"Legends of the Hidden Temple" is another one of those really odd Nickelodeon
kids' game show
s, that occasionally passes itself off as educational. The educational value of the show is somewhat debatable, but it's entertaining in a kitsch
sort of way. This show may also set some sort of record fo anachronism
s per half-hour...
Premise: The Hidden Temple, domain of Olmec (a giant talking idol similar to those on Easter Island), contains lots and lots of "lost treasures," like the missing hand of Khufu, the broken wings of Icarus, the trident of Poseiden, and so forth. Teams of youths (ages 12-14, give or take a bit) compete for the right to attempt to recover these artifacts.
Cast: Host Kirk Fogg, and Dee Baker as the voice of Olmec. Fogg, credited as Rick Fogg in the IMDB, apparently has done nothing else in his life; Baker has an undistinguished career of voice work. This show didn't make anyone rich and famous...
- Six teams (one boy, one girl) start by crossing the moat guarding the temple proper. Usually, this involves trying to cross without actually falling into the water, via planks or ropes or something. The actual method changes daily.
- The first four teams to successfully do so get to hear Olmec detail the day's artifact, and compete in a general-knowledge quiz to advance down the Steps of Knowledge. The first two teams to answer correctly three questions advance to the Temple Games.
- Next is the Temple Games, "where glory goes to the fastest and strongest". The two teams compete for Pendants of Life, which function more-or-less like extra lives later on in the show. The first two games are one-on-one and are for a half-pendant each; the third game is two-on-two and is for a full pendant. The games are fairly pedestrian Nickelodeon fare -- trying to scale a slippery "mountain," bowling with eight-foot-high rubber balls, things like that. The games are nominally related to the day's legend, but they recycle props all over the place.
- The team with more Pendants of Life advances to the Temple itself (anachronism alert: no matter what the day's treasure is, the temple guards are always Mayan). Advancing through an obstacle course containing lovely and scenic venues like "The Shrine of the Silver Monkey" and "The Pit of the Pendulum", and "The Quicksand Bog," the team has three minutes to reach the artifact, retrieve it, and exit the temple. Should the first player to enter encounter one of those mysterious Mayan Temple guards and not have a full Pendant, e is captured and the second team member has to start from scratch.
- Should the team succeed, they usually won a trip to Universal Studios Florida. While appealing to the home audience, the contestants themselves were likely nonplussed -- that's where the show was filmed.
It's not really educational -- the way they mix historical fact ("The Collar of Davy Crockett") and fiction (most of the time, the artifacts were from classical myths) is enough to take care of that. But in its way, it's a bloody lot of fun to watch. The show currently airs several times a day on the Nickelodeon Games and Sports cable network.