Classic Concentration (June 2, 1987) 

Checking out Erin’s favourite show.  For this week.  

0:00 – Some horndogs in the audience start laughing at this introductory puzzle because it features a brassiere.

This episode appears to be a fairly recent broadcast from a channel called Buzzr.  Whatever that is.  I don’t know if it’s a channel that’s on like cable packages or if it’s online only.  

Ideally, you want to watch an episode that was recorded back in the day on the original airing.  Because stuff now gets cuts to shit because there are more commercials nowadays.  So they have to edit more stuff out to cram in more delicious commercials for antidepressant medication and erectile dysfunction pills and whatnot.

0:30 – And there’s a young Alex Trebek.  Well, I don’t know, how old was he in 1987?  Let me look this up.  Forty-seven.  

Off-topic, but I was looking up what that Fred guy is up to these days.  Lucas Cruikshank.  Jesus Christ does he look old.  He’s 27 but look at him.  Must be all of that hard buttsex.  

He also has a brother, who’s younger than him, and also really, really gay, and he looks at least 10 years older than he actually is too.  

Whatever.  But Alex looks…I don’t know…he looks like a 47 year old, I guess.

1:00 – So Marla is the returning champion.  I looked at the comments and it seems that a relative of hers left a message saying that she became a pediatrician.  Good for her.

Let’s see…she was in college during this episode.  I don’t know if that’s undergraduate or graduate.  Let’s say her final year of undergraduate.  So that would mean that she was about 22 years old…so today she would be…56.  So yeah, she’s probably still working.  

Alex tells us that she won $28,900 already.  Man, that had to pay off her tuition back in the day.  Today, that wouldn’t even cover a year at any private or out of state college.  But in 1987…let me look this up.  

The average tuition was $3,190/year in 1987 for public universities.  In 2017, it was $9,970.

At private universities, it was $15,160/year in 1987 and $34,740/year in 2017.

I believe that Marla went to the University of….something California.  And presumably she was paying the in-state tuition rate.  So yeah.  This was a brilliant idea to appear on Classic Concentration.

Although, you don’t win cash in this game, do you?  You win prizes.  So…$28,900 in prizes…then you have to try to sell them.  Maybe the show offers a cash option if you don’t want the prizes.  Maybe not for the full value but something.

1:45 – Hey, you can win a Last Mission arcade cabinet.  Hey guys!  Remember Last Mission?  We used to play this all the time back in 1987.  

2:00 – 

Alex: Okay, Art just said that he loves video games.  What about you, Marla?

Marla: Oh (laughs nervously).

Alex: You can take that for you and your roommates at UCLA, right?  

Marla: (Laughs nervously) No.

Alex: Have a ball.  Here’s where you can find it on our game board: at number 19.

Back in 1987, few women were interested in video games.  And can you blame them?  Look at gameplay footage of Last Mission.  It’s fucking dire.

2:30 – Alex pronounces “vase” the pretentious way.  Why?  He would do this kind of shit a lot.  But he’s from fucking Canada.  I’ve known people from Canada.  They’re not pretentious people.  They’re simple, backwater folk.  But somehow, Alex thought that he was better than everyone.  Oh.  His mother was French-Canadian.  Now it makes sense.

2:45 – Marla picks a wild card right off the bat.  So is she going to go for that arcade cabinet at 19?  Of course not.  She’s not interested in fucking video games.  This isn’t what women did in 1987.  Video games were for giant nerds.  And guys.  Children.  

3:00 – So she just picks a random number and gets a New York Sojourn, or as Alex says, “New York Holiday.”

Why didn’t he just say “sojourn”?  He must know how it’s pronounced.  He speaks French, I’m sure.  

And why say “holiday” instead of “vacation”?  Do they say “holiday” instead of “vacation” in Canada?  Even if they do, which I don’t know if they do or not, he’s in the US now.  

4:30 – There’s a recliner as a prize.  Marla expresses interest in this.  Alex says, “You’re too young to start reclining and relaxing.”

What?  Well, I guess I see his point.  Back in 1987, recliners were mostly for elderly men who were barely mobile.  And big fat guys.  

4:45 – A cork sculpture is one of the prizes.  Yeah, I remember cork sculptures.  They were HUGE in 1987.  Fucking everybody had one.  

