“Supermarket Sweep” was on the lookout for shoppers ready to “win a chance at hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and merchandise.”
Ads in the Scranton Times invited local residents to enter for a chance to appear on the ABC network game show when it came to town to tape episodes at Food Fair in the Keyser Oak Shopping Center. Bill Malone hosted the show, which also featured announcer Richard Hayes.
The show’s 35-person crew transformed the grocery store into the game show set on Saturday, Oct. 1, setting up bleachers to hold an audience of 240 people. The tapings took place Sunday, Oct. 2, and Monday, Oct. 3. The crew filmed three shows on Sunday and two on Monday.
The show pitted three couples against each other in games where they had to guess the retail price of grocery items. Whoever was closest to the exact price won time on their clock to go on their “Supermarket Sweep,” during which they raced through the store to collect high-value products.
The show’s producers selected several couples to appear: Nancy and Bob Huylo, Regina and Jim Lewis, and Connie and William “Biff” DePalo, all of Scranton; Brenda Smith and Peter Griffin, students from Wilkes College; Linda and John McGarth of Keystone Junior College; Carol and Carl Guenst of Dunmore; and Donna and Edwin Hoefer, Grace and Michael Loyak, Bernadette and Larry Fornicola, and Donald and Judy Ace, all of Factoryville.
Returning champions Pat and Fred Lehman of Glenwood, Illinois, appeared on the shows taped on Sunday.
One of the episodes was dedicated to Scranton’s centennial. Nancy Chamoni, Scranton’s Centennial queen, helped present items during the pricing game. The items all represented Scranton’s past, present and future and included a strainer and egg poacher formed together to make miner’s cap; a honeydew melon symbolizing a friendly city; a bookstand, pencil and slide rule to represent the International Correspondence School; 6 pounds of scrapple and 1 pound of salami shaped to form a highway; and a wreath made from 12 pounds of pears.
The Scranton-filmed episodes starting airing Monday, Oct. 17. The local ABC affiliate was and still is WNEP, Channel 16.
Supermarket Sweep returned to television during the 1990s and early 2000s, appearing on the cable network Lifetime and later on PAX.
In 2020, the show was rebooted again, this time back on ABC starring “Saturday Night Live” alumna Leslie Jones. The show will return for its second season in the fall on Sunday nights.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast