Some legends will never die

Jinae West

To this day, I still don’t understand why “Legends of the Hidden Temple” was canceled.

“Legends” debuted in September 1993 on Nickelodeon and ended its run in June 1995 for reasons as vague as the show’s educational subplot, however; reruns currently air on Nick GaS, a cable television network for kids.

Six teams of two, one boy and one girl, compete in physical challenges for the chance to go to Olmec’s Temple. Before Olmec, a giant-talking stone head, permits contestants to enter his overrated shrine, they must first prove themselves worthy. The challenges, weed out the weak and stupid to allow the moderately fast and not-so-stupid pass onto the next round.

That’s not to say a few don’t slip through the cracks. In one particular episode, a Blue Barracuda spends his remaining 38 seconds in the Shrine of the Silver Monkey, a room in the Temple. His task is to retrieve and assemble three pieces of a monkey statue. It’s like trying to force the square block into the triangular hole. They lose, and host Kirk Fogg manages to slip in a sly comment: Everybody knows how to put the monkey on.

“Legends” isn’t supposed to be funny, but it is. In hilarious and unintentional ways. Fogg’s commentary often takes a condescending tone toward the teams (see above), and his interactions with the kids are painfully awkward. In fact, the only redeeming thing he does is dish out high fives before cutting to commercial. And it’s interesting to think Olmec, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, has had a more prolific career than his human counterpart. Fogg’s last onscreen role was in a little gem of a project called Distortion in which he wrote, starred and directed. According to IMDb, it’s “a quirky stylistic thriller that follows ‘Porter,’ a former drug-addicted cop, in his search for his girlfriend who has been abducted in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles.” Sounds like an urban “Legends” to me.

All I knew when I was a kid was that I wanted to be a Red Jaguar or a Silver Snake (not a Purple Parrot). I wanted to wear the elbow pads, the helmet and the mouth guard. I wanted to run through the Temple to win a Huffy and a $50 savings bond and, in return, sacrifice my teammate to the scary guards.

Contact all correspondent Jinae West at [email protected].