There’s also a scale as a prize.  Yeah.  Today, you can get a bathroom scale for ten bucks down at Walmart but in 1987, a scale was a status symbol.  Most people only saw them in doctor’s offices.  Those big ones with the sliding weights.  Few people had a scale in their home.

5:00 – Marla gets another wild card but she again refuses to take the arcade cabinet.  She doesn’t want it.  She goes for the sailboat instead.  

What kind of a terrible prize is a sailboat?  Even assuming that you live near a coast, which of course many people don’t, what are you going to do with it?  Don’t you have to rent out like harbour space?  And then you have to maintain the boat.  Or is one of those deals where you can hitch the boat to the back of your truck?  But then this assumes that you have a truck and know how to hitch boats to it.  

It’s just…there are too many problems.  A sailboat isn’t for everyone.  You shouldn’t just give sailboats to random people because many people won’t have any use for it and/or they won’t know how to take care of it and/or they won’t be able to maintain it.  

I would have preferred the scale.

6:30 – Marla guesses, “Can we task”.  The answer is “Can we talk” but for whatever reason she doesn’t get it.

Then she wins some bath towels.  Yeah.  People loved bath towels back in 1987.

7:30 – Then she wins an AM/FM radio.  This was genuinely a reasonable prize in 1987.  Radios were expensive and people would listen to them.  Just in their homes.  I guess.  Not like in the pre-television days, of course, but if you wanted to listen to music, you had to put the radio on.

7:45 – She guesses “Can bundle ask”.

I don’t know why she has trouble with this.  She knows the first symbol is a can.  She knows that the second symbol is “wheat” because she guessed “Can we task” earlier (can wheat ask).  

She doesn’t seem to know what the third symbol is even though it’s clearly a doctor asking a patient to say “Ah”.  And she’s studying to be a doctor.  She must know this.  The “H” is covered but…anybody would know this, doctor or non-doctor.  And then the last symbol is just a “K”.

8:30 – “Check co task” is her guess this time.

9:00 – “Chair we task”.

Now she gave up on the “can” and instead focused on what the can says: “cherr” short for “cherry”.  

9:15 – Alex says, “I feel like I’m learning Eskimo here.”

You could say that sort of thing back in 1987.  The Inuit people weren’t as organised and vocal.  Plus, I’m not sure that they had televisions in their igloos.

9:30 – She reluctantly wins the arcade cabinet.

10:00 – She fails to solve the puzzle so Art gets a chance and he solves it.  “Can we talk”.

It’s a reference to Joan Rivers, who was fairly popular in 1987.  It was her catchphrase.  She used to fill in for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.  She wouldn’t get her own talk show until 1989, though.  Young people like Marla weren’t watching Johnny Carson.  She didn’t know Joan Rivers.  So she didn’t get the reference.

Art wins a ceramic vase.  Every home in 1987 had a ceramic vase.

Don’t feel too bad for Marla.  She won two cars plus the $28,900 in prizes.  Who the fuck needs two cars?  But this is how things were back in 1987.  People had two cars.  One was for day to day use and one was like a weekend car for taking trips to your cottage or whatever.  It was a real golden age.

11:30 – Alex says “ya’ll” in reference to a single person.  Really weird.  It’s weird that he would say “ya’ll” at all and doubly weird that he used it incorrectly.

12:45 – So after this guy blows the bonus game really hard, it’s time for a new contestant.  Kelly Andruss.  Somebody in the comments says that this woman played a gameshow hostess on an episode of The Golden Girls.  

Yeah, that’s true.  A lot of the people on these gameshows were just struggling actors and actresses.  Let me check her IMDB.

Ooh, she was also an episode of Mr Belevedere.  She played Candy.  I seem to remember that episode.  She was a stripper and the episode had something to do with Kevin.  Oh, no I was wrong.  It’s this one:

It’s a two part episode.  Go to 7:45.  Mr Belvedere is at the Owen’s residence, alone, and he turned the place into a hedonistic sex orgy.  Candy is one of the bikini-clad whores who he hired.  She hands him the phone in this scene.

She was also in the Mike Hammer television series and a Mike Hammer tv movie that came out five years later, after the show was off the air.  They must have liked her.  She played a prostitute in the tv movie.

