The Game Board That Seeded a TV Career

Back in the early 90's I worked for the show Wild & Crazy Kids on Nickelodeon. I found several clips on YouTube recently and was amazed to find this one game segment that has a special place in my TV career history...

It was the show's final season and I was a new production assistant on the crew. I had no aspirations of a TV career. It was just a job to pay the rent while dreams of being a successful illustrator danced in my head. At the time there wasn't an official art department or prop crew. The PA's shopped for, gathered, made, set up and assembled almost everything. The producers usually didn't have very high artistic expectations for props beyond being functional and decent looking. For the most part on every game, just making sure stuff was painted team colors was the only design note.

One week they wanted to reprise a "hidden word" challenge from a previous season and had us pull the old beat up game board for it from storage. I was assigned to clean it up and stencil on the new hidden words. The original board was really scratched up and dirty. I ended up re-painting the whole thing. While I was at it, thinking it pretty drab and boring looking as well, I painted on the show's exclamation point icons for fun (the two blue ones, left and right, in the top picture). They were just simple additional details that I was happily surprised to find the producer's really liked. Soon after, once in awhile, requests were made of me to add some production value to things. I suddenly had a sense of purpose on the show. a TV set design and prop career was beginning to bloom.

I did however get carried away once in while, voluntarily preoccupying myself making props with extra unneeded details forgetting the bigger picture and more important concerns. There were a few times when I heard things like this from the producers...
"Yes, the word BLAP on all the buckets look great with their nice drop
shadows and all, but where is the gallons of BLAP to go in them?"

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