Thursday, January 12, 2012

Game Time: The Pop 'N' Rocker Game (1983)

Until 1983, Jon Bauman was better known as the deep-voiced, muscular, hammy Bowzer from Sha Na Na. In the fall of '83, Bauman, who'd made the rounds of game shows as Bowzer, including multiple appearances on Celebrity Charades & Match Game, went to the dry look, and became a game show host himself. He had not one, but two series that season. The one everyone knows is, of course, the ill-fated Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, in which he was given the dubious task, for reasons no one really knows, to fill Peter Marshall's chair as Squares MC, which must've upset Match's Gene Rayburn, as it spoiled his return to NBC, where Match had originally launched more than 20 years earlier. Reportedly, Rayburn and Bauman didn't get along behind the scenes, but then, combining two beloved series in a hour-long block opposite the then-mighty General Hospital was doomed to fail from the start, and it was cancelled in less than a year.

Fewer viewers saw Bauman's other game show, The Pop 'N' Rocker Game, which was a syndicated weekend series that didn't play in as many markets. I should know. It wasn't picked up locally, insofar as I remember. It, too, lasted one season, then faded into obscurity. Bauman later moved on to VH1 as one of their first on-air talents, but today, he's back to being Bowzer, but time has not been kind, as he's packed on some pounds, based on an infomercial he co-hosted that aired intermittently last year.

Anyway, here's a clip from the pilot episode of Pop 'N' Rocker, with musical guest Oingo Boingo.

No rating. As I said, I never saw the show.


clutch cargo cult said...

I remember seeing some of this show during its original run. I'd be interested in a complete list of bands who appeared. Definitely alot of LA-based bands. I remember the LA punk bank X on one episode (am I misremembering that?). There was a certain slapdash quality to the whole thing. Obviously, few if any of the performances were not lip-synched. The one funny moment that has stuck with me was an episode where Bauman is about to introduce the mystery artist behind the curtain. the premise of the show is that the performer would have been the answer to a question on the previous round. Jackson Browne had been one (of several) performer mentioned in the previous round. Bauman starts to do the reveal, "...and here to perform for us is none other than the legendary.." and the very excited contestant beside him shouts out, "JACKSON BROWNE?!?!". Bauman hangs his head for a second and says "no...the Mamas & the PaPas!" and the curtain opens to reveal the Mamas & the Papas (i think this was during a period when John Philips was the only original member in the lineup. The Mamas & the Papas are standing there like someone just pee'd in their Cheerios but immediately launch into a lip-synched version of "California Dreamin'" or whatever. I knew enough to know that this could have been edited out and wasn't.

hobbyfan said...

Don't have a list available, and I'd not be surprised if a check of the show's Wikipedia page revealed nothing of the sort, either.