by Pamela Fae Jackson, freelance writer
THE AMERICAN phenomenon, the game show, has taken Jamaica's west end resorts of Negril by storm. However, the entertainment program, known as Game Show Mania, has been modified to place emphasis on childhood memories, which provides fun for the observers and participants. According to the Game Show's coordinator, Sandy Sowell, "It is the Jeopardy that the rest of us (ordinary people) can do with ease."
Introduced at the start of this year at Sandals' Negril, Game Show Mania's popularity among guests and staff members has soared so rapidly that the Sandals Beaches properties, which cater to the family, also introduced the show this month. "Most are cultural references that we all grew up on. That's what the game show is based on; so there are a lot of cartoon references - like Fred, and Barney. What I've tried to do is not make it race or country specific," said Sandy, an American. What that means is that the show can be successfully exported to any country, and, in the hotel setting, guests from any part of the world can play comfortably alongside North Americans.
Game Show Mania has all the glamour and dazzle of the televised game shows viewers have come to love ... glitzy curtains and all. On the show, four individuals or four teams, stand at black matte-finished podiums and to answer the questions posed before the electronic timer beeps them out. There are no point deductions for wrong answers.
At a recent staging of the show at Sandals Negril, guests jockeyed for participation, With members of the audience doing their best not to scream the answers to such questions as 'What did the three kittens lose?' "This offers our guests diversity of entertainment and because most are from North America, they are used to the game show concept," said the hotel's public relations manager Fitz Davis. He added that the game show has become one of the guests' favorite after-dinner events and has one of the highest audience participation of all the entertainment programs on the property. Winners accumulate points which they can exchange for gift baskets, tokens, t-shirts and other souvenirs that the hotel provides.
As it happens, audience participation is Sandy's forte. For 20 years she has been "making a room happen, without being obnoxious". She began to earn a living as a 'singing telegram' employee then branched out to be manager of a band 10 years later, an experience which she said has given her the ability to hold the attention of an audience.
Coded for age, Game Show Mania can be adopted to be of interest to the very young or the very old. The show is operated exclusively by Sowell as an after- dinner show in her home state of West Virginia and nearby states."I spent literally hundreds of hours in research, to find questions most common to most of us and are not too taxing on the brain,"said Sandy.
By the way, the answer you might have been looking for to the question above is: "Me kittens lost their mittens". You would've earned 10 points if you got it right.