Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?  (Read 4069 times)

gamed121683

  • Member
  • Posts: 736
How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« on: September 15, 2021, 11:42:11 PM »
As we all know, reruns of Whew! are back on TV again thanks to Buzzr. Because of this, it got me to thinking...How did this show with an unpronounceable name become a bit of a cult favorite in game show-dom to begin with? Some research let me to two possible results:

1. According to the show's Wikipedia page (Take it with a grain of salt, I know), "Whew! did particularly well among children during the summer of 1979, an audience that it lost when those children returned to school that autumn; this audience, later known as Generation X, is what gave the show its later cult following despite its absence from reruns."

2. Randy Amasia's website from back in the day probably brought on that "OMG, I totally forget about that show!" feeling to those '70s kids (now '90s adults) browsing the page. Heck, maybe it brought on curiosity to those younger wondering what the big deal was all about.

Any other reasons for Whew's cult following? Is their any validity to the aforementioned two?




Jimmy Owen

  • Member
  • Posts: 7282
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2021, 06:25:52 AM »
I would say Randy's search for his appearances kept the show alive.  I saw the show while in college and I thought it was okay, but too fast for the hausfraus it was designed for.
Let's Make a Deal was the first show to air on Buzzr. 6/1/15 8PM.

Ian Wallis

  • Member
  • Posts: 3604
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2021, 09:46:57 AM »
1. According to the show's Wikipedia page (Take it with a grain of salt, I know), "Whew! did particularly well among children during the summer of 1979, an audience that it lost when those children returned to school that autumn;

I don't remember reading that on Wikipedia until recently - I don't think it's been there that long.  When I read it, it was the first I'd heard of that.  It could be correct, but since the show was cancelled in May, 1980, why not just keep it on over the summer months to see if that happens again?  They could have delayed Alice reruns a few more months.
For more information about Game Shows and TV Guide Magazine, click here:
https://gamesandclassictv.neocities.org/
NEW LOCATION!!!

tvmitch

  • Member
  • Posts: 1345
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2021, 11:02:01 AM »
For me, it was Randy's website and appearance on the show that piqued my interest. I was born after the show ended, so I never saw it until getting a copy of Randy's episode in a tape trade in the late '90s.

The entry in the EoTVGS also piqued my curiosity. After reading the description of Whew! (what a completely ridiculous format!), it easily became one of the top 3 shows I wanted to see.

And Jimmy is right - the show stands out because is such a different pace than most any other game show of that 1979-80 era. It was up against Hollywood Squares, and adjacent to High Rollers. It was really the only fast-paced network quiz show at the time.
You should follow me on Twitter

KrisW73

  • Member
  • Posts: 203
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2021, 11:57:45 AM »
1. According to the show's Wikipedia page (Take it with a grain of salt, I know), "Whew! did particularly well among children during the summer of 1979, an audience that it lost when those children returned to school that autumn; this audience, later known as Generation X, is what gave the show its later cult following despite its absence from reruns."


I want to put validity into this statement. I was a kid at the time (six years old) but loved the show so much that after my return to school it was must watch TV when I was home on days off.

Kniwt

  • Member
  • Posts: 976
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2021, 12:14:49 PM »
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder" -- or, if you prefer, "abscess makes the fart go Honda."

We tend to want what we cannot have ... and until just recently, Whew! was one of those things we couldn't have, made all the more tempting by the few circulating episodes out there. And it's a game format that's never been "reinvented for the 21st century" (even if it should!).

Interestingly, though, other "cult" shows once thought mostly "lost" -- MGHS and Narz Concentration, for example -- seem to have lost their "coolness" factor after they were "found" and became widely available. Other than the rare or unusual event, we really don't talk much about them anymore.

Going off into wild speculation here, if the entire run of The Magnificent Marble Machine (another format that's never been rebooted) suddenly became available, it might get a week's worth of "Oh wow!" and a breezy article on Buzzfeed ... but then, like the other titles that have magically appeared, it would just become part of the Buzzr wallpaper and occasional forum chat. And we'd do a few posts about how seriously flawed it was, and that would be that.

catnap1972

  • Member
  • Posts: 626
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2021, 12:28:31 PM »

I don't remember reading that on Wikipedia until recently - I don't think it's been there that long.  When I read it, it was the first I'd heard of that.  It could be correct, but since the show was cancelled in May, 1980, why not just keep it on over the summer months to see if that happens again?  They could have delayed Alice reruns a few more months.

I was going to make a comment about that blurb on Wiki awhile back.  If VCRs were more widely available back then (and assuming said blurb has any veracity to it) would that have 'saved' the show or was it still destined to be cancelled one way or the other?

calliaume

  • Member
  • Posts: 2087
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2021, 12:38:19 PM »
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder"
Precisely. As with the examples in this thread, once we've been given access to the "treasure trove," we've discussed the individual episodes and realized that perhaps the show wasn't quite the Holy Grail we'd thought. And this goes back a long way--remember how excited we once were when the CBS episodes of The Joker's Wild hit GSN for the first time?

I remember liking Whew! when it was first on, but it wasn't appointment television. (It aired when I was a junior and senior in high school, which was an exceptionally busy period in my life--I'm not sure I was aware of the addition of celebrities until Christmas 1979.)

I'm not sure Magnificent Marble Machine, even if a pile of episodes were found, would ever get anything more than a "what the hell is this?" from most people.

BrandonFG

  • Member
  • Posts: 16818
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2021, 12:54:15 PM »
That Gen-X blurb caught me off guard too. And maybe kids liked the cartoonish elements like the animated intro, the sound effects, or the villains and set, but I don’t think I’ve seen a single person outside of this forum refer to the show, esp. from that generation.

