Monday, June 13, 2011

Fun House

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The first time I saw Fun House, I only saw the very end... where the kids are running through, well, a fun house of sorts. I thought it was terribly cool (though I don't think "cool" was popular quite yet... that took another year or two, LoL) and longed to see the entire show. It took a while before it happened, and I wasn't in love with the rest of the game, just the final round. Then, I promptly forgot about the show's existence for quite a few years. Now, I think it would do well again... maybe Nickelodeon or The Hub could start it up?

Brief history: While it was a short-lived show (1988-1991), the first two years ran in syndication, so tons of episodes were made. In its final year, FOX picked it up, calling it Fox's Fun House. Another version for college students aired in weekly syndication for a while, called College Mad House. It was pretty popular in its heyday, and there were video games, home games, and mall episodes.

The Game: Two teams. One is red, one is gold. Each team has a boy and a girl. You also had cheerleaders (for real). Round 1 had three games - one for the girls, one for the boys, and one for everyone (in various orders). Some games were purely stunt-related, while others were answering questions. You got 25 points for winning (both teams got the points if it was a tie), and there were toss-up questions between the games, for an additional 25 points each. Round 2 had the teams racing at the same time. One team member drove a cart while the other pushed it. You had to stay in your track, grabbing tokens as you went around. The second round had the pusher and the driver switch places, and the teams switched tracks. There were also races on-foot and with pedal-carts. The team to pass the finish line first earned 25 points. You got points for each token (some were worth more than others), and the team with the highest overall total won and went on. If there was a tie, a question was used to break it. Round 3 was the Fun House (which had various layouts). The winning team had two minutes to alternate running through it and grabbing flags. Green flags were money and red flags were prizes. Once you had three flags, you switched to the other player, and if they got three, the first person went back in again. One specific red flag was worth a trip. There were all kinds of rooms with crazy things going on. You didn't have to make it back out to win what you had in your hand, either. Since it's an older show that had a limited run, I wanted to include some video, but you'll have to deal with the quality, which leaves something to be desired. Here's a show in three parts:

Notable changes to the way the game is played: At some point during the syndication version a bin was added at the send of the second lap in round 2. It had some tokens that you could pull over and grab if you were willing to spend the time. When FOX took over, the Fun House round included a clock that you could grab, earning your team 15 extra seconds. For College Mad House, the teams had two boys and two girls each, Round 2 was changed from a race to questions where the winner of each could throw a pie at a loser, and Round 3 changed the names of the rooms to fit the college theme. Also, each team member had thirty seconds in the Mad House, regardless of how many flags they grabbed. And, there was no more "magic trip flag" ... you won the trip if you got all 13 flags!  

Special Contestants:A lot of kids and teens who were popular on television at the time appeared on the show, like Jodie Sweetin, Sara Gilbert, Soleil Moon Frye, Jeremy Miller, Benji Gregory, Danny Pintauro, and Jaleel White.

Favorite Rounds: As I mentioned above, the actual Fun House was my favorite as a kid, and it's still the most enticing, I think.

My Take: I'd compete if given the opportunity, and I think I'd do well. Um, since I love obstacle courses and scavenger hunts, I'd be all over this. If I needed one partner, I'd choose my friend, BK, since we could keep our eyes on the prize and have a good time. If it was the four-player style, I'd add in Heather, who'd be our speedy person, and my husband, who'd probably come up with a really logical plan for the Fun House.

What about you? Who would you choose to be on your team? Did you ever watch Fun House? Did you see the college version, or just the kids one?
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