I saw weeks and weeks worth of episodes [of "Magnificent Marble Machine"] -- the show aired beginning in the summer of 1975, when most kids aren't in school -- and being somewhat of a pinball man, I thought it was a technological marvel defying every rule of pinball engineering. Did you ever see how slow that ball traveled on that machine? They really did have to keep it on the simple side for television purposes, but Heatter-Quigley's art director at the time, Romain Johnston, really made the machine look colorful. The arcade atmosphere carried through to the carnival-style music composed for the show by Mort Garson, who wrote some of the best themes of the early 70's. And, of course, there was lots of format and game play tinkering typical of HQ shows, eventually ending up as an All-Star version (like "Baffle" before it)
I really thought Art James was among the better hosts. It's hard to believe that "MMM" was one of only two shows he did on the West Coast -- the other being "Blank Check". All his other shows were done in New York ("Say When!", "Who, What Or Where Game", "It's Academic", etc.), Canada ("Super Pay Cards") or Nashville ("The Shopping Game"). I think he did the original "Pay Cards" out of New York too, since it was pretty close to Nicholson-Muir's home base of Larchmont, NY. But I think ol' Art will be best remembered for his Peter Pan Peanut Butter blooper. These days you can hear Art from time to time as announcer, on shows like "Family
Feud" and "Tic Tac Dough".
IN THAT CASE SIR, YOU ARE FREE TO GO
8 hours ago