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BUENA PARK : ‘Wild and Crazy Kids’ Star in Play

Nine-year-old Robert Veale got a taste of show biz Wednesday, but he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

“It was fun,” said the fourth-grader from Mabel L. Pendleton Elementary School. “But . . . it’s boring, all that waiting.”

Veale and 45 other students from the Buena Park School District got a lesson in patience as contestants on “Wild and Crazy Kids,” a popular show on cable-TV’s Nickelodeon. The no-holds-barred game and sports show puts kids in wacky situations and lets them have fun.

On Wednesday morning, the center ring of the Medieval Times Dinner Tournament was transformed into a sound stage as the third- and fourth-graders squared-off against a giant “Earthball” in a medieval version of dodge ball. Donning bright purple, yellow and pink “crazy kids” T-shirts, the youngsters tried to grab flags from the hosts before being tagged out.

“It is a great learning experience,” said Assistant Supt. Sandra Barry while watching the theme dinner house’s production crew give instructions to the children. “The kids are realizing what goes into making the show. . . . They understand now it is a long process.”

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The show featuring the Buena Park students is the last in a series of 26 episodes that have been taped all around Southern California. The show, which airs every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., features children in a variety of challenging situations including everything from playing basketball on donkeys to trying to hold colored water in a glass while riding on a roller coaster.

In the afternoon segment, the fifth- and sixth-grade students from Pendleton participated in a King Arthur-like jousting match with foam swords.

Since hitting the airways, “Wild and Crazy Kids,” has slowly climbed the rating charts to become one of the most popular shows on the channel, writer Phil Gurin said. What makes it popular is that the emphasis is not on competition, he said. “No prizes are awarded at the end. It’s just real kids having real fun.”

Although the three-hour taping was trying for many of the weary youngsters, everything went relatively smoothly, said Richard Crystal, the show’s producer.

Some overzealous participants who failed to sit down after being tagged out did create a bit of a problem, Crystal said. But it was quickly remedied. “I told them they would be seen cheating on national television.”

The show featuring the students from Buena Park is expected to air at the end of December.


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