Fun House (U.S. game show)

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Fun House
Season 2 logo
Created by Bob Synes
Presented by J. D. Roth
Narrated by John "Tiny" Hurley
Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 375
Producer(s) Ron Greenberg
Location(s) Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Running time approx. 22 minutes
Production company(s) Stone Television (1988–1990)
Stone Stanley Productions (1990–1991)
Lorimar Television (1989–1990)
Telepictures Productions (1990–1991)
Distributor Lorimar-Telepictures (1988–1989)
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network first-run syndication
Picture format 4:3
Original release September 5, 1988 – April 13, 1991
Related shows Fun House (UK version)
College Mad House (college students version)

Fun House is an American children's television game show that aired from September 5, 1988 to April 13, 1991. The first two seasons aired in daily syndication, with the Fox network picking it up and renaming it Fox's Fun House for its third and final season.

Similar in format to Double Dare airing at the time, Fun House saw two teams competing against each other answering questions and taking part in messy games with the winners running through an obstacle course (the titular "Fun House") at the end of the show.

Fun House was hosted for its entire run by J. D. Roth. He was assisted by twin cheerleaders and sisters Jacqueline "Jackie" and Samantha "Sammi" Forrest, who each cheered on one of the teams, and the show's announcer. John "Tiny" Hurley announced for both syndicated seasons and actor/breakdancer Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, referred to on air as "MC Mike", replaced him when the show moved to Fox in 1990.

British Knights was a major sponsor of the show, and every contestant and cast/crew member (including Roth) wore a pair of the company's shoes.

Fun House was created by game show producer Bob Synes, who served as executive producer of the series with his partner Scott Stone for the first two seasons. When Synes died in 1990, Stone paired with David Stanley and what was previously known as Stone Television became known as Stone Stanley Productions. Fun House remained a Stone Stanley production until its final episode in 1991. Stone's initial co-producer and distributor was Lorimar-Telepictures, which produced the series for much of the first season. Beginning in 1989, Lorimar Television assumed co-production duties and Warner Bros. Television Distribution became the distributor.

A year after Fun House premiered, a spinoff series called College Mad House was created. Premiering in 1989 and running in weekly syndication for one season, it was hosted by Greg Kinnear and featured teams of college students from various universities around the United States competing against each other.

Game play[edit]

As noted above, Fun House was played with two teams, each comprising a boy and a girl. One of the teams wore red uniforms and the other gold. In the third and final season, a kid was paired with a child or young teen celebrity from a popular TV series. One of the young teen celebrity contestants was actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who at the time was a cast member on the series Parenthood.

Stunt rounds[edit]

Three stunts/games were played on each episode. One involved the boys, one involved the girls, and the third involved all four players. Several games, such as "Pinhead" and "Dump-O", were races to answer a certain number of questions first, with the losing player being covered with disgusting materials (slime, garbage, etc.) by an unusual contraption. The team who won each stunt earned 25 points. If the stunt ended in a tie, both teams received the points. After each stunt, play moved to a podium at center stage where a toss-up question relating to the stunt was asked for 25 points.

Grand Prix race[edit]

The Grand Prix race was played as the fourth and final round and involved both teams racing two laps around a track that circled the studio, trading lanes after the first lap.

Two different formats were used for the race. In one format, the teams used vehicles to run the course, with one teammate pushing/pulling and the other riding, and they traded roles in addition to lanes for the second lap. The other format was a relay race on foot, with each teammate running one lap. Small challenges were usually set up around the track that each team had to complete during the run, such as gathering and carrying items, running through tires, or squirting targets with a seltzer bottle. Roth signaled the start and finish of the race with the green and checkered flags used in motor racing.

Teams had several opportunities to collect tokens for extra points along the course. White tokens were worth 10 points each, and blue ones awarded 25. In the second season, a "Token Bank" was placed alongside each lane; during the second lap, one member of each team could reach inside their lane's bank and pull out one handful of tokens. In order to count toward a team's score, tokens had to be either within the vehicle or placed in a bag given to the team before the start of the race. Any tokens dropped on the floor were out of play and could not be picked up.

The winners of the race scored 25 bonus points, after which Roth counted up the points from each team's tokens, starting with the trailing team. The team with the higher final score won the game and advanced to the Fun House, while the losing team received parting gifts. If the final scores were tied, Roth asked a toss-up question to decide the winner.

The Fun House[edit]

The Fun House was a structure containing a variety of rooms and obstacles as well as several large tags. Six tags were red, each marked with a different prize; the others were green and awarded cash amounts from $50 to $250. All cash tags were placed in plain sight, but the prize tags were sometimes hidden within the rooms. Every room that held a prize tag, hidden or visible, was marked with a placard indicating the prize.

The team had two minutes to enter the Fun House and collect as many tags as possible. Only one teammate could be inside at a time, and he/she could take no more than three tags before having to exit so the other could enter. Both members received all prizes and cash picked up by either of them, including any carried by a player who was still inside the Fun House when time ran out. One tag was secretly designated as the "Power Prize" and awarded a bonus vacation to both teammates if either of them found it.

