Childhood Fears


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Memories of Olmec and Legends of the Hidden Temple



As a kid, I was always aware of how great Legends of the Hidden Temple was. Even with “Double Dare,” “Wild and Crazy Kids,” and “GUTS” setting the precedent, I always have managed to gravitate toward “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” Re-watching Legends of the Hidden Temple is a clear example of Nickelodeon in its prime. My family and I didn’t get cable until 1993, and from there on, my brother and I rarely ever watched any channel other than Nickelodeon. We were Nick Kids right up until the late nineties.

Specifically, every day after school, we’d sit down to watch “Legends of the Hidden Temple” and were always enthralled by it, and wishing we could have a crack at the show and winning big prizes. Before reality television became “reality television” these types of game shows were all the rage and you could probably find at least two or three playing on various channels. “Masters of the Maze,” anyone? Remember “Brains and Brawn”? In either case, these shows weren’t just physically demanding, but educational as well. They demanded brain power and physical power.

“Legends of the Hidden Temple” was very much in the spirit of Indiana Jones, only with the very likable Kirk Fogg as a host. Often dressed as an adventurer, Fogg would come bursting onto the set and was aided by his mystical guide, the ancient stone head Olmec (as voiced by Dee Bradley Baker). Only Olmec “knows the secrets behind each of the treasures in his temple,” Fogg would say. A terrific host, Fogg possessed a great personality which allowed him to really connect with the contestants. He had that game show host charm along with the believability of someone who’d been an explorer of some kind. He stuck to the character and we always got a kick out of him.

The object of the game is that six sets of children’s teams (all named after colors and animals) would compete in the first round elimination that involved rafting across a moat. The first four teams that made it to their goal would make it to the second round: “The Steps of Knowledge,” which involved some great historical trivia. Olmec would tell a story about a great historical or mythical figure, and the teams would have to answer questions based on the facts conveyed in the story. From there, the final two teams would have to compete in Temple games involving getting across obstacles or conquering some heavy feat. Every time a team won they’d get half of a pendant, ultimately aiming to win two complete pendants.

These pendants could be used in the temple to ward away the dreaded temple guards that burst from hidden walls to seize the players. If you lacked a pendant, you’d be dragged away and the second player would have to run in and complete the obstacle course (which involved puzzles, climbing, jumping, and mazes) and retrieve an ancient artifact before the time ran out. This was always the best part, as the kids almost always let out horrifying screams whenever a temple guard popped up to snatch them. From what I understand from an article about the show, some kids were so terrified they’d vomit, and one of them even had an emotional breakdown.

Often, the show rewarded the children with some great consolation prizes, but conquering the temple would guarantee a big trip to an exotic resort. Like every other Nickelodeon game show at the time, Legends of the Hidden Temple was fun thrived on exciting its audience. I can’t tell you how many times I’d sit in front of the TV as a kid and shout at the kids during the final temple obstacle course as the time wound down slowly. Thankfully, the show has aged well since its premiere in 1993; much like “Double Dare” it works as a great game show and a wonderful nostalgia trip with bonus sentimental value.

I don’t know if I’d have the guts to enter the temple as a kid, but I like to imagine I would have rocked it. Or bawled my eyes out as a guard dragged me back stage. Either way: good times.

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Mr Magic Posted on May 05, 2020 at 03:47 PM

Roller blades aren't cheap, Ben. Kids loved to have those.

Benjanime Posted on May 05, 2020 at 03:41 PM

as fun as it was to watch this show, i have to admit they had some pretty crap prizes most of the time. a pair of roller blades just to make it to the end of a moat? really?

Mr Magic Posted on May 04, 2020 at 04:30 PM

Flix, have you ever seen the Nicktoon "The Loud House"?

There was an episode where Lincoln and his dad went on LOTHT.

Vaporman87 Posted on May 04, 2020 at 03:09 PM

By the time these kid game shows became popular, I was already off to college. It is shows like this that I wish I could have enjoyed during my prime kid years, as I know I would have totally enjoyed them.

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