Think Fast!

Think Fast!

"Think Fast" was a TV game show airing on Nickelodeon from May 1, 1989 to June 29, 1991. Two teams, the Blue Team and the Gold Team, competed in various stunts (known on the show as "events") designed to test the players' physical ability and mental agility, to win money and prizes. The show's format was similar to that of adult game shows such as "Password" and "Beat the Clock".

For the first season, the show was hosted by Michael Carrington, and announced by James Eoppolo. When the show moved to the new Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida for season two, Eoppolo was invited to stay on as announcer but he was contractually obligated to another project by that time. Carrington was replaced by Skip Lackey and the new announcer was Henry J (who would later announce another Nickelodeon children's game show, "Get the Picture").

Main game

The show consisted of two teams of two (one of them wearing Gold, another wearing Blue) that competed in various events that would "boggle the mind as well as the bodies." The team that completed each stunt won money ($50 for round one and $100 for round two).

Frequently played events

* Simon-type games - Contestants had to repeat in order a sequence of events, adding one event of their own to the sequence. The first team to get any item in the sequence wrong lost the event. Examples of Simon games included the following:
** We've Got Your Number (renamed "Close Calls" in the Lackey era) - contestants had to punch in a sequence of numbers on a large telephone.
** Pat the Uncle (renamed "Burp the Uncle" in the Lackey era) - contestants had to push down on the shoulders of three fat "uncles", making them belch violently. The "uncles" were enormously fat men who would be snacking on bowls of random food items which included popcorn, tortilla chips, candy and Pepto-Bismol.
** Paint Catcher - each team had a "pitcher" with a bucket of paint-filled balloons, and a "catcher" who wore a body shield composed of an abrasive material. Each team had to take turns throwing red, yellow, green, or blue paint balloons at his opponent in sequence.
** Sounding Board - a number of noisemaking objects was placed on a table; each team had to make noises with the noisemakers in sequence.

* Flog - The name of this event was "golf" spelled backwards. A miniature golf hole was set up in the studio, and to be able to putt, contestants had to observe a word spelled backwards and tell what the correct word was when spelled correctly. The team who made it into the hole first won. Occasionally, palindromes were thrown in to catch the contestants off guard; the most notable and often used was RACECAR (used on the show itself as well as when Carrington demonstrated the game as a guest host on another Nickelodeon show, "Don't Just Sit There".)

* Plumber's Blackjack - The goal of this event was for one contestant to pour random containers of colored water into a larger container over the other contestant's head. The teams took turns, with the goal to get to a marked line on the large container without going over (unlike "Double Dare"). If a team went past the line, the other team won automatically.

* Weight and Seesaw - Each contestant was placed on one side of a balance, with random household objects having a combined weight heavier than the contestant on the other side. Teams would take turns removing items attempting to balance the scale within a range. If a team took too much off the scale, the contestant would outweigh the objects onto the other side and descend into a large bowl filled with slime. The first team to balance the scale won the event.

* America's Most Wanted Clowns - The host would begin to explain the rules to some bizarre, nonsense "event" when an outlandishly-dressed clown would suddenly run through the studio. After this happened, the real event was for the contestants to answer questions that had to do with what the clown was wearing, the team answering the most questions correctly winning.

* Basketball-type games: - Contestants had to shoot balls into baskets, either of which corresponded to answers of a question or set of questions. Variations included:
** A giant basketball goal was set up above a large tube, with a number of colored rubber balls to its side. Each tube had a phrase with a color word left out (example, "_______ mountains majesty"). The contestants had to shoot the plastic balls through the hoop and into the tube to correctly match the colors with the phrases. The most correct phrases won the event.
** Ten small hoops were mounted to a giant backboard with their nets tied closed. each of which corresponded to the name of a sound effect. Six of the sound effects were played, after which the contestants had 30 seconds to shoot basketballs into the hoops corresponding to the correct sounds. The team with the most baskets with correct answers filled won the event.

* This is to That - Contestants faced a board of anagrams (scrambled words). The host gave a series of analogies in which the last word in the phrase was located somewhere on the board scrambled. When an analogy was given, the contestant buzzed in and ran up to the board to unscramble the right word. The player who successfully unscrambled the most words won the event.

* Categorically Speaking - A letter was given at the start, then a category was given by the host ("a la Scattergories"). The first player to buzz in gave an answer that began with that set letter and fit the category. Then the opposing player did the same. Contestants continued to alternate turns until one player either gave an answer that did not fit the category and/or begin with the set letter, repeated a word (including different forms of a word), or ran out of time. For each mistake a player made, his opponent scored one point, and the player with the most points won the event.

* Word search - Contestants had to find words in a puzzle based on clues given by the host; correctly finding a word resulted in the contestant being able to pour a bucket of slop into a pipe with a funnel. The team that filled their pipe first won the event.

The "Think Fast" Brain Bender

After each event, the winners of the event in addition to the cash won a chance to solve a visual puzzle known as the "Brain Bender". In each attempt a puzzle piece was removed. The puzzle could be a picture of a celebrity, a rebus, a close-up object or objects in common. Correctly solving a Brain Bender was worth $200. If the Brain Bender was solved in the first round, another one was started in the second half. If nobody solved the Brain Bender after the final event, a sudden death showdown was played. Originally teams alternated turns taking guesses after each puzzle piece was removed; in later episodes, pieces were removed one at a time until one player buzzed in with a correct answer.

On several episodes, a different version of the Brain Bender was used in which one of six pictures or drawings was revealed after every event. The teams had to guess what the depicted items all had in common.

The team with the most money at the end of the game won and advanced to the bonus round, the Locker Room.

The Locker Room

The team with the most money went to the Locker Room. In the locker room were 15 large lockers, each containing a costumed character or a number of themed objects (example, a number of rubber balls which would fly out at the contestant.) In total, there were 7 pairs of characters or objects, as well as an unpaired locker. Each match won a prize.

Carrington version

Each player had 30 seconds apiece to find as many pairs as they could. The unpaired locker contained a Time Bomb. If the first player did not open the locker with the Time Bomb within 20 seconds, ten seconds would be deducted from the second player's time; otherwise the second player kept the full 30 seconds. On very early episodes, finding the Time Bomb also "added" 10 seconds to the second player's time; this rule was dropped after only two or three tapings. Each match on this version was worth increasingly valuable prizes; making six matches won the team a trip.

Lackey version

This time, the team took turns for each match, and the team had 60 seconds to find all seven matches. For the first four matches made, both players won $100; the other three were worth prizes, with the grand prize being awarded for the seventh match (on this version, it was not always a trip). The unpaired locker contained the "Red Herring," which was simply a character with no match. If the Red Herring was found, the contestant had to "yank on the Herring Handle", a cord suspended in the center of the room, to be able to continue to the next character. When this handle was pulled, a bucket of red plastic fish toys (a pun based on the term "red herring") was released onto this character while his door was being closed.


"Think Fast" was taped at WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the first season. The show relocated to the newly opened Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida for the second season, where the set received a makeover.

External links

* [ A Think Fast! review]
* [ Rules for Think Fast!]

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