I say this as a member of a “Xennials” (Gen-X + millennials) FB group. Of all the obscure pop culture mentioned, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Whew!

/Hmmmm
//Just got an idea…brb
"I’m not gonna miss a Biggie question, Sara.”

Now celebrating his 19th season on GSF!

SamJ93

  • Member
  • Posts: 696
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2021, 01:37:32 PM »
Whew! just may be the deepest, most intriguing game show format that ever made it to air. The front game mixes trivia, humor, strategy and psychology all in near-equal measure.

In other words, it's an absolutely perfect show for game show nerds and fans of games in general...but just a bit too complicated and frantic for the average daytime TV viewer in 1979. A perfect recipe for cult status.
It was Bob Barker. He was eating a bologna and cheese-ball sandwich.

Jimmy Owen

  • Member
  • Posts: 7282
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2021, 03:56:11 PM »
Now that Burt Sugarman is open to negotiation, how about "Celebrity Sweepstakes" :)

The only "Holy Grails" I want now are the Don Lipp/Ron Greenberg duo from ABC.
Let's Make a Deal was the first show to air on Buzzr. 6/1/15 8PM.

Ian Wallis

  • Member
  • Posts: 3604
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2021, 06:38:26 PM »

Precisely. As with the examples in this thread, once we've been given access to the "treasure trove," we've discussed the individual episodes and realized that perhaps the show wasn't quite the Holy Grail we'd thought. And this goes back a long way--remember how excited we once were when the CBS episodes of The Joker's Wild hit GSN for the first time?

I remember liking Whew! when it was first on, but it wasn't appointment television. (It aired when I was a junior and senior in high school, which was an exceptionally busy period in my life--I'm not sure I was aware of the addition of celebrities until Christmas 1979.)


I think a large part of it for me is nostalgia.  I guess we all have fond memories of certain things from when we were kids and would like to experience them again.  Whew is a show that was different from most others, and was really kind of cool - from the game play, set, frantic pace, theme music (still among the best of all time IMHO).  I really enjoyed what I saw in summer of 1979, but because of school starting up again in September, I never really saw that many other episodes, besides a few at exam time, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break and probably 1980's spring break.  Then it disappeared way too quickly.

When game show reruns started to become a big thing, we saw shows like Let's Make A Deal, Match Game, Pyramid, Feud, etc. over and over (and before anyone says anything, I realize those were the most popular shows and most likely gaining the network the most money), but where were the shows like Whew!  It seemed destined to remain in our faint memories - other than the dozen or so episodes that circulate.

CBS Joker's Wild was anticipated because it gave me a chance to see some of what I missed first time around.  The 72-73 episodes may have been much slower, but it was neat to see how the whole thing started.  IMHO, what GSN should have done after the first few weeks was jump ahead - probably to summer 1974 episodes and beyond.  Those episodes were much faster paced and more to what most people likely remembered.
For more information about Game Shows and TV Guide Magazine, click here:
https://gamesandclassictv.neocities.org/
NEW LOCATION!!!

Ian Wallis

  • Member
  • Posts: 3604
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2021, 06:46:12 PM »
In other words, it's an absolutely perfect show for game show nerds and fans of games in general...but just a bit too complicated and frantic for the average daytime TV viewer in 1979. A perfect recipe for cult status.

That was part of the problem.  While most of us here seem to love the show, I can understand why the average viewer would be confused by it.  It does move very quickly and at the end of a round, most people might think "what just happened?"  There wasn't time to fully appreciate the humor.  It's one of those shows you have to pay really close attention to in order to appreciate it and most housewives (daytime TV was still primarily aimed at them at the time) didn't have the time to devote to it.
For more information about Game Shows and TV Guide Magazine, click here:
https://gamesandclassictv.neocities.org/
NEW LOCATION!!!

Ian Wallis

  • Member
  • Posts: 3604
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2021, 06:50:01 PM »
Now that Burt Sugarman is open to negotiation, how about "Celebrity Sweepstakes" :)

The only "Holy Grails" I want now are the Don Lipp/Ron Greenberg duo from ABC.

I've been wondering about Celebrity Sweepstakes for some time now.  Does anyone know with any certainty that more than just the four or five episodes we know about still exist?  If so, are there enough for a repeat run?

Re the ABC shows, IIRC wasn't it reported that most of Money Maze still exists but is in bad quality?  Haven't heard much about the status of Big Showdown.
For more information about Game Shows and TV Guide Magazine, click here:
https://gamesandclassictv.neocities.org/
NEW LOCATION!!!

thomas_meighan

  • Member
  • Posts: 154
Re: How did "Whew!" gain cult status?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2021, 07:32:43 PM »
Absence does sometimes make the heart grow fonder, but actually, I’m liking “Whew!” *more* now that I’m seeing its wheels turning day by day, rather than the isolated episodes or runs of single champions that we had earlier. Charging seems tougher than blocking, especially when a new contestant faces an established champ, but it’s all the more satisfying when the charger wins.

Re: other shows with previously limited availability, the Narz “Concentration” has become a top favorite of mine. It has great hosting, fairly challenging puzzles, and a high level of play-along value, which are among the factors I value most in a game show. Granted, the prizes aren’t overly lavish and there are no returning champions, but those aren’t overly important to me.

MG-HSH has a certain level of visual appeal (and a fine theme song), but since both parts were done better elsewhere (with real chemistry among the panelists), it’s not priority viewing for me. Maybe my opinion will adjust itself over time.

Other “absent” shows that I think would be rediscovered gems, if a cache should ever resurface, include the original “You Don’t Say,” “Eye Guess,” ABC “Password,” “Three on a Match,” “Split Second,” “Gambit” and more. And I’m enough of a word game devotee to hope something of “Snap Judgment” turns up.