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Author Topic: Cullen Blockbusters boards  (Read 4617 times)

chris319

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2020, 08:43:05 PM »
Are you all on covid quarantine or something?

CoreyArcher

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2020, 09:16:55 PM »
I don't remember noticing that there were a finite number of boards, but, back in the early 2000s when I was working on watching the entire run of Blockbusters on GSN, I remember noticing that "LARVE" regularly showed up from left to right across the board.

It also slightly annoyed the OCD side of me that the hexagons did not all have exactly the same symmetry.

Adam Nedeff

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2021, 11:41:04 PM »
BUMP!

Straight from the producing horse's mouth:

Because they had all of the letters loaded into the slide projectors for each hexagon, they could have theoretically had any configuration they wanted. When it got close to time to start production, here were the problems that occurred to them with doing this--

Somebody would have to sit down during the week leading up to the next taping and go "Okay, we'll put the R next to the B for game 1...no, wait, we used the R next to the B in the configuration for the previous match...let's see, what letter haven't I used yet on this board?" And that seemed like a lot of work for the thankless task of coming up with a unique jumble of 20 letters for each game of each match.

Once the shows are taping and it's time to start a new game, the person in charge of the game board would have to pull out a paper guide, check which configuration they're using, and then painstakingly go from hexagon to hexagon..."Let's see, #1 has to be on F, #2 has to be on W..." and then double-check the whole thing and make sure no letters are up there twice and that it matched the guide that had been arranged for them. So they were anticipating about a 5-to-10-minute stopdown before each game to do that.

It was much easier to come up with 20 jumbles of letters and arrange the letters in each slide projector to correspond to those jumbles, because with the remote control system they had for the slide projectors, they could say "Set all the slide projectors to position #7 for game 1, then set them to position #18 for game two, and then..." It took one press of a button to do that, and no stopdown would be needed.

And that's the story of why the Blockbusters board used finite configurations.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2021, 01:31:40 AM by Adam Nedeff »

Matt Ottinger

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2021, 11:08:11 AM »
This might very well be my favorite thread ever.  Thanks to Adam for adding to it, and reminding me of it.
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
Stay tuned for all the obsessive-compulsive fun of Words Have Meanings.

TLEberle

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2021, 11:42:49 AM »
Ditto! This has ben informative and elucidating.

My question--how much does the cost of slides contribute to the (above/below the) line cost of running a game show. Sure it isn't scenic flats like you'd see on Deal, Price or Sale of the Century, but if you have to take a picture of a group of letters and for some of the four and five letter groupings you might never use them again. At least Joker's Wild had a rotation of about fifty categories so you just reach into the card catalog drawer and fish them out, and you have the same forty slides for the end game every day.
Travis L. Eberle

thewhammy_2000

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2021, 02:10:34 PM »
On some episodes, I would notice that sometimes the top row would have L A R V E and I would think "Are they spelling out 'larvae' or something. I did not pay attention to the rest of the board if it's the same board pattern.

chris319

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2021, 04:10:17 PM »
How many slides could a Carousel projector tray hold? That minus one is the theoretical maximum number of patterns they could have, with one position being an open gate.

knagl

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Re: Cullen Blockbusters boards
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2021, 10:10:30 PM »
How many slides could a Carousel projector tray hold? That minus one is the theoretical maximum number of patterns they could have, with one position being an open gate.

If we're talking about standard consumer-grade Kodak ones, it looks like 80 was the standard, but there was also a 140-slide carousel.