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Pop Culture | TV | 90s

'Legends Of The Hidden Temple' Contestants Say Being On The Show Was Actually Traumatizing

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If you grew up in the '90s you probably had two equally important dreams: mastering the devil sticks, and competing on Legends of the Hidden Temple.

Whether you rooted for the Blue Barracudas, Red Jaguars, Orange Iguanas, or any of the other teams, this tricky Nickelodeon game show was must-see-TV.

But while we loved every minute of the show, the actual contestants say they were stuck in a waking nightmare.

As we've told you before, the Nick game shows were pretty rough on their contestants. While Double Dare is the only show to seriously injure a competitor, the kids on Legends were definitely shaken up.

In recent interviews, former contestants and even the show's host, Kirk Fogg, have revealed that kids were terrified by the show's scariest obstacle: the temple guards.

Legends producer Scott Snow says kids were "so afraid of the temple guards coming out and jumping on them that they’re not thinking."

Which explains why they could never solve that damn silver monkey puzzle.


Snow says he had to explain that the guards weren't there between runs to help kids relax.

One contestant, Keeli, who competed for the Red Jaguars, says she's still affected by her time on the show to this day.

"I'm 31 and I can't go to haunted houses," she told SB Nation. "I'm deathly afraid of things popping out of closets and doors, etc., at me."

"I can't watch scary movies where things jump out and scare people. Can I say that this is directly related to that? No, not one hundred percent, but ..."

Fogg shared more behind-the-scenes secrets about the show, including the secret reason why only a fraction of the teams managed to win.

We hate to break it to any die-hard Legends fans out there, but there's a reason so few kids walked away from the show with a new Yamaha boombox.

Fogg explains that the show's producers were "only allowed to give out eight championships a year."

Crunch the numbers and you'll find he's telling the truth: out of 120 episodes across four seasons, only 32 teams won.

“There was a budget," says Fogg, "and that’s the truth of that.”

Still, Snow insists he would shout directions at kids to help them win. And kids did get a guided tour of the set before they had to solve those puzzles.

But even if that's true, the best prizes they could hope for were a mountain bike, or a trip to Busch Gardens.


After all, the show was taped at Universal Studios, so winning a trip there as a consolation prize wasn't worth much.

But that didn't stop contestants from leaving it all on the field in hopes of earning that new bike.

“[One] poor girl got really super upset in the middle of the run, and she threw up. And unfortunately, she threw up in the Pit of Despair," Fogg remembers.

Thankfully, that run didn't make the final cut of the episode.

Did you dream of competing on Legends? Have these stories changed your mind?

[H/T: SB Nation, AV Club, Great Big Story]