When I was little, my mom worked full-time and so she had to find a babysitter for me. She found a sweet older lady who only charged $25 a week (!) and was available pretty much anytime mom needed her.
This woman’s only hobbies, from what I could tell, were doing word searches from giant word search books, buying useless stuff from catalogs and watching TV. Since my mom worked all different shifts, I got most of my early 80’s TV knowledge from my time spent at my babysitter’s house.
While she loved Lawrence Welk and Fantasy Island, what my babysitter loved most of all were game shows. I remember her yelling at the screen whenever someone would place a bid $1 higher than another bid on The Price is Right – because we all know that’s just rude.
It didn’t matter how strange the game show was – she was into it. And I learned a lot of game show strategy from all of my time there. I learned the value of nearly every household product from The Price is Right. I learned prioritizing and quick math from Wheel of Fortune when winners had the chance to pick the prizes they wanted from the revolving showroom. I knew more songs than my friends thanks to Name That Tune. I could even figure out clever license plates from some game show that was all about reading license plates. (I can’t remember the name of it.)
My favorite, though, had to be Press Your Luck. There was something about the Whammy that sent me into giggles. I think I knew every little skit the Whammy performed as he took away contestants’ money.
My babysitter always talked about how she could do so much better than the contestants if she ever had the chance to go on one of the many game shows she watched. I somehow doubt she would have done well, unless it was a show about the products in the Lillion Vernon catalog.
And that trait seems to have rubbed off on me – if I ever had the chance to go on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I think I’d leave a very wealthy woman.
What was your favorite game show as a kid?
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