Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Joker's Wild:

The Joker's Wild was a game show that successfully started in 1972. It aired on CBS for a few years. It is a game show where "knowledge is king and lady luck is queen", literally. The game board is literally a gigantic slot machine with jokers, devils, cars, categories, and prize amounts; all made possible by what was close as possible to LCD screens at that time: 3 slide projectors, most likely carousels, and specifically a Sawyer/GAF group of slide projectors, each shining backwards on the other side of a clear screen. The spinning slides would pause randomly, and any slide projectors not in use would have its lamp turned off. Use of these projectors in this method would result in them malfunctioning, with having to repair and alternate slide projectors and replacing the lamp bulbs.

The studio of the Jokers' Wild resembles many game show studios and other building designs at that time. Its themes were gold and red, which are traditional colors for things that feature Kings, Queens, and jokers. A deck of cards does, and so does this studio. However, that wasn't the exact reason because many studios used this theme at the same time whether it was based on card themes or not. From 1972-1975, the lights surrounding the game board were red with a red c-shaped border. It also has white lights around each of the slots. Upon the game show's return more lights were added everywhere. The distant background was blue, and newer music was added. The original music was called "The Savers", which is an interesting one, but does not fit well for a theme on most game shows. The Joker's Wild returned in 1977, with modifications every once in a while. A version for small children was on for a short time called "Joker!, Joker!!, Joker!!" with scholarships aware a prizes. The contestants with a lower score would have a smaller amount of scholarships. In 1981, Set designer John C. Mula designed the studio for Bullseye. (A 1979-1982 series of game shows aired in the U.S. It was popular, and a U.K. verion was also made, but neither of them are related to each other). Bullseye uses the same type of slide projector screens. He also redesigned the studio for The Joker's Wild with similar blue neon running lights in place of the red C's, along with upgraded walls, and various flashing signs with joker characters on them. This provides the giant slot machine game show more of the look of a casino.

This is an old article pending revision.

The host is Jack Barry of Barry-Enright productions. He hosted all versions and revivals until his death in 1984. Jim Peck, host of "The Big Show Down" a popular game show which is now completely dead, was a substitute host. Expected by several people as an obvious permanent replacement, he did not do this. Instead, Bill Cullen does. Bill Cullen is a celebrity panelist that also hosts alternate versions of game shows, and most memorably, "Blockbusters". He was pulled from hosting a new game show "Hot Potato" (which would have been cancelled anyways due to yet another game show unsuccessfully adapting a celebrity only format) to hoat The Joker's Wils. He was very popular with Blockbusters compared to on The Joker' Wild, but was still considerably successful. He has mobility problems because of suffering from polio decades earlier, which prevented him to walk into the studio audience. "The Audience Game" segments phased into "The Phone Game" which he could invite the television viewers to play along. Bill Cullen provided additional length to the span of The Joker's Wild since the overhaul was completed only 3 years before Jack Barry's death. Jim Peck continued to substitute for a while longer, never taking over full time, and eventually retired from a career of sub-hosting or hosting game shows that did not last very long. He did not take over hosting after Bill Cullen stopped hosting. Jack Barry appeared to not have any intention to end The Joker's Wild when he planned retirement. Jim Peck was supposed to take over after a certain date. Since Jack Barry died before this completed, what most likely happened is that the other producers claimed (or made up) that the contract was not valid.

Anoter version was made in 1990, but looked very different than the other versions. Jim Peck once again did not host.

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