Legends of The Hidden Temple (1993 – 1995): Looking back at the Insane Game Show of the mid-90s.

You must be wondering…

Was there a Legends of the Hidden Temple movie in 1993? You most likely know the 2016 reboot movie produced by Amy Sydorick.

Yes, the original classic Legends of The Hidden Temple was released on September 11, 1993, and was broadcasted until November 14, 1995. If you were a teenager around that time, you must have watched this show very early in the morning while seeping your chocolate milk some eggrolls. That was my morning routine back in the ‘90s.

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The show brings all the memories and the nostalgia of binging on the show and laughing all day long.

Let us jump in….

The background of The Legends of the Hidden Temple.

The Legends of the Hidden Temple was an American action-adventure television game show that was broadcasted on Nickelodeon from 1993 to 1995. The show was created by David G. Stanely, Scott, and Stephen Brown.

It featured a fictitious temple filled with lost treasures guarded by mysterious Mayan temple guards. Kirk Frogg hosted the show while Dee Bradley Baker voiced the stone head called Olmec.

It was a product of the partnership between Nickelodeon and Stone Stanley productions and was recorded at the Nick studios in Orlando, Florida. After the show ended, there was some rerun on Nick GAS from 1999 to 2007, and sometimes it was shown on TeenNick’s NickRewind sessions from 2015.

The Legend of the Hidden Temple was undeniably the best Game Show series in the mid-90s. This was evident when it won the CableACE award.

Most recently, in 2019, it was announced that the show would have a reboot that has an adults swing on it. It was expected to start showing on April 2020 on Quibi before the pandemic messed all the release dates for popular shows and movies. The reboot casting was announced in a Quibian tweet in March 2020. But unfortunately, the entire announcement was canceled by Quibi, most likely because of the looming pandemic at the time. All the production efforts were stopped at the same time.

How the Legend of the Hidden Temple’s Production came to be
The prospective candidates for the show had to be 11 – 14 years old. The challenge was to complete several physical tasks, including climbing and running ropes and a written test. The majority of candidates were selected from Orlando, Florida.

The show started airing on Nickelodeon in the mid-90s. It was initially airing at 6:30 a.m. on weekends. This was a good time for the show because most of the viewers watched the show around this time and gave the show a positive rating. Because of the positive reviews and ratings from viewers, it was moved to airing on weekdays at 5:30 p.m.

In 1994, the show was renewed for a 40 episode of Season 2. By June 6, all the auditions had been done, and the show started showing around that time. It was initially conceived as the Secretes of the Haunted House, designed to scare the candidates who were competing the haunted house.

Unfortunately, the production of season four canceled mid-year before it was released.

How the Game was Played.

The design of the Legends of the Hidden Temple was based on the film from Indian Jones. It had the Mayan set that included areas for various kinds of physical challenges: a large low pool of water (the moat), and a number of steps called the Steps of Knowledge.

It also featured a large 2&1/2 floor vertical labyrinth that symbolized the hidden Temple. A talking Olmec head called Olmec, which was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, was the first thing you meet at the Temple’s entrance. Olmec narrated the stories told at the steps of knowledge and the challenges ahead at the Temple of knowledge. In the first season, Fogg was the one who described the challenges.

Each episode focused on a specific legend and about the artifacts from all over the world that made their way to the Temple. Some of the artifacts included:

  • Lawrance of Arabia’s Headdress,
  • Electrified Key of Benjamin Franklin,
  • The Jewel-Encrusted Egg of Catherine the Great,
  • Broken Wing of Icarus.
The logo of the show was based on Olmec’s face. The Legend was an important aspect of the show, as it provided the artifacts. The step of knowledge utilized history-related questions and the games were all based on the Legend.

Every episode saw six teams of two players begin a tri-round contest to find out which team was entitled to join the Temple. The teams were referred to by a color: Red Jaguars, Blue Barracudas, Green Monkeys, Orange Iguanas, Purple Parrots, Silver Snakes, etc. The animals were printed on their shirts.

The planning of the game show.

First Round

In round 1 of the show, the six teams tried to cross a narrow swimming pool called the moat. Here the team was asked to swing through a rope net in the middle of the moat, to climb it, and swim on the other.

Each team of six would try to successfully get two of its members across by following the rules, and the push the button rings a gong on a pedestal. The first team of four that successfully crossed the moat and hit the button would advance to the second round.

Second Round

The remaining four teams are now at the top of levels of the Step of Knowledge. Olmec would start the round by telling the remaining teams the Legend of the featured artifacts that became the focus of the rest of the episode.

Here, the Legend based is on the artifact that the winning team looked for in the last round. At this stage, Olmec told the team the rooms to search for the artifact. Upon completion, Olmec would ask the teams a variety of questions to test their memories.

Every question featured multiple questions with multiple choices with three possible answers. A team would attempt to respond by first punching the button at their step, causing the front to flash. Here Olmec would stop talking for a while when the team is in the middle of the question.

The team that replied correctly went down to the next stage. When a team responded incorrectly or ran out of time, the other team was given an opportunity to respond. The first two teams that will answer the three questions correctly and reached the lowest level would go round 3.

Third Round

Photo: cinemablend.com
This is the level for the Temple games. It comprises the two remaining teams who competed for three physical challenges in the final round to win Pendants of Life. Several different temple games were introduced, each with the Legend of the episodes as a focus. Most temple games lasted up to 1 minute, but some were unexpected. The winning team earned a portion of the Pendant of life.

The first two challenges were worth half a pendant, while the final challenge with all participants in both teams was worth a whole pendant. When a temple match came to an end, both teams earned the benefits of the game.

