Game Show Memories – Game Show Stars Part 7.

This is someone who had an unusual double career in TV, and he went on to succeed in two rather different genres. Paul Daniels originally found fame as a magician, performing various tricks, and always encouraging audience participation. By the late-70s he had his own magic show on TV, were he performed, along with showcasing many other talents from around the world (I might do a piece about that show soon too).

It’s no wonder people were soon calling him “the man who excels”. It was in the early-80s when he started to host game shows. One of the earliest was BBC Radio 2’s Dealing With Daniels, which featured a playing card-scoring system, and celebrities as the panellists. Around the same time he launched his trilogy of TV game shows.

The first of these was Odd One Out, which had a fairly straightforward idea, but was much enhanced by his handling of the show (there was a marvellous opening sequence too). He then moved on to Every Second Counts, and he caused something of a stir, as it was around this time that he ditched his syrup. He seemed to like to get a little more out of contestants than most hosts, so for example he’d make them use props to answer, or say something different to the usual “yes” or “no”.

There were also some fancy prizes on offer, well they were rather fancy for the time at least, but who could turn down the offer of a new dishwasher back then? Also around this time, his magic show continued with some increasingly spectacular stunts, and he also contributed to the rather bizarre CBBC show Wizbit. His son Martin proved that wanting to be on TV ran in the family when he hosted a game show in the late-80s too.

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By the time that Every Second Counts ended In the mid-90s though, his magic show was also coming to an end, although it had ran for about 15 years with several variations on the idea, so maybe it was time to try something new. His third and final TV game show was Wipeout, which again had some quirky questions. And you’d win a paperweight just for turning up. However, the final editions weren’t shown in a primetime slot, and he had no other shows on the go at this point, so by the late-90s, he had practically left the screen.

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He did continue to tour his magic show across the country with his family also taking part, but most of his TV appearances after this were mildly embarrassing himself and being booted off first on The X Factor and the like, and being a figure “people love to hate”, although he also took part in an interesting documentary where he tried to find fame with his act in America. But he does deserve credit for his pioneering TV work.

Game Show Memories – consolation prizes.

“We hate to lose you, but lose you we must”

Time for something a little different. There used to be a time when however good or bad they did, game show contestants would be given consolation prizes for taking part. Here’s a look at what I think are 16 of the most memorable prizes that were given away. These are the shows where you definitely didn’t go away empty handed…

Backdate. A rather nice electronic organiser.

Big Break. A snooker cue and a trophy, and a waistcoat too if you were lucky.

Blankety Blank. Probably one of the most famous consolation prizes, the chequebook and pen. It’s really isn’t an exaggeration to say that it was more valuable than most of the actual prizes on offer.

Blockbusters. A sweatshirt and a dictionary. Definitely worth having. p3

Bullseye. Tankards, darts, and the bendy Bully. Or the badge and chalk holder that were on offer in the early series.

Countdown. What is always called a goodie bag, including cups, books, and the board game too of course. And don’t forget the teapot either.

Every Second Counts. Not surprisingly considering this was a show based around time, a wallclock and some watches.

The Generation Game. Various prizes in the early-90s revival included a telephone and pocket TV that seemingly only ever showed a picture of Bruce Forsyth’s co-host Rosemarie Ford. p6

Lucky Ladders. A pair of watches. Now they must be expensive.

Raise The Roof. This was the show where the star prize was a house, so the consolation was a teapot in the shape of a house, often known as “Bob’s Bungalow” (after host Bob Holness).

Small Talk. A trophy that according to host Ronnie Corbett was “crafted by my own fair hand”.

Telly Addicts. Another goodie bag similar to Countdown including books about TV, T-shirts and so on. p9

Today’s The Day. A copy of a newspaper from the day that you were born, and maybe a bottle of bubbly too.

Turnabout. Another show that gave everyone a dictionary. Not that exciting, but just any excuse to talk about Turnabout really.

Wheel Of Fortune. Another show that gave away watches and board games.

Wipeout. Early series featured a paperweight, before this was changed to an umbrella. p12

And they all had a lovely day.

