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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Wild & Crazy Kids!

Due to my overwhelming weekend schedule (most of it being work related), this blog entry is going to be a little smaller than you normally would see in A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life.

(Of course, to some of you reading this right now, maybe that's considered to be a good thing.)

But,'s Saturday morning feature deals with a show that aired on Nickelodeon. It debuted on January 4, 1990, and lasted for three seasons, ending its run in December 1992.

It was a show known as 'Wild & Crazy Kids'.

And, I loved it!

It's been years since I watched an episode of Wild & Crazy Kids straight through, and after watching some episodes of it on YouTube, I must admit that it hasn't really aged all that well. The early 1990s were a wacky time where neon colours and high top sneakers were high in fashion, and in a fact that kind of makes me feel old, I realize that a lot of the kids who appeared on the show are now in their mid-30s with wild and crazy kids of their own.

However, watching the show back then provided so many fond, fond memories of carefree summer days, where the only concern we had was to have as much fun as possible.

I think some of the best times of my entire childhood were the summer months. For one, I was away from the confines of school for two and a half months. Not that I necessarily hated to learn, but any excuse to get away from the kids who didn't like me was always a bonus. For another, I was enrolled in a summer parks program which allowed me to meet brand new kids, and where we would always do activities that were very similar to the ones that were featured on Wild and Crazy Kids.

The way the show worked was that a large group of children would be divided up into teams, and each team would have a specific colour. One of the good things about the show was that the show had infinite colours of T-shirts for the kids to wear, so there could be as many as six different teams competing for the same event. Each event was hosted by one of three hosts, and the hosts would change throughout the course of the series. But, I'll have more information on that later.

Most of the events were based off of playground games, such as Red Light, Green Light, and Simon Says, but with a bit of a messy twist. Given that the show aired on Nickelodeon, a television station known for airing messy shows such as 'Double Dare' and 'You Can't Do That On Television', there had to be some messiness involved. For instance, the Red Light, Green Light game might involve the contestants carrying a giant cream pie behind their backs, and once they got to the red light, green light caller, they could smash a pie in their faces. Or, they could have a tug-of-war event where a large group of children played tug-of-war with professional wrestlers.

There were also sports themed events as well, with one of the most popular ones to be featured being the Dizzy Bat Home Run Derby. This game featured kids playing against adults, and one advantage that the kids would have was that the adults would be forced to spin around the bat three times, causing their balance to be severely compromised.

I should also note that while most of the events that took place were featured in an outdoor setting, there were some events that took place indoors. One common indoor location was a shopping plaza, and if you click below, you can watch a shopping mall obstacle course filled with several events where four teams (blue, peach, pink, and purple) would compete to see who would earn the most points.

One thing that really stuck out about the show though was that the show didn't really offer much of anything in terms of prizes (or if they did, I'm blocking that part out). It didn't really need to. As long as the kids had fun throwing pies at adults, or running through a shopping mall, then there really was no need to reward them with riches.

(Did you get that Biggest Loser Season 13 producers? You don't need cash prizes to run a reality show! And these are contestants that are 14 and under!)

That's really all I have to say about the mechanics of the show 'Wild & Crazy Kids'. It may not have aged well over the course of time, but by gosh, it was a fun show when it was new and fresh. I would have done anything to have been a part of that show. Heck, I would have just been happy to get a Wild & Crazy kids T-shirt (in purple, of course) to wear. I mean, when I think of what my childhood summers were like, I think of Wild & Crazy Kids.

I only regret that I didn't have the opportunity to throw pies at any adults during my whole childhood.

I guess to end off this entry on Wild & Crazy Kids, I thought that I would offer up a list of trivia facts associated with this show. A lot of them are probably common knowledge, but there's some interesting facts that I never really knew about the show itself. So, let's get on with it.

1 – Although the show didn't air until January 1990, a pilot episode was filmed in 1989, with three entirely different hosts. The hosts for the pilot episode were Matt Brown, Leslie Hibbard, and Cory Tyler.

2 – There were two different female hosts during the series run. Annette Chavez was the female host during the 1990 season. In 1991, she left the show and was replaced by Jessica Gaynes during the remainder of the series.

3 – Omar Gooding was one of the male hosts of the series, and if that last name sounds at all familiar, it's because he is the brother of actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

4 – The other male host of Wild & Crazy Kids was Donnie Jeffcoat, who later found fame on the soap opera 'One Life To Live' playing the role of Joey Buchanan. He also appeared in a role on the WB show '7th Heaven'.

5 – The show was briefly revived in 2002, with host Mati Morajelo. The show however failed to make as huge of an impression as the original, and was taken off the air after ten episodes.

6 – Some of the shows (in particular during the 1992 season) were filmed on location at theme parks all over the United States. Some of these locations were Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, and Raging Waters, Wild Rivers.

7 – As mentioned above, the show used a lot of different coloured T-shirts, which often meant that there could be as many as six different teams competing in events. But during the first season, the show changed clothing companies, so as a result, the shirts in the first season were more neon coloured than in future seasons. Which made sense, given that day-glo fashion was all the rage in 1990.

8 – One of the challenges that was played on the show was a gigantic sized version of Twister, involving hundreds of kids.

9 – Wild & Crazy Kids often had celebrity appearances, especially during the show's final season. Most of the time, the celebrities would be involved in a challenge, and once the challenge was completed, the hosts would give them a Wild & Crazy Kids T-shirt, welcoming them to the club.
10 – Some of the celebrities that appeared on Wild & Crazy Kids included Roseanne star Michael Fishman, Saved By The Bell star Lark Voorhies, and Full House star Andrea Barber.

11 – Wild & Crazy Kids would often have crossover shows with other Nickelodeon programs. In 1990, Double Dare host Marc Summers appeared on an episode, which was titled 'Double Dare vs. Wild & Crazy Kids'. There was also a crossover with Nickelodeon show 'Salute Your Shorts', where cast members Venus De Milo, Michael Bower, and Danny Cooksey appeared.

12 – Before he became a member of the New York Jets, D'Brickashaw Ferguson appeared on the program as a contestant.

13 – Before he became famous, Tobey Maguire made an appearance on the series finale of Wild & Crazy Kids.

14 – The below clip comes from my all-time favourite episodes of Wild & Crazy Kids.

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