When Fun House moved to Fox for season three, a large alarm clock called the Glop Clock was hidden in the Fun House. If found, it awarded the team an extra 15 seconds once the clock ran out.

Prize totals on Fun House were usually much higher than were available on other children's game shows of the time such as Nickelodeon's Double Dare or Finders Keepers. A team on either of those two shows could usually walk away with approximately $2,000-$3,000 in cash and prizes, while a team on Fun House could often win cash and prizes that often topped $5,000. It should also be noted that while the main game of Fun House was played for points, both of the Nickelodeon shows mentioned saw their main games played for money.


First season
  • Balloon Lagoon (a small pool filled with water and balloons; tag is hanging above pool; players could enter the Fun House through the Lagoon from a set of stairs leading into it, but could only exit it through ladders at either side)
  • Fundromat (a giant revolving tunnel filled with clothes)
  • Tiny's Room (two closets, one of which had Tiny in it with a seltzer bottle and the tag)
  • The Shower Room (a series of connected shower stalls with seven doors, only one of which was unlocked)
  • The Dump (Ballroom covered with trash cans and trash bags; tag is hidden in one of the cans)
  • The Swamp (Small lake with the tag in the mouth of an artificial alligator)
  • Small Tall Hall (5 doors, with the doors going from small to largest)
  • Icecave/Batcave (cave "inside" Mt. Fun House which connects both the tunnel and the Pressure Cooker/Chompin' Choppers; prize/cash tag hanging on cave wall)
  • Chomping Choppers (Pressure Cooker with eyes and teeth)
  • Windchimes (Large wind chimes close together)
  • Wrong Way Street (a reverse treadmill; pilot version only)
  • Booby Trap (eight small foot holes covered by thin paper; replaced by the Small Tall Hall midway through the 1988–1989 season)
  • Swimmin' Hole (small pool with the tag hanging from a small pole; replaced by the Balloon Lagoon midway through the 1988–1989 season)
  • Tumbling Tubular Tunnel (spinning tunnel that connected between the Ballroom and the Cave; replaced by the Fundromat midway through the 1988–1989 season)
  • Boiler Room (a twisted maze of pipes leading to the next floor, cash tag hanging on one of the pipes)
  • Prize-O-Mat (a vending machine with candy in all five slots, one of which also contained the tag)
  • Mount Fun House (stairs leading to a peak (sometimes had a condor's nest at the peak) that led to a small room that led to two slides; later, also had a bridge connecting it to The Dump)
  • Weather Room (a small drizzle rained on the contestant; the tag was attached to a high balloon)
  • Wallpaper Room (peel the wallpaper and find the tag)
  • Windowsill (a flower with 8 "petals", one of which is the tag, standing in the windowsill)
  • Drawbridge (a small bridge hanging over the first slide in Mt. Fun House; if it is up and the player is coming from the pool, there is an actuator that can lower it)
  • Spider's Web (The drawbridge covered with cobwebs, and a spider hanging down with the tag attached; pilot version only)
  • Shaky Quaky Room/Forest (trees and/or buildings on top of a waterbed)
  • Box Room (Boxes stacked on top of one another, with one box containing the tag)
  • Punch-Out Panel (a series of holes covered by tissue paper, one of which has the tag inside, the others being empty or having various junk)
  • The Hanging Bridge (a suspension bridge hanging over a small pool which can erupt water; the tag is found on either side of the bridge)
  • Car Wash Rollers (a pair of fast moving car wash rollers)
Second season
  • Turntable (spinning turntable found at entrance)
  • Moon/Rainbow Bridge (arch that spanned the end of the water slide)
  • Fun Bank (a fake brick wall guarding a safe which housed the tag)
  • Pirate Ship (whack the right pirate for the tag)
  • Main Ship Deck (spin the ship's wheel to lower the tag)
  • Earthquake Bridge (a bridge that swayed front to back)
  • Soda Can (A gushing soda can with a tag hanging near the tab)
  • Cuckoo Clock (placing both hands on 12 made Tiny pop out, who handed the contestant a tag and sprayed him or her with a seltzer bottle)
  • The Vines (tall vines filled this area, one of which held the tag)
  • Telephony Room (tag was hidden under the ringing telephone)
  • Prize Cage (a birdcage with the tag toward the top)
  • Rainbow (pull down the cords which dropped down colored slime and a tag)
  • Tree House (Climb up the ladder and grab a tag hanging from one of the branches)
  • Cave (a cave hidden in the falls)
  • Tumbling Tubular Tunnel (Tunnel that spins around)
  • Exit (small skateboard going down a ramp; no tag here)
  • Avalanche Room (rocks tumbled toward the contestant upon entry, revealing a tag)
  • Rocket (hit the switch to blast off and grab the tag)
  • Haunted House (Two coffins were in here, one filled with blood, the other with Tiny with a seltzer bottle; either coffin contained the tag)
  • Coconut Tree (palm tree with tag hanging under one of the leaves)
  • Stew Pot ("boiling" pot with tag hidden in the stew)
  • Pirate's Cove (two areas: a pole and a pirate's room with a tag inside)
  • Paddle Wheel (a running wheel on the side of the ship with a tag attached)
  • Fridge Raiders (Huge fridge where tag lies in waiting)
  • Crazy Cottages (Two small sheds with an open window connecting the two, tag is in 2nd/top room)
  • Big Mouth (a head with a large tongue, where a tag was located)
  • Treasure Island (located in the pool, where there is a small chest with the tag inside)
  • Hurricane Alley (much like the Earthquake Bridge, except covered with palm trees)

College Mad House[edit]

College Mad House was a spinoff of Fun House hosted by Greg Kinnear that involved teams of college students playing against each other. The show aired in weekly syndication, mostly on weekends.