The YouTube Files – Every Second Counts USA.

Every Second Counts (1984-1985)

Here’s a look at another game show that started out in America before it came to the UK where it ended up being much more successful. Every Second Counts was hosted by Bill Rafferty, who around the same time was hosting the revival of the original version of Blockbusters. The gameplay was just about the same as the UK version, although there were some notable differences. vlcsnap-00693

Three married couples took part. In this version, the women always played the first part of the game, with the men taking over for part two. Questions were asked that had two possible answers. Get it right and you earn two seconds of time. Get it wrong, and you’re frozen out for the rest of the round. Some of the questions were rather quirky, for example “is this the name of a deodorant brand of a film starring Burt Reynolds”?, and there were some rather funny moments. vlcsnap-00696

Three rounds were played (there was no bonus round where up to ten seconds were on offer for a correct answer in this version). Then the teams changed their places, and every correct answer was now worth four seconds of time. Another change in this version was that Bill had a female co-host who helped him out. After three more rounds, the couple that had the most time went into the final. vlcsnap-00697

This was just about the same as the British version. This time, the finalists had a choice of two categories, and then they were given questions that had one of three possible answers. They had to give four correct answers for the first level prize, then five, six, and finally seven within the time that they had to win the star prize of a car (and unlike the UK version it was made clear that the contestants won the prize at every level!). vlcsnap-00700

This meant that there were some rather exciting close finishes, and some couples won a lot of prizes. However, if it was clear that by the point they got to the final question they didn’t have enough time remaining to give seven correct answers, they received the consolation of $100 for every correct answer that they did get (oddly, the consolation prizes that contestants received on the UK version featured the Every Second Counts logo for the American version, maybe they had some left over). vlcsnap-00699

It is something of a surprise to learn that the original version of Every Second Counts barely lasted a year on American TV, it ran for almost eight years in the UK and it did very well, being popular enough for there to be board games and computer games released, although I didn’t have any of those myself. Once again, it was good to discover where it all began.

Game Show Memories – Every Second Counts.

Every Second Counts (BBC1, 1986-1993)

This is the 25th classic game show that I’ve reviewed, and there are plenty more to come. For many years on TV, Paul Daniels had something of a curious double career. As well as being a successful magician, he also hosted a trilogy of great game shows, and this is one of them. vlcsnap-00936

Every Second Counts was based on American format. Every week three married couples took part, but in the first stage of the game only one of them could play. Paul would give a category, and then ask questions which would have two options. Get it right, and you win your team two seconds of time. Get it wrong, and you are frozen out for the rest of the round, usually to much laughter, and frustration of the non-playing contestant who couldn’t confere. vlcsnap-00941

In the second half, the teams change their places, and guess what, the time is doubled! That’s right, there were now four seconds of time for every correct answer. There were more questions asked, and for some reason at this point Paul would make the contestants wear some silly hats. There was also a bonus round where the teams had ten seconds to answer a question on a particular category. They could confer for this and have as many guesses as they wanted. The quicker they got it right, the more time they won. vlcsnap-00939

The team that had amassed the most time at the end of the game went into the final, with the losing teams taking away a consolation prize of a clock. A team that had over a minute of time had a good chance to win the star prize. This time they had a choice of two categories. They would then be told that every question had one of three possible answers. vlcsnap-00937

The play would alternate between the couple. If they pick the right choice, one light goes out. If they get four right, the win the first prize. Then they try again, having to get five, six, and finally seven correct answers to win the star prize of a holiday, but only if they have enough time remaining. If not, they would win a smaller prize that was usually a TV. vlcsnap-00938

Every Second Counts ran for almost eight years and was always enjoyable entertainment, and after it ended Paul Daniels returned with the final part of his game show trilogy Wipeout, another great show that I’ll be reviewing soon. Bizarrely, about five years after the show ended, BBC1 ran a short repeat run in daytime, while it was good seeing it again, it hasn’t been repeated since, maybe Challenge should bring it back. What a great game.