Aisle Of Wit

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“Things You Do On March 24th”

If it hadn’t been for William Shatner and a long Shea Stadium ticket line, today wouldn’t be the strangest anniversary to celebrate.

OK, let’s unpack this.  My all-time favorite game show is PYRAMID, which back in 1975 was just a $10,000 triangle.  Among its more exuberant players was Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner.  While a decent celebrity player in his own right, Shatner would frequently fall victim to end game mistakes in clue-giving that would cost civilians thousands of dollars in winnings.  He was often self-deprecating when this would happen, giving host Dick Clark ample opportunity to tease him.

On one fateful Friday show with some time to fill at the end, Shatner was challenged to play a Winner’s Circle BY HIMSELF, needing only to jump back and forth between the chairs to give the answer he had just seen revealed.  Amazingly, he couldn’t even do this right.  To this day, the clip survives on YouTube as a testimony to how he boldly went to where no celebrity player had gone before–the inability to win when he KNEW the answer.

Naturally, BFF and I thought this was a seminal moment in TV history.  And it led us to ponder–if someone couldn’t win a Pyramid when he knew the answers, how would someone fare when the answers were virtually impossible to guess?

So on a humid summer Sunday when our dads bonded over their love of baseball as we waited in a long ticket line for $1.30 seats to a Yankee game in Queens (look it up, they played there), BFF and I gleefully rattled off possible categories for the “impossible Pyramid”.  But, of course, there was a method to our madness.

One of the unique aspects of PYRAMID that has made it so popular for nearly half a century has been the “definitive clue”–if partners were truly in sync, there was always a legitimate clue that would likely lead a good player to elicit the answer.  Whether a team could do this with a ticking clock and a hushed audience under hot lights was one thing.  Standing in a puddle of bilge water at Shea Stadium, one could think a little clearer.

Here, you play along.  Here are the best “definitive clues” for the six we came up with that we still remember:

— Every movie except THE BELLBOY

— A portable fan

— A firefly

— A Hi-Liter

–A mourner’s face

— You remember last week’s St. Patrick’s Day party

 

And now, the answers

–MOVIES BOB CLAYTON WAS NOT IN

— THINGS THAT OSCILLATE

— THINGS THAT SCINTILLATE

— THINGS THAT ARE CHARTREUSE

— THINGS THAT ARE LUGUBRIOUS

— THINGS YOU DO ON MARCH 24TH

I won’t even attempt to justify what went into our thought process for these answers.  The Bob Clayton reference (he was PYRAMID’s announcer in the day) alone would require pages of explanation and likely years of therapy.

But the running gag was that PYRAMID producer Bob Stewart was known as being, well, frugal, and would often out together a more challenging end game to save on prize money payout.   The difference between an end game win and an imperfect board was $9650 or more.   In 1975 that kind of money in Stewart’s pocket was substantial.  This board all but assured he’d come out ahead.

So every year since on this day, BFF and I find a moment to compare notes, laugh to ourselves, and try to justify this inexplicable bond that sustains to this day.  As each year goes by, we grow increasingly incapable of doing that.

Maybe you have a ritual that you and your bestie have that only makes sense to the two of you.  If so, perhaps you’ll understand why this is a special day.  If not, well, then you’re free not to read this day’s entry.

Oh, one more thing.  The first clue we suggested would likely have been “buzzed”, meaning the chance to even win the grand prize at all was forfeited.

Maybe someone could reach out to Shatner today for his thoughts?

 

Until next time…