Think Fast (Nickelodeon game show)
|Genre||Children's game show
|Created by||Bob Mittenthal
|Developed by||Geoffrey Darby
|Directed by||Lexi Rae (1989–1990)
Bob Lampel (1990–1991)
|Presented by||Michael Carrington (1989–1990)
Skip Lackey (1990–1991)
|Narrated by||James Eoppolo (1989–1990)
Henry J. Waleczko (1990–1991)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||106|
|Executive producer(s)||Geoffrey Darby (1989–1991)
Michael Klinghoffer (1990–1991)
|Producer(s)||Robert Mittenthal (1989–1990)
Marjorie Cohn (1990–1991)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1989–1990)
Orlando, Florida (1990–1991)
|Original release||May 1, 1989 – June 29, 1991|
For the first season, the show was hosted by Michael Carrington, and announced by James Eoppolo. When the show moved to the new Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida for season two, Eoppolo was invited to stay on as announcer but was contractually obligated to another project by that time. Carrington was replaced by Skip Lackey and the new announcer was Henry J. Waleczko. The show's theme music was composed by Edd Kalehoff.
Two teams of two (one of them wearing gold, another wearing blue) competed in various events that would "boggle the mind as well as the bodies". The team that completed each stunt won money ($50 for Round 1, $100 for Round 2). In the Carrington era, it was possible for some events to end in a draw, whether by both teams failing to complete a stunt, or by a tie score. When both teams failed, no money was awarded to either team; with a tie score, the money was awarded to each team. Also in the Carrington era, some events required a team to buzz in when they were done; if a team buzzed in before completing the event, the other team won.
- Simon-type games - Contestants had to repeat in order a sequence of events, adding one event of their own to the sequence. The first team to get any item in the sequence wrong or run out of time (or also forgetting to add an item in the Carrington era) lost the event. Examples of Simon games included the following:
- We've Got Your Number (renamed "Close Calls" in the Lackey era) - contestants had to punch in a sequence of numbers on a large telephone.
- Pat the Uncle (renamed "Burp the Uncle" in the Lackey era) - contestants had to push down on the shoulders of three fat "uncles", making them belch violently. The "uncles" were enormously fat men who would be snacking on bowls of random food items which included popcorn, tortilla chips, candy and Pepto-Bismol.
- Paint Catcher - each team had a "pitcher" with a bucket of paint-filled balloons, and a "catcher" who wore a body shield composed of an abrasive material. Each team had to take turns throwing red, yellow, green, or blue paint balloons at his opponent in sequence.
- Sounding Board - a number of noisemaking objects was placed on a table; each team had to make noises with the noisemakers in sequence.
- One Man Band - Each player wore a one-man band set complete with several instruments such as: drums, cymbals, horns, etc. Each player had to play their instruments in sequence.
- Banana Splitsville - Each player had a large ice cream sundae and a selection of toppings. Each player had to put toppings on their sundae's in sequence.
- Flog - The name of this event was "golf" spelled backwards. A miniature golf hole was set up in the studio, and to be able to putt, contestants had to observe a word spelled backwards and tell what the correct word was when spelled correctly. The team who made it into the hole first won. Occasionally, palindromes were thrown in to catch the contestants off guard; the most notable and often used was RACECAR (used on the show itself as well as when Carrington demonstrated the game as a guest host on another Nickelodeon show, Don't Just Sit There.)
- Plumber's Blackjack - The goal of this event was for one contestant to pour random containers of colored water into a larger container over the other contestant's head. The teams took turns, with the goal to get to a marked line on the large container without going over (unlike Double Dare). They first draw cards then pour the container with the same number that was on their chosen card. If a team went past the line, the other team won automatically. The container was perforated along the marked line, so that if a team busted, the excess water would pour out over the seated teammate's head.
- Weight and Seesaw - Each contestant was placed on one side of a balance, with random household objects having a combined weight heavier than the contestant on the other side. Teams would take turns removing items attempting to balance the scale within a range. If a team took too much off the scale, the contestant would outweigh the objects onto the other side and descend into a large bowl filled with slime. The first team to balance the scale won the event. In the Carrington era, each team competed individually, and the first team to play would play with the clock counting up to a maximum of 45 seconds. If the first team failed, the other team still had to balance the scale before time ran out in order to claim the money.
