Legends of the Hidden Temple

Sheer awesomeness all around. So let's start with Olmec, a talking rock... head... god... thing, who has some legend to tell about some sub-Young Indiana Jones artifact that a team of kids have to compete to find (Legends brought to you by Sketchers, it's the S!). And there's a lot of swirling camera angles. Chances are if you're in your 20s and teaching archaeology right now, you have this show to thank.

Next we get to see the teams in dashing yellow helmets and beige cargo shorts. There's the Red Jaguars (usually the jocks), the Blue Barracudas (jocks), the Green Monkeys (nerds), the Orange Iguanas (dorks), the Purple Parrots (losers), and the Silver Snakes (the most badass team of the bunch). They all had colorful T-shirts emblazoned with their sacred golden animal insignia only 90s kids would be able to tell apart (or buy on a t-shirt!). I was always rooting for the Silver Snakes, the kids in the white shirts with the gold, because that was the most awesome team name. If not, then the Blue Barracudas. But you know, for a temple so "hidden," it certainly seemed to get a lot of traffic...

First there was always some pool challenge called The Moat, where the teams simply had to splash through some kiddy wading pool either by swimming through it or swinging across, or jumping on platforms, and Olmec would always be like "when Kirk gives the signal...," and "If you fail, go back and start again!" The first four teams to hit the podium button and set off the gong sound would advance to the next round. The other two would be sent home with Flubber on VHS (the mark of a loser).

The four remaining teams would progress to the Steps of Knowledge, which were basically stairs that lit up when they got a question right. The first two teams to the bottom would advance, and the other two would be sent home with a Nerf football.

The two last teams would then compete in an American Gladiators-style series of Temple Games, involving riding things, shooting things with giant slingshots, climbing walls, balancing beams, and whatever else they could fit into the episode's theme, whether that be the Cross of Coronado or the Broken Trident of Poseidon. The team that won the three challenges would be bestowed two pendants to shield them against future temple guard molestation once inside.

What would happen after that is still the most mind-altering, crazy awesome three minutes to hang on the edge of your seat for in television history (second only to the typical ending of GUTS). The winning team would have to make a run through the temple, and with room names like this, you know it was quite hardcore:

Silver Monkey... it's only three pieces!
"Start out in the Crypt to retrieve the Book of Skeletons! With it, proceed to the Pit of the Pendulum! Swing on the rope, knock over the column, and enter the King's Storeroom! Smash the clay pots, find the key, and the door will open to the Room of the Ancient Warriors! Place yourself in the correct suit of Mayan armor, and proceed to the Room of the Secret Password! Find the correct inscription tablet and shout out the password to enter the Shrine of the Silver Monkey! Assemble the monkey statue and open the Pharaoh's Secret Passage! Climb down the tunnel to the Quicksand Fog and smash through the rocks to the Dark Forest! But beware of the temple guards that hide in the trees! Find the key to the Jester's Court, and match your body to the correct glowing wall paintings to enter the Tomb of the Headless Kings! Attach the correct skull to the skeletons and race back to the temple gate with the artifact! Retrieve it in time, and you get the home stereo, and the dude ranch vacation..."

"The choice is yours and yours alone! Good luck."  Three minutes on the clock, and... GO!

You couldn't watch a minute of that without shouting at the screen. "Turn around! Go up the ladder! No! Go back to the Silver Monkey! Oh get it together you idiot!" Those kids were always getting terribly lost, or confused about how to put that Silver Monkey together, or snatched back to the darkness by the temple guards. They didn't have the benefit of the little map at the bottom of the screen with the pink line of their progress running through it like we did lounging back on the couch on those weekend afternoons, but still, "get it together!" 

Go Silver Snakes!
It would've been the dream of a lifetime for me to test my radical powers of mental agility in the temple, but I know I wouldn't have made it past the Silver Monkey either, unless I was on team Silver Snake. They were still cool, even if they lost.


  1. I was a Blue Baracuda girl, myself, thought I can't remember why at all. Also, I totally yelled at those kids on screen and comforted myself with the knowledge that I would definitely make it to the monkey if I were on the show. Definitely.


    1. I totally yelled at those kids going through the temple. "Go up! Go up! Damn it!" Just imagine though, you travel all the way to Nickelodeon studios, you battle all the way through the tasks, your team makes it to the temple, and then you don't get to go in because your partner spends all 3 minutes going in circles. lol

    2. I'm sure there were some epic little kid showdowns back stage. Consolation prize, smonshalation prize.

  2. I totally found some places online that sell these t-shirts!

    I so want to get one!

    What was your favorite team(s)?!

    My sister and I worked out this thing where we each get certain teams. I always got the Purple Parrots and Silver Snakes. My youngest sister got the Orange Iguanas and Green Monkeys while my other sister got the Red Jaguars and Blue Barracudas. It was much more fun that way- gave "you" two shots to win the game. =P

    I always imagined that I'd do better than the kids in the show! =P