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'It sucked': Legends of the Hidden Temple, as remembered by a former contestant


From the original article, Wretches of the Hidden Temple: Cruelest game show, played by worst children:

Surely these kids aren't dumb. Surely they are good at problem-solving and get good grades in school and know how to do long division. This is just what this show does to you, man: it rips the ambitions out of your preteen soul and reduces you to a wandering ghoul without short-term memory or long-term ambition. It envelops you in a matrix of horrors. In these three minutes, the waters rise and fall, the fields erode to canyons, civilizations are built and toppled, and at the very end, you are left to cling to a rope, without destination or purpose.

You short heroes. You little fools.

[...] Well, as luck would have it, a former contestant on the show saw the piece and offered to talk about her time on Hidden Temple.

Keeli, then 12 years old, appeared on the "Stone Marker of Leif Erikson" episode. By the time their Temple Run began, Keeli and her Red Jaguars teammate had spent the last 12 hours advancing through various rounds of competition, including the Steps of Knowledge, in which they were given a brief history lesson and answered a series of trivia questions accordingly.

"To be honest," Keeli says, "I thought we were pretty much dead in the water on the Steps of Knowledge because my partner was an abject idiot."
Keeli did all her team's work on her own, correctly answering all three of her questions to send the Red Jaguars forward in the tournament.

[...] Over the 120-episode run of the show, only 32 teams would ever win the Temple Run round. Of course, neither Keeli nor anyone else knew that. "If I recall correctly, we were the first day of filming for the first season of this show, so I don't think the show-runners had really any idea that this game was practically impossible for a kid between the ages of 12 and 14 to complete."

[...] The Temple was quite an ambitious set for a game show, and on the first day of shooting, glitches abounded. A bucket lift in one room seems to have been completely missing. Several doors didn't open properly. Keeli actually had to start the Temple Run three times, as the first two were halted due to faulty equipment.

[...] So what are the Temple Guards there for?

Scaring the Hell out of kids, apparently. The Temple Guards, Keeli says, "are the scariest thing imaginable. Nothing is scarier and I will stand by that statement until the day I die.

[...] "When the second Guard got me and ushered me through that little door to the back of the set, I just burst into tears. I was scared. I was tired.

"I'm 31 and I can't go to haunted houses. I'm deathly afraid of things popping out of closets and doors, etc., at me. I can't watch scary movies where things jump out and scare people. Can I say that this is directly related to that? No, not 100 percent, but ..."

Legends of the Hidden Temple was re-run for several years. Each time her episode aired, she said, a different grand prize was featured than the one that was actually at stake. One was a trip to Universal Studios -- which is where the show was being filmed in the first place.

The actual grand prize, which she wasn't made aware of until the episode aired, was a trip to Busch Gardens. I asked her whether it hurt to fall just short.

"Have you ever been to Busch Gardens? It's a shitshow."

Read the rest of the interview at SBNation

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