- America's Most Wanted Clowns - The host would begin to explain the rules to some bizarre, nonsense "event" when an outlandishly-dressed clown would suddenly run through the studio. After this happened, the real event was for the contestants to answer questions that had to do with what the clown was wearing. The team answering the most questions correctly wins.
- Basketball-type games: - Contestants had to shoot balls into baskets, either of which corresponded to answers of a question or set of questions. Variations included:
- A giant basketball goal was set up above a large tube, with a number of colored rubber balls to its side. Each tube had a phrase with a color word left out (example, "_______ mountains majesty"). The contestants had to shoot the plastic balls through the hoop and into the tube to correctly match the colors with the phrases. The most correct phrases won the event.
- Ten small hoops were mounted to a giant backboard with their nets tied closed. each of which corresponded to the name of a sound effect. Six of the sound effects were played, after which the contestants had 30 seconds to shoot basketballs into the hoops corresponding to the correct sounds. The team with the most baskets with correct answers filled won the event.
- This is to That - Contestants faced a board of anagrams (scrambled words). The host gave a series of analogies in which the last word in the phrase was located somewhere on the board scrambled. When an analogy was given, the contestant buzzed in and ran up to the board to unscramble the right word. The player who successfully unscrambled the most words won the event.
- Categorically Speaking - A letter was given at the start, then a category was given by the host (a la Scattergories). The first player to buzz in gave an answer that began with that set letter and fit the category. Then the opposing player did the same. Contestants continued to alternate turns until one player either gave an answer that did not fit the category and/or begin with the set letter, repeated a word (including different forms of a word), or ran out of time. For each mistake a player made, his opponent scored one point, and the player with the most points won the event.
- Word Search - Contestants had to find words in a puzzle based on clues given by the host(the words usually had a theme, e.g. animals); correctly finding a word resulted in the contestant being able to pour a bucket of slop into a pipe with a funnel. The team that filled their pipe first won the event.
- Leaning Tower of Things - Both teams were given an identical assortment of objects, and had 60 seconds to build as tall a freestanding structure as they could using those objects. The structures still had to remain standing on their own for three seconds after the time buzzer sounded; the team with the tallest structure won the event.
- The Feelies - One teammate handed their blindfolded partner an object, and gave a one-word clue as to the identity of the object. The team that identified more objects in a faster time won the event.
- Leaping Letters - One teammate placed letters on a catapult and launched them towards their partner, who had to catch the letters in the air and put them on the board to form words of at least 2 letters (proper words were not allowed). The team that made the most words in 90 seconds won the event.
- Mind Boggling - Each team is given a large pile of cubes with a letter on each side. The teams place the cubes in their grids in a criss-crossing fashion in an effort to make as many words as they can. The team that makes the most valid words, or, if both teams have the same number of words, the team that uses more letters in their valid words in 60 seconds won the event.
- Market Madness - Each team has 3 shelves with all its items mixed up, and each shelf has a scrambled marker that shows what belongs on that shelf(cereal on the top shelf, fruit on the middle and snacks on the bottom). With one player riding in a shopping cart, teams push their teammates to the markers to unscramble them, and then they must put all the items on their proper shelves, buzzing in when their done. First team to buzz in with everything sorted out correctly won.
- Frosty The Junkman - Each team has an identical pile of junk and a snowman named Frosty. The host will sing a parody of "Frosty The Snowman" and then the teams will have 45 seconds to use the junk to dress up Frosty as described in the song they just heard. The team with the most correct junk on Frosty won.
- Wipe Out - Each team has a gunked up poster of a celebrity and a tank of water and sponges. Teams throw the sponges at the poster to clean it off. Once they think they know who the celebrity in the picture is, they must buzz in. The first team to buzz in with the correct celebrity won.
