#120 - Blake Emmons
The very definition of being the weakest link in the chain.

 

Host: The New Chain Reaction (September - December 1986)
Text by: Robert Seidelman

I don't know why, but I seem to enjoy Chain Reaction.  It's one of those weird Bob Stewart shows that had a short run in 1980, but got so popular in reruns that a revival was made.  It was like when GSN got the rerun rights to Press Your Luck and when that took off, it prompted them to revive it as Whammy.  But going back to Chain Reaction for a minute.  There are three main reasons why this show was so fondly remembered.  One is the theme song, it's catchy bouncy and I can listen to it now and enjoy it.  Secondly is the front game format.  It was a new twist on the puzzle game and having the celebrities there brought in some intentional and unintentional comedy as well.  Third, This Guy...

Bill Cullen.  You could have the worst format in history and he would make it watchable.  I mean, early in the 70s when he wasn't doing Three On A Match, he was stuck doing such bombs as Winning Streak, The Love Experts and Pass The Buck.  I could expound on so many words about how great Bill Cullen was as a host, but just go to Curt Alliaume's website and see for yourself.  He does it much better than I could.  That's what makes this game watchable, the hosting.  If you don't have a great host, then it's dead in the water.  Such is the case for the man who helmed the revival of Chain Reaction called The New Chain Reaction.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Blake Emmons.

Blake Emmons was a commercial jingle writer out of Canada and was a big commercial guy up there as well, doing tons of commercials yearly as well.  Seen in this picture is him and the original host of Chain Reaction, Bill Cullen on The Joker's Wild as a contestant.  On here, Blake was very hyper and excited over pretty much everything.  It made him really painful to watch.  That segment is actually a clue as to how bad he would actually be when he had his own show.

So when you have a really hyper contestant as a host, he then thinks he's supposed to act like the contestants.  That is not the case.  The host is supposed to be level-headed and be able to control the proceedings without having to end up like a drooling hockey goon who plays for Medicine Hat.  Instead, he does end up like a drooling hockey goon, but instead he plays for a junior league Manitoba team.  After every single right word, he explodes in joy and says..."That's correct!".  I know I dealt with Patrick Wayne before when he did that.  However, unlike Patrick Wayne who could act somewhat level-headed at times when someone makes a mistake, Blake is always shiny, happy.  It just comes off as hamming it up and acting like a lame commercial actor.  Oh wait, he also did that too.

When he interacts with the contestants, it also comes off as stilted and fake.  For example, with this gentlemen who is also a Jingle Writer, he pretty much begs him for a gig if this doesn't work.  Not only does that give me an inclination that he doesn't have faith in himself, it's giving the audience the reasoning to change the channel.  Not because it's a bad show, and to be honest it really isn't, but because he is honest and is saying that he sucks.

To be frank, he gets on your nerves quickly.  It also doesn't help that he would often forget the rules to the game.  One of the few episodes that's floating around the circuit has him forgetting how many points the first round is.    It was also clear that only 3 months after Blake started the show, he would be kicked to the curb because he was corpsing.

Wait, Blake Emmons is corpsing?

Thus, we shall bring in the man.

The same man that replaced Mark Richards last week, replaced Blake Emmons this week.  Geoff Edwards seems to be the go-to host for shows that are good, but are missing the key element.  Sadly, this would be his last national show before the show got cancelled in 1991, however he would provide his hosting duties of California's Big Spin up until the mid 1990s when he was replaced by Larry Anderson.

Blake Emmons on the other hand would wind up doing various other projects, including hosting a shop-at-home show for the early years of The Playboy Channel.  Yes, that'll get me to buy some lube and vibrators: Blake Emmons and his Canadian annoyance.  Either way, there's some videos of him trying to sing one of his "hits" and then cracking up in utter lunacy.  I seriously thought he was laughing at his own work there for a minute.  If there is something to laugh at, it's how terrible he was here.