole in his conquest of the game show world while simultaneously hosting “Jeopardy,” “Classic Concentration,” and the short lived reincarnation of “To Tell The Truth,” which presumably failed because Alex decided it was to fail. Considered to be his “lighter side” gig, “Classic Concentration” gave Trebek a forum for his cozier, more humane side, most notably when he pet a terrified chiwawa at the end of the show.

(Cut to scene of Alex Trebek sitting in front of his computer at home, leaning toward the monitor. He is reading my blog and shaking his head in disappointment. When he is done, he slowly turns to a large man in a suit standing beside him and silently nods his head. I am dead within the week.)

There was also some controversy when the original prize model on the show, the well received Diana Taylor, was replaced only a few weeks in by Marjorie Goodson-Cutt who was conveniently the daughter of Mark Goodson, the producer of the show, and wife of crewman Tim Cutt. Talk about your nepotistic slut! Anyway . . .

The Highlights

Because they were basically giving away like 13 prizes per game, they couldn’t make them all quality prizes. So while one match would yield an Alaskan cruise the next would his and hers bath towels. Plus, along with there being prizes underneath the tiles, there were also things called “Takes.” Getting a take basically meant that you could “take” any one of the prizes your adversary had won off the board. It was hilarious when one contestant would simply dominate the board, matching up all the prizes while the other contestant sat there with the his and hers towels on their board, until finally the dominant contestant would get a Take and strip them of the one thing they had left to hang onto. You could just tell Trebek loved doing this. He would stare the person directly in the eye while he took away those his and hers towels.

By the way, is it just me or was Scientology MADE for Alex Trebek? I feel like he is the pinnacle of what all Scientologists strive to become. Ironic if the reason he isn’t one is because they don’t allow Canadians . . . Actually, that’s not ironic at all, it’s just bigoted.

Why I Liked It

Because you’d have to be a real asshole to not like a good rebus.
















What Was Wrong With It

For one thing, the blind couldn’t play along at home. That always bothered me.

Furthermore, I don’t care how many Stanford grads you have working on your rebus team, there’s only so much you can do with using pictures to spell out phrases. It got to the point where as soon as you saw a flesh colored bit of picture you knew it was the bent leg with the three red arrows pointing at the knee and the phrase probably contained the word “need,” “any,” or “many.” Plus the range of difficulty on the puzzles was inane. It went from “so easy English didn’t even have to be your first language” to “so hard if I were a high school student and rebuses were a subject I would slam my book in frustration and shout at my parents ‘I hate rebuses. And I hate you!’ ” But once I learned that rebuses could be fun and were a vital part of my education, I would have come to appreciate them for the delightful tidbits of puzzlery they are.

9 Comments:

Two things:

1. That guy in that photo won an electric blanket. If I won an electric blanket on a game show, I'd take a rusty shiv and carve out the producer's occular cavity. That's just obnoxious. I just hope he's from South Florida.

2. "In the Latin alphabet, Jehovah starts with an I" is one of my all-time favorite movie quotes. Kudos bar to you for using it and making me feel warm inside my underpants.

By Blogger Ace Cowboy, at 5:21 PM  

Kudos Bar indeed.

But I think the greatest quote from any of the Indy movies is...

"IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!"

By Blogger tall 1, at 5:55 PM  

"Men don't make passes..." = best rebus ever. Ever.

By Blogger Cupcake, at 8:38 PM  

I had an Old Testament class in college and laughed every time the priest said booty. I still laugh. Booty... haha.

This was my absolute favorite game show. I would stay home to watch this show and I was a geek and hated missing school because I loved learning.

Glad to hear the g/f is doing well...

By Blogger Julie_Gong, at 8:55 PM  

Extra effort award goes to you for making your own rebus, and for teaching us the word rebus. I searched high and low all over the internet for a clip from a similar British game show in which the pieces blocking the puzzle made it look like a guy was getting blown by some kind of animal.

Remember when Alex would walk over to the puzzle and explain the whole fricking thing? That show was damn hard.

By Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, at 9:22 PM  

In my reasearch, I learned that they actually had to force Alex to stop explaining the rebus after it had been solved, and instead let the contestant do the explaining. Now I want to go back and watch this part of the show, just to see his face tighten up when the contestant walks over to the board as he thinks, "You know nothing compared to me. Nothing."

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 11:38 PM  

this is actually the fifth time i've been trying to go past the word verification barrier and make a -silly- comment. it changes every time into something different.
It makes fun of me!

By Blogger Chloe, at 4:50 AM  

I hate rebuses. And I hate you! I do!

Ok, not really. You're too cute and funny to hate, man...dammit.

But I never could do one of those things, and hated Concentration because of them. At this point, I seriously can't wait to see what your top 2 game shows are. I don't even wanna list any of the ones that I've been watching for, because I want to be all the more surprised!

How sick am I?

By Blogger Faith, at 2:57 PM  

Waitwaitwait... sorry, I am apparently very dense, but: "Rebuses are sing-shoot"? Clearly your rebus is too hard for me....

By Blogger Dennis!, at 6:04 PM  

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