- Jack's Be Nimble - One teammate is standing in front of a large board while their partners are standing next to a pile of balloons filled with shaving cream and letters and a red beach ball. The host will give out a phrase that each team needs to spell out on the board and their partners will throw the red ball up into the air and until it hits the ground, like in jacks, they must throw balloons to their partners who must break them and stick the letters inside them on the boards to spell out the phrase. The first team to spell out the phrase won the event.
- Mess Heads - One teammate must identify a food that the host is describing. Once identified, the player must scoop up some slop from a tub and pour it into a paper bag suspended above their partner's head. The first team to fill the bag with enough slop to make the bag's bottom break above their partner's head won the event.
- Movie Marquee - Each team has a marquee and some buckets filled with popcorn and letters, each spelling out a word in a movie title. Teams must dump out the popcorn and stick the letters on their marquee to spell out the movie title. The first team to correctly spell out the movie title won the event.
- Alphabet Soup - A big bowl of alphabet soup is placed in the middle of the floor and each team has an identical lunch menu with some missing letters. One player will fish a letter out of the soup and pass it to their partner who must place the letter in its proper spot on the menu. The first team to correctly complete their menu won.
- Altered States - Each team has an unfinished 3-D jigsaw puzzle of the United States, with each piece being a U.S. state. Teams have to complete their puzzle by placing the remaining pieces in their proper spots. The first team to finish their puzzle won.
- Safe crackers - Each team has a safe with an item locked inside of it that needed to be handed to their partner. The safe's combination was the answer to a crazy math problem that the host gave each team to solve(example: number of days in a leap year(366) plus the number of obstacles on Double Dare's obstacle course(8) minus the number of people living in the Brady Bunch house, including Alice(9), 366+8-9=365). The first team to crack the safe's code and hand their partner the item inside won.
- Card House - Each team has a set of playing cards and a bowl of glue. The host will show the teams a card house that they must duplicate using their cards and the glue provided. The house must be an exact copy of the host's model based on which cards were used and their positions. The first team to complete their card house won.
- Heavyweight Boxing - Each team has an identical pile of boxes of various shapes and sizes. Teams must place their smallest box into a slightly bigger box and then that box into the next biggest box, and so on until all their boxes are in one big box. The first team to finish won.
- The Absent Minded Chef - A clueless chef will come with several bags containing ingredients to a meal, but the chef can't remember what meal the items in each bag make. The chef will select a bag and pull out ingredients out of that bag one at a time until the team buzzes in with the meal those items make. The team who identifies the most meals won.
- Space Art - Each team has a 4x4 grid of spinning blocks with different colored sides. The teams are shown an image that they must copy on their grid by spinning the blocks to the corresponding colored side. The first team to recreate the image on their grid won.
- Memory Match - The teams study a board with different answers, each with a corresponding number. The answers are covered up after 10 seconds and then the host will describe an answer on the board. The player must buzz in and shout that answer's number, much like Get The Picture's mega memory round. The team with the most correct answers won.
- Egg Me On - One player from each team must help their partner, who is blindfolded and dressed as a chicken with large feet, walk across a field of color-coded eggs(gold for the gold team and blue for the blue team). The players being guided cannot touch their partners or break any of the opposing teams eggs or that team will be disqualified. The team to make it across the field with the fewest broken eggs won.
- Behind The Teacher's Back - Teams are sitting at desks with rolls of paper and bowls of water. A teacher will ask one of the teams questions until the team gets one right, at which point the teacher will ask questions to the other team. While one team is being asked questions, the other team will use their paper and water to make spit wads, which they must throw onto a target on a chalkboard behind the teacher. The team with the most spit wads on the target won.
- Paper Route - One player is at the podium while their partner stands next to a newsstand with several different headlines and newspapers. The host will describe one of the headlines for the team to identify. Correctly identifying the headline earned the team a point plus their partner would get a chance for an extra point by throwing a newspaper into a bucket on a front porch, which host Skip Lackey usually demonstrated by accidentally throwing the newspaper through the porch window. The team with the most points won the event.
- Smelly Garbage - Each team has a pile of garbage and an identical assortment of trash cans and bags, each a different size. Teams must first place the bags into the appropriately sized cans, then they must place the garbage into the trash cans. The first team to fill each of their trash cans to the top with the garbage won.