In place of cheerleaders, Kinnear was assisted by two referees, Richard McGregor and Donna Wilson. Voiceover artist Beau Weaver replaced Hurley as announcer.

As before, two teams competed. This time, there were four members of the team instead of two. Like on Fun House, there was an equal distribution of males and females.

This version featured much more risqué content and stunts than the children's version, often involving crude college gross-out humor and games that required lewd bodily movements among the participants.

Stunts were reworked to accommodate the larger teams. The first stunt featured the men, the second featured the women, and the third featured all eight players. Scoring remained the same.

The fourth round was the "College Mad House Finals", a ninety-second speed round of general knowledge questions. The two teams would stand in line behind the podium and each member of the team had a pie. Buzzing in with a correct answer won the team 25 points and the player got to hit the opponent with his/her pie. After two players played, they moved to the end of the line and the next two moved up to face each other. Play continued in this manner until time ran out, and the team in the lead won the game. If the teams were tied, one more question was played with the next two players in line. The tiebreaker was an all-or-nothing question, as buzzing in with a wrong answer resulted in an automatic loss. This game mechanic, minus the pies, was later used on the Stone-Stanley game show Shop 'Til You Drop, which premiered a year after College Mad House went off the air.

The winning team then got to run through the Mad House, which was laid out in the same manner as the Fun House except with rooms that were more centered on college life than children. One at a time, the winning team would run through the Mad House trying to collect as many of the prize tags and cash tags as possible. A player was not limited as to how many tags he/she could grab, but after thirty seconds elapsed that player had to freeze wherever he/she was and the next player in line was sent into the Mad House. Play continued until all four team members had taken their turn or until all of the tags had been found. There was no Power Prize in the Mad House; instead, the bonus vacation was awarded if the team managed to "clean house" by getting all of the tags before the last teammate into the Mad House ran out of time.


Board game[edit]

Fun House
A box art of Fun House as sold in most major retailers.
Players 2 to 3
Age range 3 and up
Setup time < 3 minutes
Playing time < 60 minutes
Random chance Mild (mostly skill)
Skill(s) required Reading/Counting/Answering questions

Fun House was a board game that is based on the American children's game show of the same name. This board game utilized dice, markers, and a board game that plays like a real fun house. It was loosely based on the game show and was released in 1988. The layout of the board was surprisingly similar to The Game of Life.

Travel game[edit]

Tiger Electronics (1989)

A Klix Pocket Travel Game was released in 1989.

Video and computer games[edit]

Hi Tech Expressions (1989, 1991)

Games released from the Commodore 64 & MS-DOS were released in 1989 while a version for the NES was released in 1991.

Exercise videos[edit]

Warner Home Video (1990)

In 1990, two exercise videos were released under the Fun House Fitness collection hosted by Jane Fonda and J.D. Roth respectively. the first one was called The Swamp Stomp for kids ages 3–7 while its second and finale line of exercise videos was called The Fun House Funk for kids ages 7 and up. it was re-issued as part of Jane Fonda Collection DVD compilation in 2005.


The format was basically the same as the show that eventually made it to air, but with some differences:

  • The announcer was Brian Cummings. Unlike Tiny and MC Mike, he did not appear on camera.
  • Teams played for money rather than points. Each stunt earned $25 to the winners, with $1 per item for the runners-up (similar to how the "Key Game" worked in the British version).
  • Instead of three stunts, there were four (two stunts for the boys, two stunts for the girls).
  • The Grand Prix race also had red tokens in addition to white and blue. Red ones were worth $10, white, $25, and blue, $50. Winning the race also earned $50.
  • In the Fun House, both teammates could grab two tags at once, and that was it. There was also a room that contained seven amounts-- $100, $200, $300, $400, $500, $1,000, and $2,000, the amount of which could be won by stopping a light at random. There were only seven tags in the house, and the Power Prize tag earned the team all the prizes, totaling over $25,000. The team still had two minutes to grab tags.
  • The scoreboards used the classic eggcrate font, instead of the new eggcrate font which was used on the series.

British version[edit]

In 1989, a British version of Fun House was made by Scottish Television based on the American show and presented by Pat Sharp with twin cheerleaders Melanie and Martina Grant and Gary King as the announcer. It saw such success that it ran for 11 years, finally ending in 1999.


External links[edit]