These days, technology changes in blink of an eye. What was cutting edge quickly becomes outdated.
In the 1992 Nickelodeon show, Nick Arcade, contestants competed in virtual video world. Hosted by Phil Moore, the game started with two different teams in the first round. The winner then moved into the “Video Zone”. Their goal was to win against the “Video Game Wizard” of that particular episode and ultimately, walk away the winner.
Almost thirty years on, the technology looks primitive, if not straight out of the stone age. But back then, it was top of the line and absolutely fascinating to watch.
There are two ways to create children’s television. The first is to talk down to the audience while advertising an inordinate amount of merchandise. The second is reach the children on their level and respect them as human beings.
The documentary,The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, was released in 2018. The movie tells the story of the children television network, Nickelodeon, from its inception in the late 1970’s to the powerhouse it became in the 1990’s. Interviewing execs, writers, creators, and actors, it is the story of a channel that was ahead of its time and continues to push boundaries today.
One of the joys of childhood is the freedom from inhibitions.
Wild & Crazy Kids aired on Nickelodeon from 1990-1992. Hosted by Omar Gooding, Donnie Jeffcoat, Annette Chavez (season 1), and Jessica Gaynes (seasons 2 and 3), the premise of the show was that two teams of kids would face each other in a series of physical challenges.
When I was growing up, this show was pure fun to watch. The creativity of the games and the enthusiasm of the participants radiated from the screen, almost daring the kids at home to take part themselves.
TV game shows have existed since the beginning of television. But it takes a unique program to stand out within the genre.
Legends of the Hidden Temple aired on Nickelodeon from 1993-1995 and was hosted by Kirk Fogg. The premise of the show was that there was a fictional Mayan temple filled with gold, jewels, and other treasures. Guarded by Olmec (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), the young contestants were challenged by physical and academic challenges relating to history, geography, and mythology.
As I remember it, Legends of the Hidden Temple was fun to watch. It would have been easy to create another game show that is made up of just physical or academic challenges. But in combining both and adding an Indiana Jones sensibility, this program was able to stand out for the two years that it was on the air.
Game shows have been part of the television landscape since the early days of television.
From 1986-1993 Double Dare was a regular on Nickelodeon’s schedule. Hosted by Marc Summers, the competition contained both trivia questions and physical stunts that could only be described as messy.
I remember watching this show back in the day and thinking that it was so much fun to watch. Looking back, what made it so much fun was the fact that it was neither a strictly academic or strictly physical competition. The physical component of the game was also a little gross, but gross in a good way.
To be in the movies or on television at a young age is either a blessing or curse. For every Drew Barrymore who is able to succeed in the industry as an adult, there is a Dana Plato whose career and life we can only speak of in past tense.
Between them, Disney and Nickelodeon has produced multiple generations of child stars.
Kids Incorporated was part of the Disney lineup from 1984-1993. Combining musical performances and short skits, the show is a whose who of child stars whose careers have successfully stretched into adulthood. Fergie, Mario Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Eric Balfour are four of the actors who got their feet wet during their time on Kids Incorporated.
For a kid in the 1980’s and 1990’s, this show was magic. I have very fond memories of watching this program during my younger days.
All That (1994-2005) was Nickelodeon’s answer to Saturday Night Live. Ironically, Kenan Thompson was part of the original All That cast and is presently a cast member of Saturday Night Live.
This show was just plain fun. To the preteen and early teenage audience, this was entertainment at it’s best.