I never saw 'Super Ghost', and I doubt that any of the episodes still exist. However, when I interviewed Chicago-based television entrepreneur Virginia Graham, she made a casual reference to 'Super Ghost', and -- intrigued by its title -- I asked her for more gen. As it turns out, Miss Graham (she disliked being called 'Ms' Graham) had nothing to do with the production of 'Super Ghost', but she was occasionally present in the Chicago broadcasting studio while episodes were recorded (or transmitted live, she didn't recall which), and accordingly she was able to describe it to me.
'Super Ghost' sounds like a Saturday-morning kiddy cartoon, dunnit? But it's a clever variation on the parlour game 'Ghost'. For those who never played parlour games: in 'Ghost', the first player chooses a letter of the alphabet. The next person adds a letter after it, but these must be the first two letters of a plausible word. The third player adds a third letter at the end, but the sequence must always remain the beginning of a plausible (English) word. (Not something like 'R-Q-Z', for example.) Any player who adds a letter which seems to prevent formation of a real word may be challenged, and must then cite a real word beginning with that letter sequence ... or else take a penalty point. Any player whose appended letter becomes the ending of an actual word must also take a penalty point. So, for instance, in the letter sequence 'Q-U-I-T', the fourth player takes the penalty. 'QUI', not being an English word, incurs no penalty. No player can start a new sequence with 'A' or 'I' (or, arguably, 'O'), since each of those constitutes a one-letter word. The game is cried 'Ghost' because 'ghost' is a five-letter word: a player who incurs one penalty point becomes one-fifth of a ghost, and so forth. Anyone who incurs five penalty points is a complete ghost and therefore 'dead' (out of the game).
'Super Ghost', as played in this 1952 Chicago game show, turns out to be an intriguing variation on that parlour game. The rules are the same, except that each subsequent player can add a letter at EITHER end of the sequence (never in the middle). Thus, if the fourth player is lumbered with 'Q-U-I' and is unwilling to extend this to 'QUIT' or 'QUIP' (forming a complete word, and taking a penalty), he or she can add a letter at the beginning, making 'SQUI-' or 'EQUI-' or 'AQUI-', and sending the letter sequence in a different direction. As in Ghost, any player can be challenged if his or her addition seems to be sending the letter sequence away from anything found in an unabridged dictionary. In both versions of the game, knowledge of esoteric (but genuine) words is a plus.
'Super Ghost' sounds like very thin stuff for a game show, compared with later high-tech game shows like 'The Krypton Factor' (with much larger production budgets), but if there's anyone out there who still enjoys playing word games in this our increasingly non-literate age, the game itself sounds worth a try. No rating for this one, as I never saw the original programme.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this