By the end of the three temple games, the team that will have received the most pendants gained the right to join the Temple. If there was a tie (two teams with the same number of pendants), the team played a tiebreaker to decide who went to the Temple. The teams stood behind a tiebreaker footstool, and Fogg or Olmec asked them a tiebreaker question.

The first team to hit the button was allowed to answer the question. The team that gave the correct answer was allowed to go to the Temple. Originally a team that buzzed in and responded incorrectly or immediately lost time, allowing the other team to proceed to the Temple by default.

However, the other team was expected to respond correctly to the question in seasons 2 and 3 to be allowed to go to the Temple.

The Last Round

Image Coutesy: IMDB
The last round is the temple run. Here, the winning team takes the Pendant of life that the competitors earned into the Temple, and they would try to recover the artifacts and get it back out of the Temple within three minutes.

The team named a member to join the Temple, who has the pendants for the team. The other team member kept the remainder of the Pendant, half pendant, or no pendant, and stood in to join if a temple guard took the first team member out of the Temple.

Olmec would describe the rooms in the Temple and the tasks required in each room before beginning. In the first season, Fogg would ask who wants to go first and described the temple guards to the contestants, and, whenever possible, would offer the extra half pendant. Olmec took over after Fogg in the second season.

The Temple is comprised of rooms, each with a particular theme. There was a room of the Throne, The king’s storeroom, the Observatory, the silver monkey shrine, and the Heart Room.1605961130076.png

Although some doors were locked, the rooms connected to neighboring rooms blocked progress by the contestants who were trying to enter the adjoining room. In contrast, the pattern of locked and open doors shifted from episode to episode based on both the temple layout and the location of the object.

At the beginning of the round, the unlocked doors were closed but could be opened by completing a certain tasks or puzzles in each room.
There was one room in the Temple with the themed artifact (as mentioned by Olmec before the Steps of Knowledge). There were temple guards in three more allocated rooms (spotter in Luxurious Mayan Sentinel costumes). If the winning team had exactly one and a half pendants, they would also have to put the rest of the half pendants in the room with the other half to receive a complete pendant.

If required, the extra half pendant will hang off the wall near a door or place it in a space inside an object. It was concealed inside a pot in the King’s Storeroom. When the first player dropped its Pendant, the second player was permitted to pick it up and either return it or use it if necessary.

A competitor who met a temple guard was forced to give up a wide pendant to proceed. However, if the first contestant was found without a pendant in his possession, the second contestant was taken from the Temple. In any case, the temple guard catching the candidate was gone and did not appear again in the room where the first contestant had been caught.

As the Second competitor entered, any doors opened by the first competitor remained open. The run ended immediately when the second contestant was caught without a complete pendant. On their way to the artifact, the player could enter a room with an unmatched temple guard, normally not get caught, if the room design allows the guard to catch the player only if within reach (for example, the dark forest, where one of the trees can be occupied by the temple guard spirit.

The team had three minutes to grab the artifact and exit the Temple. If any competitor grabs the item, all the other temple guards disappear, and all the locked doors of the Temple immediately unlock so that the competitor can escape effortlessly. The team that enters the Temple will have won the prize.
When a team member gets the artifact, it implies that the team will have won valuable prizes. In addition to the two other awards, a team that rescued the artifacts and left the Temple before time ran out won the Grand Premio. The Temple had an actual gate starting in season 2, which Olmec would lower before the rounds began.

About the Movie: Legends of the Hidden Temple (Movie)

Later in 2016, the Legends of the Hidden Temple were treated to another nostalgic filled movie by the same title. A TV-film version of the game show with Isabela Moner, Colin Critchley, Jet Jurgensmery, and Daniel Cudmore was released.

This movie was written by Johny Umansky, Zach Hyatt, and Alex J. Reid and directed by Joe Menendez. The original exhibition includes elements such as Olmec, Steps of Knowledge, and cameos of a green monkey, a red jaguar, and silver snakes.

The movie had all the features of the original game show. It featured the Nickelodeon game show of the 90s vibrant team names. The reboot was extremely nostalgic to those who watched the actual game show back in the 1990s. But this time, it was presented as a scripted story instead of a children’s trivia.
What amazed me about the movie is that the old-school fans who remember this show will get through the whole game-show history, but in the form of a movie. This movie is enjoyable and contains many witty references and old ideas from the actual game show.

The 1hr 30 minutes movie premiered on Nickelodeon and featured Noah, Sadie, and Dudley, who, after wandering from the boring jungle tour, were stuck inside a temple. Like the Game Show, the trio must survive many challenges inside the ancient Mayan ruins. This includes not so friendly encounters with the temple guards.

In the movie, there were different rooms, each with mysterious ideas that were supposed to be unlocked successfully; then you would receive a grand prize at the end. Olmec would narrate this to them. It was a kind of mission-based adventure. It was really exciting, with fascinating supernatural elements involved—quite an enjoyable movie.

Final Word

Longtime fans of the Legend were fascinated with the original series references. In addition to Olmec, the speaking stone head, who welcomes everyone who wins into the Temple, the movie also relives details such as The Steps of Knowledge, which serves as the entry to the Temple and the children’s mission starting point. I also had some colorful cameos.

Just like the original game show, the movie was delightful. While the kids were not aware of the original Legends game show, it captured their attention at the time. Just like the game show, in the end, the Temple was not destroyed. It was left standing.

This was an adventurous show that I wouldn’t mind a rerun of the same.

Did you watch The Legends? What is your take?

Movie Vs. the game show? Which one do you think was the badass?

Olmec Out...
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