She was also in ten episodes of Days of Our Lives.  She played Bridget, who was probably some kind of prostitute.

And her final role was in 1995 on an episode of Murphy Brown.  She played Stripper #3.

There’s a show that hasn’t aged well.  They haven’t shown Murphy Brown even one time since the show went off the air.  It ran for 11 seasons.  260 episodes.  Why no rebroadcast?  Because it was full of topical political humour.  Hey guys!  Remember Dan Quale?  No?  Then you won’t get any of the jokes.

Anyway, I’d give Kelly here some loving so let’s see how she does.

Aw.  She’s married and from Utah.

This is how things were in 1987.  People got married young.  You see this a lot with game shows from the 1980s and earlier.  Almost every female contestant is married if they’re older than 22 or so.  They almost always have children.  I’ve seen shockingly young contestants talk about having grandchildren.  It was just normal.  This is what people did.

But how weird is it that this woman from Utah, who is probably Mormon, ended up being a prostitute in a handful of television sitcoms?  She moved to California with big dreams of being a legitimate actress but these sleazy Jewish producers had different ideas.  

13:15 – Ooh.  You can win a sweater.  Sweaters were huge in 1987.

13:45 – Kelly reveals a bedroom set and she says, “Ooh, I like that.”  I’ll bet.  Ooh baby.

14:30 – She gets a wild card and chooses the bedroom set even though the position of that prize is in the corner and clearly won’t help her solve the puzzle.  She just really wants that bedroom set.  You horny bitch.

14:45 – Color tv.  Alex says, “Good prize.”

It’s true.  In 1987, people still had black and white tvs.  

15:15 – A China coffee set…I’m going to have to plead ignorance on this one.  Did they drink coffee in 1987 in China?  We all know about China tea sets but…coffee set?  What does a coffee set of any nationality even look like?  I don’t drink coffee or tea so I don’t know.  Maybe this is common knowledge.

16:00 – Chafing dish.  What?  Some sort of a food warmer…like those fucking…what do they call those Chinese restaurants where there’s warmed up food at your table?  Hot pot.  That’s it.  I went to such a restaurant before.  What an awful experience.

But yeah, back in 1987, we all had chafing dishes.  It was a place to keep your Welsh rarebit warm.

16:45 – Then they run out of time so they just start revealing the puzzle.  This is such bullshit.  They shouldn’t do this.  It completely fucks the game.  All strategy goes out the window.  I never liked this sudden death shit in any game show.  Wheel of Fortune does it too.  It’s just bad.

16:45 – The answer is “Why don’t you come up to see me some time.”  Come on.  I didn’t want to hear Art say that.  Couldn’t you give Kelly a shot?

Oh fuck.  He got it wrong.  So now Kelly gets to see the whole puzzle.

“Why don’t you come up AND see me some time.”  You dirty slut.  

Oh, since the game was interrupted, Art gets to return for the next show.  Well, that’s good at least.  Makes things slightly more fair.  

But yeah, in 1987, all of the teenage boys had posters of Mae West hanging up in their rooms.  

So Kelly won a ceiling fan. a tastefully decorated bedroom set, and the sweaters.  Hot.

19:00 – Ummm…Kelly is super stupid.  She’s doing really bad at this bonus game and she basically gave up with 20 seconds to spare and just started making high pitched yelping sounds.  I can’t even recognise these as words but apparently the producers of the show can because they’re revealing the tiles.  So I guess that she’s saying numbers but…come on.  

A member of the audience is going home with a set of tyres.  What?  Don’t different cars require different tyres?  How do we know that these will fit this person’s car?  And how the fuck are they going to lug four tyres home?  What if they don’t even live locally?  What if they’re on vacation?  

Some other people in the audience will get a police scanner.  Yeah, I remember a neighbour boy’s father having one of these.  This is how people entertained themselves back in 1987.

20:15 – Also, some people will get a jar of Peter Pan peanut butter.  Do they still sell this?  It seems so.  But yeah, in 1987, everybody was eating Peter Pan peanut butter.  It was America’s favourite peanut butter.

21:00 – Alex and the model from the show do a really weird wave and Kelly blows a kiss.  What I think happened is that Alex said that they were all going to blow a kiss but then he and this model just did this bizarre wave instead.  It was some kind of weird joke on Kelly.  

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