The weekly presentation riffs on the excesses of 1970s TV while giving audience members the chance to win cash, slot credits, trips and merchandise.
Casino entertainment impresario Allen Valentine has staged everything from disco and Motown revues to magic shows and Elvis-impersonator extravaganzas. But there was still an unchecked box on his “to-do” list.
“I always wanted to do a game show,” says Valentine, whose The 70s Game Show is the every-Sunday-afternoon attraction through Sept. 1 at the Music Box inside Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “[Show emcee] Gary West—my oldest friend in show business—and I have been talking for a very long time about doing a game show, but there was never the right opportunity.
“And then about five months ago, [Borgata Vice President of Marketing] Michael Woodside said, ‘Hey, The Burlesque Show is a hit on Thursdays. Why don't we do something else on Sundays?’ And I said, ‘How about a game show?’ And then Michael had a bolt of lightning hit him in the head. He said it should be a 1970s game show.”
According to Valentine--who, with the July 28 return of Disco Live at Hard Rock Hotel Casino Atlantic City will have an unprecedented three shows running concurrently in AyCee – Woodside reasoned that the '70s were the Golden Age of TV game shows. Once Woodside gave his blessing, Valentine reached out to West, who for years has conducted similar programs in casinos throughout the United States. It is he who devised the individual stunts, games and competitions that comprise The 70s Game Show (with an assist from Let’s Make A Deal, which obviously influenced Game Show’s “Easy Money” segments).
Among the more inspired—and laughter-inducing—bits are the contest in which audience members use their pelvic areas to place a banana—dangling on cords from their waists—into baskets mounted on mannequins, and a dance contest used to determine which participant gets to grab paper bills of various denominations swirling around a plexiglass chamber during the “Blizzard of Cash” sequence. That, says West, who, in keeping with the theme, dresses in loud, ugly threads, is why the presentation depends primarily on the quality of the contestants. “You may not have to have the most knowledge or be the smartest guy in the world, but you have to be good on stage,” he says.
Speaking of good on stage, The 70s Game Show also benefits from the always-hilarious presence of comedian Jeff “Fat Rat Bastard” Pirrami, who has anchored all seven annual editions of The Burlesque Show. Pirrami, who tones down his ultra-raunchy act for the matinee crowd, serves as the program’s announcer and second banana to star West, a seasoned comedic performer in his own right. And Valentine populates the stage with a troupe of leggy showgirls who provide plenty of eye candy.
Admission to The 70s Game Show is $20. However, contestants must have an M Life players card. Those who don’t can sign up for one in the Music Box lobby or at the M Life Rewards desk adjacent to the casino floor.