Welcome ...

One day I was contemplating the advice I had been sharing with hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the years. I decided it was time to put my experiences into the written word and hope that you find as much pleasure in my adventures as I have ... and maybe, just maybe, if your travels cross some of the same places that mine have, perhaps my words of wisdom will make your journey that much more fun and exciting.

So whether it's local restaurants or exotic destinations ... as my Uncle Jim described me, I am the "intrepid traveler", always ready for an adventure, whether traveling solo or leading the way ... you never know what will pop into my head and come out on the keyboard.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flashback: The Not So Newlywed Game Show

One of my favorite activities on board a cruise ship has always been The Newlywed Not So Newlywed game show, hosted by the Cruise Director.  Whether it was me hosting or keeping score, the couples and their answers have, for the most part, been fun and entertaining and it was rare that we would get a "dud" couple.  

For those of you who have never been on a cruise, you may remember the TV show The Newlywed Game that made its debut in 1966.  I don't know who the original host was, but host Bob Eubanks is the one who gets the most air time in re-runs or clips, but he was the man who coined the phrase "make whoopie" to avoid censorship.  After holding a microphone and hosting/mc'ing shows for 14 years, I can well understand the need for this, finding words to communicate intent without offending anyone.  When you have as diverse a canvas of an audience that we have, you should be politically correct - although I will add that the gloves have come off which is something I've noticed about TV now.

I have to give kudos to the first Cruise Director was that converted it for a cruise ship, and whoever you are, I have to thank you for all of the laughter it's supplied to me!  We've always hosted it as a late night event, give the parents a heads up just in case they have children with them, who they might consider bringing along.  Why?  Because although we as the hosts have control over what WE say, we don't have control over what a participating PASSENGER OR GUEST might say when they are giving their answers.  

You also might wonder why we call it the Newlywed Not So Newlywed Game and not just the Newlywed Game, like on TV?  When a TV show is filmed in New York or LA, the networks always have thousands of people who are ready, willing and able to show up.  People are always vying for their 15 minutes of fame or to win a brand new car or a trip to some exotic destination.  On a cruise ship?  Yes, there are up to 6000 passengers at one time, however the biggest caveat?  The participating couples will have the rest of the cruise to be approached by anyone who may have been in the audience or caught their show on our cabin TV's.  It's not as anonymous.  Plus the majority of our passengers are not on a honeymoon!  Sometimes we have a few couples who are honeymooning, but honestly, if you were on your honeymoon, which would you rather be doing - playing in a game show or having a "romantic" evening on the balcony of your cabin?  We had to find a way to fill the list of volunteer couples and with those who had been married a long time, this was going to make it interesting.  As for our prizes?  We offer the winners a bottle of cheap champagne and a key chain or mug.  

Why am I sharing this story with you?  Because my all-time favorite answer was from one show I hosted on Holland America Line's ms Veendam.  See www.hollandamerica.com if you want to check it out.  As usual, I had my four couples.  The first couple being married the shortest amount of time and the fourth couple being married the longest, with the two other couples falling somewhere in between.  When I got to the final question, the husband's were on stage with me with their wives being entertained with cocktails back stage in our "sound proof booth".  No, we don't have a "sound proof booth" on board, we just created one in the wings, so the ladies could only hear the audience laughing.  Typically the husbands were more candid with their answers, however many thought first before answering, just to censor themselves and wondering how their wives were going to yell later.

Here we were, the show was going well.  Great couples on stage and a great audience laughing at all the right spots.  The last question came and I started with the wife of the couple married the longest - they were celebrating their 50 year anniversary on this particular cruise.  My question as usual was, "Where was the most unusual place you and your husband have ever been romantic," adding, "you can interpret the word "romantic" any way you want."

The answer from couple number four won them the game, cheap champagne and all, but also brought the house down.  Her answer?  "In the cemetery."  With that her husband grabbed the microphone out of my hand and added, "It was the only place I knew to take her where she could make as much noise as she wanted to and no one else would care.  She was on the headstone so long she had DIED IN 1841, imprinted on her backside."

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