Knife to the Kidney
A knife and kidney go to together like an Aussie in Sydney. Today we’ll learn what Rian is willing to do for $20, as well as the lengths Charles will go to in order to protect “the brand.” But first, this week is all about Wink Martindale!
Winston Conrad “Wink” Martindale (born December 4, 1933) is an American disc jockey, radio personality, game show host, and television producer. In his six-decade career, he is best known for hosting Tic-Tac-Dough from 1978 to 1985, Gambit from 1972 to 1976 (and again from 1980 to 1981), High Rollers from 1987 to 1988, and Debt from 1996 to 1998.
Martindale’s first break into television was at WHBQ-TV in Memphis, as the host of Mars Patrol, a science-fiction themed children’s television program. At his tenure with WHBQ, Martindale became the host of the TV show Teenage Dance Party, where his friend Elvis Presley made an appearance. (Following Presley’s death in 1977, Martindale aired a nationwide tribute radio special in his honor.)
Martindale’s first game-show hosting job was on the show What’s This Song?, which he hosted for NBC (credited as “Win Martindale”) from 1964 to 1965. From 1970 to 1971, he hosted a similar song-recognition game show, Words and Music, again on NBC. His first major success came in 1972, when he took the emcee position on a new CBS game show, Gambit. He spent four years hosting the original Gambit and later hosted a Las Vegas-based revival for 13 months in 1980-81.
The emcee role for which Martindale is most widely known is on Tic-Tac-Dough. He was tapped by Barry & Enright Productions to host the revived series in 1978 and stayed there until 1985, presiding over one of the more popular game shows of the day. During this time, Martindale decided to branch out and form his own production company, Wink Martindale Enterprises, so he could develop and produce his own game shows. His first venture was Headline Chasers, a co-production with Merv Griffin that premiered in 1985; Martindale had left Tic-Tac-Dough to host his creation, but the show did not meet with any success and was cancelled after its only season in 1986. Martindale’s next venture was more successful, as he created and, along with Barry & Enright, co-produced the Canadian game show Bumper Stumpers for Global Television and USA Network. This series aired on both American and Canadian television from 1987 until 1990.
After hosting two short-lived Merrill Heatter-produced game shows (a revival of High Rollers and the Canadian The Last Word), Martindale went back into producing and launched The Great Getaway Game on Travel Channel in 1990. Two years after that program went off the air, Martindale teamed up with Bill Hillier and The Family Channel to produce a series of “interactive” game shows that put an emphasis on home viewers being able to play along from home and win prizes. Four series were commissioned and Martindale served as host for all four. The first to premiere, on June 7, 1993, was Trivial Pursuit, an adaptation of the popular trivia-based board game. On March 7, 1994, the list-based Shuffle and Boggle, another board game adaptation, premiered and were much different from Trivial Pursuit which was presented more in a traditional game-show style. These two programs, along with the Jumble-based show that replaced Shuffle on June 13, 1994, after its initial 14-week run ended, were played more like the interactive games for the home viewers that were the focus of the block. Except for Trivial Pursuit, none of the interactive games was much of a success; Boggle ended on November 18, 1994, while Jumble came to an end on December 30, 1994. Trivial Pursuit ended on the same day as Jumble, but continued to air in reruns for sometime afterward, finally being removed from the Family Channel schedule in July 1995.
In June 1996, Martindale became host of the Lifetime‘s highest-rated quiz show, Debt, which had debt-ridden contestants compete to try to eliminate their debts. After Debt ended in 1998, Martindale did not host another game show for over a decade.
On June 2, 2006, Martindale received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2007, he became a member of the nominating committee of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. On October 13, 2007, Martindale was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.
Martindale was one of the hosts featured in the NBC special Most Outrageous Game Show Moments, alongside Bob Eubanks, Jim Lange, Ben Stein, and Peter Marshall, but was not featured in any of the subsequent episodes ordered by the network.
Martindale has appeared in various TV commercials, including a stint as a pitchman for the travel website Orbitz. Until 2007, Martindale had a daily three-hour show on the syndicated Music Of Your Life format, which is heard on around 200 radio stations. On June 2, 2009, Martindale signed with the syndicated Hit Parade Radio format. The format began operation on February 7, 2010, with Martindale as afternoon drive personality. The syndicator stopped operating on June 6, 2010.
In 2008, Wink appeared on GSN Live, an interstitial program during the afternoon block of classic game show reruns. Several times during 2008, Martindale filled in for Fred Roggin on GSN Live while Roggin was on vacation. Martindale’s last program was the GSNoriginal series Instant Recall, which premiered on March 4, 2010. Instant Recall was the first show Martindale has hosted since Debt aired on Lifetime from 1996 to 1998.
In 2012, Martindale returned to radio, as host of The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits Of All-Time. The nationally syndicated show is produced by Envision Radio Networks.
In 2014, Martindale started his own YouTube channel, called Wink’s Vault, featuring episodes of game shows, game show pilots, rare clips from various game shows, and more.
In October 2016, Martindale appeared on the daytime soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful, as a minister.
On April 21, 2017, Martindale appeared in a KFC advertising campaign featuring Rob Lowe as astronaut Colonel Sanders giving a JFK speech spoof/homage about launching the Zinger chicken sandwich into space.
He married Madelyn Leech in 1954, and was divorced in 1972. Martindale married his second wife, Sandy (née Ferra), on August 2, 1975. He has four children, all from his first marriage: Lisa, Lynn, Laura, and Wink, Jr. He also has seven grandchildren: Emilee, Stephen, and Blake from Lisa; Matthew and Hannah from Lynn; and Erin and Tara from Laura; plus four great-grandchildren from Emilee—Emma, Charlie, Ellie, and Crosby.
Wink has a few dogs named after the various game shows he hosted.
Rian has been playing Agents of Mayhem and – surprise – he loves it! It’s got the sense of humor of a Saint’s Row game with the animation style of a Justice League cartoon. He also brags about how many of his friends own breweries, but to be fair it is a lot more than Chester or Charles.
Chester recaps his impressions of Shadow of War for Charles. Overall: he approves. He also gives his first impressions of the new Assassin’s Creed: Origins – a cross between Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption set in ancient Egypt.
Finally, we’ll check the Yelp reviews for Charles’s dick – it’s doing pretty good. The man himself, however, has been playing NBA Live ’18. Apparently, NBA 2K has gone so overboard with micro-transactions that they’ve started charging money for in-game haircuts and shoes. He’s also been enjoying his new SNES Classic, which we discover does not have Chrono Trigger which is bullshit. Eat a Dick, Nintendo!