Here's a million-dollar question: Are TV game shows real, or is real life a series of TV game shows?
My mother began hosting "Dusting for Dollars" in the 1950s. Every Saturday morning, we contestants worked our dust rags and the old Eureka around the living and dining rooms. To ensure that we didn't "hit and miss," Mom hid coins in dark, dusty places.
Sure enough, if we didn't bother to remove the piano scarf and swipe under it, there'd be a dime lurking there - a dead giveaway that we'd slacked off.
Mom is still emceeing "Dusting for Dollars" whenever she can find a grandchild-contestant. The only things on the set that have changed are the ruffled, starched doilies with six-inch peaks that once decorated the maple end tables. Even Mom wearied of keeping them stiff.
"Magic Password" is one of the first games a contestant learns. As soon as a tyke can say "Gimme!" and lunge for a cracker, the emcee says, "What's the magic word?"
After some false grabs and whines, the tot finally remembers. "Please." The emcee hands him the whole box and a couple of door prizes, too.
Most married couples take to "Let's Make a Deal" without a single rehearsal.
"I'll clean that sludge out of the fridge if you'll change the baby's diaper," the wife says.
"No deal," the husband says. "I see flies buzzing around that diaper."
"Fine. Then I'll change the diaper while you clean the fridge and go to the store to buy milk."