The Think Fast Brain Bender
After each event, the winners of the event in addition to the cash won a chance to solve a visual puzzle known as the "Brain Bender". In each attempt a puzzle piece was removed. The puzzle could be a picture of a celebrity, a rebus, a close-up object or objects in common. Correctly solving a Brain Bender was worth $200. If the Brain Bender was solved in the first round, another one was started in the second half, still worth $200. If nobody solved the Brain Bender after the final event, or if a tie occurs at the end of the game, a sudden death showdown was played. Originally teams alternated turns taking guesses after each puzzle piece was removed; in later episodes, pieces were removed one at a time until one player buzzed in with a correct answer. Generally speaking, who ever solved the Brain Bender-won the game. On very early episodes if the puzzle was solved early in the first round, a second Brain Bender was thrown out. Usually, this puzzle was so hard or obscure, it couldn't be solved. When the Brain Bender was objects in common, a different version of the Brain Bender was used in which one of six pictures or drawings was revealed after every event. The teams had to guess what the depicted items all had in common.
The theoretical maximum a team could win upfront was $750, $150 for winning all 3 events in round 1, plus $200 for winning both events in round 2, plus another $400 for solving the brain benders in both rounds.
The team with the most money at the end of the game won and advanced to the bonus round, the Locker Room.
The Locker Room contained fifteen large lockers, each containing either a costumed character that would distract the players by bombarding them with sometimes messy surprises, or a number of themed objects (rubber balls, balloons, or small props which would fly out at the contestant, for example). In the Carrington era, the lockers also contained puppet characters and cannons that blasted confetti when the locker opened. A locker would open, and the player then had to find its match. Because of the numerous distractions and surprises that popped out of the lockers when opened, players were required to wear helmets, goggles, and knee/elbow pads in the Locker Room. In total, there were seven pairs of characters or objects, as well as an unpaired locker. Each match won a prize.
Every time a player pressed a button, the locker corresponding to that button would open up. When a player found a match, they had to press a button in the center of the stage that closed all the lockers as well as deactivate the buttons to the matched lockers, as they were already matched and not needed to match again.
The first player had 30 seconds to find as many pairs as they could. The unpaired locker contained a Time Bomb that was "set to go off after 20 seconds". The first player had to deactivate the Time Bomb within the first 20 seconds by simply opening the locker containing the Time Bomb. If the first player found the time bomb, the second player also received 30 seconds to find pairs; however, if the time bomb went off (signaled by its locker opening automatically and an accompanying explosion sound), the second player only received 20 seconds. On very early episodes, finding the Time Bomb also added 10 seconds to the second player's time for a total of 40 seconds; this rule was dropped after only two or three tapings. Each match on this version was worth increasingly valuable prizes; making six matches won the team a trip. The lockers that were still able to open had the lights off (located on top of the lockers).
This time, the team took turns for each match, and the team had 60 seconds to find all seven matches. The first four matches were worth $100 apiece; the other three matches awarded prizes, with the grand prize being awarded for all seven matches (on this version, it was not always a trip). The unpaired locker contained the "Red Herring", which was simply a character with no match. At some point during the run (after any of the first six matches), the Red Herring would be opened. At that point, the contestant had to "yank on the Herring Handle", a cord suspended in the center of the room; the team did not get credit for a match, but they were then able to continue to the next character. When this handle was pulled, a bucket of red plastic fish toys (ostensibly "herrings") was dropped on the character while his/her door was being closed. The lockers that were still able to open had the lights on (located on the buttons).
The series was taped at WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for its first season. The show relocated to Universal Studios Orlando in Orlando, FL for Season Two, where the set received a makeover. The Orlando episodes of the show were taped in January 1990, 5 months before Nickelodeon Studios opened, and was the second Nickelodeon game show to tape there (Super Sloppy Double Dare was the first). As with virtually every Nickelodeon game show from 1986–1996, the set was designed by Byron Taylor.
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-present, by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
- http://www.cmonfwank.com/nicktimeline.html[dead link][dead link]
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