|Legends of the Hidden Temple|
Legends of the Hidden Temple title card
|Created by||David G. Stanley
Scott A. Stone
|Presented by||Kirk Fogg|
|Narrated by||Dee Bradley Baker|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||120 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||Universal Studios Florida|
|Running time||approx. 24 minutes (excl. commercials)|
|Original run||September 11, 1993 – 1995|
Legends of the Hidden Temple is a physical challenge game show for children. Hosted by Kirk Fogg, the show was produced by Nickelodeon in association with Stone Stanley Productions and was taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The show incorporated physical stunts, as well as questions based on topics related to history, mythology, and geography. Each episode featured six teams of two children (one boy and one girl) competing for prizes. Teams competed in various elimination contests until one team remained, who then earned the right to go through "the Hidden Temple" and retrieve a historical artifact to win a grand prize. Legends of the Hidden Temple was the last show to air on Nick GAS on April 23, 2009 from Dish Network.
Legends aired on Nickelodeon from September 11, 1993 to 1995 in first-run and through August 23, 1998 in reruns. From 1999 to 2009, reruns of the show have aired on Nick GAS. The series received positive acclaim, and, in 1995, the show won a CableACE award for Best Game Show Special or Series. In the late 2000s, the show developed a cult following, especially among college students who grew up watching the show.
Legends of the Hidden Temple began airing on Nickelodeon in 1993. The show originally aired on weekends at 6:30, but it had become so successful that it began airing weekdays at 5:30 starting the week of February 14, 1994. The show aired interspersed first-run and rerun episodes until 1995, when the show halted production. It continued airing in reruns for three years until August 23, 1998 when the show stopped airing on Nickelodeon. However, in 1999, the show once again began airing in reruns on Nick GAS. In May 2007, the show appeared back on Nickelodeon's schedule, airing every weekday morning; however, it was unexpectedly taken off the schedule after its last Nickelodeon airing on June 7, 2007. The show continued to air on Nick GAS until April 23, 2009 when Dish Network (the last provider to air Nick GAS) decided to replace the network with the West Coast feed of Cartoon Network. A limited selection of Legends episodes were available on Nick's internet television service TurboNick from January 2008 until that service was discontinued in Summer 2009; the current Nick Video portal features a focus on the network's current programming only. Currently no network is airing Legends.
The producers designed Legends to be set in a manner similar to the Indiana Jones movies. The set design resembled various Ancient Central American iconographies, especially Mayan (and to some extent Aztec). It included areas for different types of physical challenges: a large pool of water (the Moat), a set of steps (the Steps of Knowledge), and a large, two-floor vertical labyrinth (the Hidden Temple) at the back of the stage. At the labyrinth's gate was a giant animatronic talking Olmec head simply named Olmec (voiced by Dee Baker). Olmec narrated the stories told in the steps of knowledge and temple game challenges. Every episode had a theme: a particular legend was picked (written), regarding a certain artifact from around the world that found its way to the Temple (a replica of the actual artifact, if such an artifact existed in real life), and the winning team had to retrieve it. Some artifacts included "Lawrence of Arabia's Headdress," "The Walking Stick of Harriet Tubman," "The Jewel-Encrusted Egg of Catherine the Great," "The Levitating Dog Leash of Nostradamus," and the "Broken Wing of Icarus." In addition to providing an artifact, the legend also was important to other aspects of the show: the Steps of Knowledge used questions based on the historical legend, and the theming of the Temple Games was also loosely based on the legend.
In each episode, six teams of two players (one boy and one girl) each competed in three rounds to get to the temple. Each team was designated a color and an animal, indicated on their uniform shirts: Red Jaguars, Blue Barracudas, Green Monkeys, Orange Iguanas, Purple Parrots and Silver Snakes.
The first round of the show involved a stunt where the six teams had to get across a narrow swimming pool known as the "moat". Some of the commonly used methods included rafts, ropes, and bridges. All six teams attempted to get both members across according to the rules and push a button, thus setting off the team's "gong." Typically, if a team member fell in the water (especially if a team member touches the water, or partner with their hands), that partner (or occasionally both teammates) had to go back and try again until successful. The first four teams to cross the moat and hit their gongs advanced to the second round.
Olmec began the Steps of Knowledge by telling the four remaining teams the episode's legend, which would become the theme for the remainder of the episode. The legend would center around an "artifact" which the winning team would search for in the Temple Run. After finishing, he asked the teams a series of questions to test their memories. Each multiple-choice question had three possible answers. A team that knew the answer buzzed in by stomping on the button on their step (if Olmec was still in the middle of asking the question, he would stop talking immediately). If a team answered correctly, they moved down to the next level. If a team answered incorrectly or went too long without an answer (three seconds after being called upon), only one of the other teams had a chance to answer. The first two teams to step down to the bottom level by answering a total of three questions correctly moved on to the next round.
