At about 6:45 I get up from bed, ready for an exciting day at Universal
Orlando. We grab our tickets and away we go. The first stop
when we got there was to the Studio Audience Center to pick up four tickets
to attend a taping of Beat the Clock for PAX TV. I was really looking
forward to seeing Beat the Clock ever since I knew about it. We
attended the 2:15 taping and it took about an hour to complete. The
interesting thing is that Beat the Clock is taped at Studio 18...that's
right, at Nickelodeon (remember, this is for PAX TV). Weirder still,
Double Dare 2000 was taped in the same exact studio. "OK, a little
weird." I thought. When I walked in, I ran smack dab into the One-Ton
Human Hamster Wheel and Gum Drop. What are they doing there?
Get this, they are props for Beat the Clock. That's right, PROPS
for Beat the Clock, a non Nickelodeon show. My sister had the sudden
urge to reach up and touch the Hamster Wheel, I guess it was amazing to
her or something :-). It doesn't stop there. In the opening
for Beat the Clock, you can see the Hamster Wheel being used as one of
the stunts. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that it's not red anymore...it's
blue. Gum Drop isn't seen in the opening, but when I saw it backstage,
the clear plastic part was taken off. It's still HUGE without it.
As we turned the hallway, I ran into Gary Kroeger, the host of Beat the Clock. I was going to ask him for a quick picture, but decided not to. I got a perfect seat, right in the middle. The overhead camera was in the way, but I could see just fine. The audience warm-up guy, Matt Horohoe, welcomes us, and tells us that all cell phones must be off. However, you are allowed to take as many pictures as you want, as long as you don't have the flash on. As usual, some people can't understand those simple rules, and were jokingly yelled at. After Matt tells about the revival of Beat the Clock, who the host is (as someone sitting next to me said, "Gary who?") when it will premiere and whatnot, we are taught the "handclapping etiquette."
Suddenly, the producer gives us the quiet on the set. "5, 4, 3, applause" "CUT!" The first boo-boo of the day. The opening intro didn't play correctly. They quickly fixed it and tried again. "One of these teams could win up to $25,000" Gary said after the opening intro was done playing. We applaud the $25,000 we will never see again. The first stunt was sort of like a tossup. The three teams of two (the gold team, the blue team, and the red team) were set in position. The object of this stunt was simple. One of the players had a clothes basket on their head and a pool of red balls was set a few feet away. When Gary said "Beat the Clock," all of the players jumped into the pool of balls and scooped as many balls as they could into their basket. Then the player would then go to the ball collecting container and dump them in. The player that filled the container past the line with balls got to play the first challenge. The funny part about it, was when all of the players (6 total) jumped into the kiddy pool filled with balls, the balls flew out of the pool and onto the set like a tidal wave.
The team that won got to choose the challenge for them and the rest of the teams. Each challenge has to be completed within 30 seconds. However, if the team can answer a question correctly, they will win an additional 10 seconds to the clock. Alright, the first stunt is coming up, and wouldn't ya know, it's a Double Dare stunt. Picture this as a stripped version of "Rain on your Parade." Player one has two pitchers. When Gary says "Beat the Clock," player one had to take those two pitchers and get green water from a bucket. Then player one had to climb up a ladder about half way and dump the water into the cup on player two's head. Then player two had to dump the water out of the cup and into the container to fill it past the line. Unfortunately, even with the extra ten seconds the team won, the challenge was not completed. In fact, hardly no water was in the container. On to challenge two. Challenge two was sorta weird. Player one had a plastic pole thing attached to each foot. Player two had a plastic pole thing attached to his head. Without using their hands, player one must get a ring on each plastic thingy and get it onto the plastic thingy on the head of player two. This challenge was completed in lightning fast time.
Time to clean up. Matt comes back and says its time to win some free stuff. I jump at that word, free. The game was like this...an audience member was chosen to ask a question to the rest of the audience. It must be a general knowledge question. If a person from the audience got the question right, they won a t-shirt, but if the person that asked the question stumped the audience, he'd win a t-shirt. The rest of the audience was given five guesses to answer the question. I shot my hand up in the air and I was chosen to ask the question. I asked, "For what game show did Gary Kroeger announce for on GSN?" I know nobody would know the answer, and I was right, and I won a Universal Orlando t-shirt.
Back to the show, challenge three could have been accomplished easily if the team would have worked together. Player one was given a basket of balls. Player two was blindfolded, and on each hand was a rope which was attached to a plastic garbage can upside-down. Player one had to roll the ball and player two had to trap a ball in each of the garbage cans. The challenge was not completed. Then the next stunt is an elimination type stunt. The points you get for completing a stunt are for an advantage in this game. If you have the most points, you have the biggest advantage. One player from each team had a ring on their head (Matt made the comment that they looked like Tellytubbies) and the other partner had to toss a football through the ring. The first to teams to complete the stunt get to go on to the final stunt. At this point, the gold team is eliminated.
The next challenge involved bidding on how fast you think you can complete the next stunt. The bidding started at one minute, and gradually went down to 40 seconds. Player one was attached to a bungee cord, and player two was on the opposite side. Player one had to grab a piece of a puzzle, run over while attached to the cord, and hand it to player two, who had to stay behind the line. About halfway into the stunt, the prop messes up (the board to which the cord was attached to was loose). Time to fix the problem and shoot again. The team had all of the pieces on the board with about 15 seconds left. However, the puzzle had to be put together correctly. (The puzzle was of the Beat the Clock logo) Hoping they could still pull it off, time runs out. The blue team gets eliminated. The red team gets to go to the bonus round, the "Swirling Whirlwind of Cash and Prizes." The team had one minute to grab as much money as they could (A total of $25,000 was up for grabs). However, the money is flying around in the air along with coupons for great prizes. The team won $3,200 in cold hard cash, and won a gift certificate, a trash compactor, and a dish washer. Not bad for one minute. That's the end of the show, as I leave, I ask Matt if I can get Gary Kroeger to sign the shirt I had won earlier. Sure enough, Gary signed it for me. I would sincerely like to thank the entire crew for their great hospitality, and especially Gary for taking the time right after the taping was over to sign the shirt.
Click here for exclusive pictures from when I was inside the studio!