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September 22, 2016

Game show theme snippets

In lieu of my usual Mystery fare, this past week I compiled snippets from some of my favorite game show themes. Congrats to game show guru Mandelweb for claiming the top spot, with WooJ and Sharpj picking up the silver and bronze. (Click here for the quiz.)

Never fear, I’m back on track: KW Mystery #20 is now open. (It’s actually the 19th in the series, but for some reason I forgot how to count.) It closes Sunday evening; it’s already got a lot of entries in its first 6 hours.

If you’re all set, let’s get ready to…


Question 1

Name the show.


The waka-waka funk sound should have given this one away.

On another note, I’m a Charles Nelson Reilly guy; which panelist are you?

Question 2

Name the show.


By far the highest get rate of the group; I guess a lot of you also skipped school to watch it.

Also of note: wasn’t Rod Roddy the man? For a brief period I thought he and my dad were the same person, almost entirely because of their similar glasses.

Question 3

Name the show.


The first ‘stopper’ in the field goes to Scrabble, the brilliant Chuck Woolery-hosted adaptation (some might say bastardization) of the board game. If you haven’t seen this show, it’s definitely worth a go on YouTube; unfortunately, reruns don’t air on TV all that often.

Question 4

Name the show.


Speaking of brilliant shows: the all-too-short-lived Blockbusters falls in this category as well. It was a take on the board game Hex, created by game theory maestro John Nash, in which players try to connect a chain of their own color across the board.

The rub: players could only claim a hexagonal cell by answering a trivia question with a word starting with a specific letter. The further rub: the original Blockbusters was two-on-one, with the “family pair” needing to get five in a row against the solo player’s four. (This negated any first-mover advantage of the original Hex game.)

Question 5

Name the show. You must be specific.


If you’ve seen Super Password a few times, it’s likely you associate the key change I selected here with the “evolution” from Password to the beefed-up version.

This show aired around the same time as Dick Clark’s $25,000 Pyramid, which meant there was a lot of great crossover in terms of celebrities.

Question 6

Name the show.


BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL THEME! How bad-ass is it to kick off the Tournament of Champions final with this heart-pounding arrangement?

Question 7

Name the show.




When I was very little, there was a store near my family’s home that was shaped like a barn. Between the bluegrass music and the “X” patterns on the outside (you know, like these), I came to know it as the Feud Store.

Question 8

Name the show.


This was the original Pat Sajak theme, called “Changing Keys”. It survived with modifications until 1997, when Wheel went even jazzier.

Question 9

Name either show.


I’m sure the either gave it away to two or three of you.

Double Dare was an early Alex Trebek entry, lasting just one season on CBS (1976-1977). If you’ve ever played a “countdown round” at bar trivia, you’ll get the gist of this show quite quickly. It was very useful for learning obscure trivia about well-known people, places, and things.

(Or well-known at the time, anyway – I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never heard of the first guy on this episode. Learning experience…)

The theme was then repurposed for Card Sharks, hosted by Jim Perry, which lasted for three seasons in its original run. The snippet I used was often heard after the “Money Cards” bonus round.

Question 10

Name the show.


Press Your Luck was my first favorite game show when I was a kid, and I’ll still always make time for it now – particularly when I’m the one yelling “Big Bucks! No Whammies!” and there’s a trip to freakin’ SPACE on the board.

I’ve learned that PYL is a lightning rod in the game show community – a lot of people love it, but some hate it with a passion. I love it for a couple of reasons. First, it requires a level of strategy (and comprehension of numbers on the fly) far beyond almost all other game shows; second, and perhaps more broadly applicable, the exciting endings are really, reallyreally exciting. I’m talking edge-of-your-seat, quivering-a-little, mouth-agape exciting.

Here’s my favorite episode, in part because Steve’s catchphrase(?) pre-dates the Dean Scream (and its NSFW Chappelle treatment) by two decades. If you’re not biting your fingers by the end, check your pulse.

Question 11

Name the show.


I pulled this from what appears to be the British version of the theme, but I am certain I recall this very same passage from the original Regis version. Great pump-up music.

Question 12

Name the show.


Ah, yes. The best game show of all time. I was shocked to see only 1/3 of the field got this one – but, then again, it was intentionally tricky.

  1. The British “Blockbusters” theme blows the American one out of the water. (And it ran 11 years there!)

    • If by “blows it out of the water” you actually meant “is the cheesiest 80s intro I’ve ever seen”, then I agree

What do you think?