The Temple Games round was introduced as a turning point in the episode away from the unpredictable Moat and mind games of the Steps of Knowledge. Here, "the glory [went] to the fastest and the strongest" as the two remaining teams competed for as many pendants of life as possible in three physical challenges. Legends employed many types of Temple Games, with the day's legend serving as a theme for each. Temple Game challenges were either untimed or lasted for a maximum of 60 seconds (ending either when time expired or when a team completed the objective). After each challenge, the winning team (the team who completed the objective first or, failing that, the team who made the most progress) was awarded some portion of a protective Pendant of Life. The first two challenges, which pitted single members from each team, awarded a half-pendant each, and the final challenge, involving both players on both teams, awarded a full pendant. If a Temple Game ended in a tie, both teams were awarded the pendant value of that game. After these rounds, the team with the greater number of pendants went on to the final round.
In the event that the two teams' pendant totals were tied after the three games, the teams played a tiebreaker to determine which team would advance to the Temple. A "tiebreaker pedestal" was brought out, and Fogg (or, later in seasons 2 and 3, Olmec) asked a tiebreaker question to determine the winner. The first team to hit the button on top of their gong earned the chance to answer the question. The team had three seconds to answer, and their first response had to be accepted. A correct answer allowed the team to go to the Temple. In Season 1, an incorrect answer (or running out of time) automatically awarded the other team passage to the Temple, but in the second and third seasons, the other team simply received an opportunity to answer the question correctly.
In the final round, often known as the Temple Run, the winning team took whatever Pendants of Life they earned into the temple (1, 1½, or 2), and attempted to retrieve the day's ancient artifact and bring it back to the temple gate successfully. The player designated to go into the temple first would receive one pendant, and the second player received the remainder of what the team had won in the Temple Games (no pendant, a half pendant, or one pendant).
The temple consisted of 12 or 13 rooms, depending on the layout, each connected to adjacent rooms by doorways. The doors were either locked or unlocked; the pattern of locked and unlocked doors changed from episode to episode. Often, doors were locked to require teams to make a more indirect and longer path to the room with the artifact. The unlocked doors could be opened either by completing a specific task or puzzle within each room, or by simply pressing a button (or actuator). One room in the labyrinth contained the themed artifact; three specific rooms other than the artifact room held Temple Guards (spotters in lavish Mayan sentinel costumes). If the winning team had 1½ pendants, the remaining half-pendant would be somewhere in a room as well. However, if the team had only one pendant going into the temple, no extra pendants were hidden.
When a player encountered a Temple Guard, the player was forced to give up a full pendant in order to go on; however, if the first contestant was caught without a pendant (whether he or she had given it to a previous temple guard, or dropped it elsewhere in the temple without picking it back up), he or she was taken out of the temple and it would be the second player's turn to enter, with all opened doors remaining such. Furthermore, each Temple Guard only showed himself once per run, leaving the second player with a clear route to where the first player was eliminated. If the second player did not have a full pendant upon capture, the run ended at that moment. This placed pressure on the second player to search for the hidden half pendant (if he or she had a half pendant) in order to prevent this. If the team had two pendants, they were guaranteed not to have their run end due to the guards, as the first player would remove two (one with a pendant, one with being eliminated) and the second player would remove the third guard with their pendant. Thus, the only way they could lose was by running out of time. However, temple guards were still present in order to slow the contestants down.
The team had three minutes to complete the temple in its entirety. If either player grabbed the artifact, all remaining Temple Guards "vanished" and all locked doors instantly opened, allowing the player to escape unhindered. Just for getting into the temple, the team automatically won a prize. If they picked up the artifact, they also would win another prize of slightly higher value. If they escaped with the artifact before time ran out, the team won a vacation (sometimes to another state or country), or a week at NASA's Space Camp, in addition to the two merchandise prizes.
In Seasons 2 and 3, the viewers at home had a map of the temple in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, with a pink line showing the current contestant's path through the temple, with a blinking pink dot showing the room where the artifact was located. The viewers also had a heads-up display showing how many pendants the contestants had remaining.
In its three years of production, Legends produced 120 episodes (40 in each of the three seasons). Many historical and mythological figures were featured as subjects of legends during the show's run.
During the three seasons that the show was produced, the temple contained a wide variety of rooms that contestants had to conquer to win the grand prize.
One of the most identifiable rooms of the Hidden Temple was the Shrine of the Silver Monkey, which was the only room to remain in the Hidden Temple throughout the entirety of the show's run.