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It was 1989, Takeshi’s Castle had reached its 125th episode. The show was coming to a close. Scott Trickey was a young man living in Japan. Scott and his friend Neal decided to try out for the show. He was lucky enough to be on one of the last episodes of Takeshi’s Castle. He was also the last foreigner to make it to the final showdown. This is Scott’s story
An interview by J. Murphy/Jose Chung
1: Why were you in Japan?
Scott:My father worked for the FAA (Federal Aviation Association through the American Embassy out of Yokota Air Base. I spent all four years of high school at the American School in Japan between 8/85-6/89.
2: How did you find out Takeshi’s Castle was casting contestants?
Scott: I would watch a lot of Japanese tv and this was one of my favorite shows. I would often see Gaijins on the program and at one point mentioned it a friend of mine who was dating a Japanese girl. It was her that did the initial contact and got us the interview for the show.
3: Had you seen the show before?
Scott: Yes, many times as it was one of my favorite shows.
4: Did you speak Japanese?
Scott: Yes and still do.
5: Do you remember when the Show was taped?
Scott: I believe it was late October of ’89.
6: Did the producers of the show provide translators for you?
Scott: No, between me and my friend’s girlfriend we were not in need of translators.
7: You were fairly young when you were on the show, were the producers worried about the liability of having a Teenager on the show?
Scott: Well to tell the truth, we were actually 17 at the time of the taping, but Neal would be 18 in Jan. and me in Feb. and we thought we would be alright. During the taping Tani Hayato did not believe Neal was only “18” as he thought he was much older. We were wearing our PE uniforms from school just for the fun of it and also because we had skipped school for the taping. (The one and only time I ever did that.)
8: Many of the Contestants in your episode were farly young. Were there any contestants who weren’t students?
Scott: No, I’m pretty sure we were the youngest contestants. If anything they were college students, but there many who were not students.
9: How many Non-Japanese contestants participated in that show?
Scott: I remember two others that were from Yokota Air Base. I did not know them, but one was a firefighter.
10: At the beginning of the episode you were shown talking to Tani Hayato. Do you remember what you talked about? What was the Song you were singing?
Scott: I had put a drawing of Doraemon on my helmet and sang his song. I also know that after, Neal tried introducing his girlfriend, Tani asked if I had a girlfriend and I said no. He said that I must be a very lonely boy.
11: What was it like behind the scenes of the show?
Scott: I really don’t remember much about that except for hanging in the general area where other participants were. I realized after first individual events that they would have approximately 20 people go and once they felt they had what they needed they stopped. I figured why should I volunteer for something and be eliminated early, so I basically waited for them to call me to participate in a game. The game I was called to do was the bowling ball game where the participants would be stuffed inside a large pin and a huge bowling ball was hurled towards them. Fortunately, the producers had what they wanted and I was excused from that event. Also, unfortunately never got to see the cast members or really get to know anyone there except for ourselves.
12: How well did you do in the opening Roulette game?
Scott: I basically just did what everyone else did and grabbed a disk. I was very happy to know that I didn’t get eliminated in the first round. I would have been very disappointed if I had.
13: You were shown playing the Bowling Down the River Game. What was that game like? How fast would you say the cup was traveling? How did you get out of the cup once you hit the water?
Scott: It was very interesting because by the time that event for taped the sun had already gone down and earlier that day it had briefly snowed, I began to study the game to see what I could learn from the others who had gone before me. I first noticed that each of the “tea cups” or “rice bowls” as I have seen it described, had various thicknesses. Some were wider/taller than others. Some had thinner/shorter bases. Also, I noticed that the two characters would sometimes twist the cup as it was launched to get them fall out early. So I studied it not only because I wanted to stay in the competition, but also because it was so cold that I was afraid the water at the bottom was going to be freezing. When I was launched they did twist me and you can see that I adjusted to stay straight ahead. I also had learned that you wanted to flip back so when you hit the water, the impact force would help get you be upright and not fall out. Can’t say how fast I was traveling because I was concentrating too much, but I did think I flipped too early and was elated to see that I was still in the game. When they gave me the all clear, unfortunately I flipped over into the water. To my surprise was extremely warm like a hot tub. Getting out into the cold freezing air was another thing, but then again I realized I was going to the finals.
14: When you made it to the finals did The Tani address you in English or Japanese?
Scott: During the taping he asked me if Japanese was ok and also asked me what my favorite event was. I told him the surfing event because I thought if it was mentioned they might show that one in the actual show. But they didn’t.
15: You were eliminated almost instantly in The Final Showdown. What happened? How long the Showdown last?
Scott: That was really a funny story. They made us come back for another day of taping which was quite a dilemma for me because I was scheduled for a wrestling match the same day where I could earn my varsity letter. I decided on the taping because I figured you don’t get many chances to be on a Japanese game show and the memories would be priceless. So after the interview, we got in our crafts (golf carts) and told what we had to do. In the actual show I was surprised to find that Takeshi had actually talked about me by saying he wanted to leave me till the end and then surround me like cowboys and Indians. As Tani told us to attack, I began shooting my laser, but was blown up almost immediately. What I think happened was that I actually shot myself. I didn’t know what to do but stay there until Tani told me to move out. Was very disappointed to had been eliminated as quickly as I did. The entire showdown probably lasted about 2-3 minutes.
16: Did you play any other games if so how well did you do?
Scott: The only other game I played was the surfing game which I thought I did very well at. It was this event that Neal flipped and made a huge splash as he stepped onto the board. If you watch the gaijin with the football jersey on, I did almost exactly what he had done. I think he copied my method as he saw I completed it. But then again he got the cash prize money at the end.
17: Was anyone hurt that day?
Scott: Surprisingly no!
18: How long did shooting last?
Scott: We got there about 9 am and filming was done about 8 or 9 that evening. I also had to come back a second day which was probably another 3 hours I think.
19: Did you get to meet any of the characters on the show? If so what were they like?
Scott: Not during the taping, but I did meet Strong Kondo several years later when I worked at a Japanese tour company in Hawaii. When he walked in, although he is a very stalky man with a huge head, I knew that I had seen him before but I couldn’t remember where. He liked me very much and asked that if I ever came to Japan to please come visit. I think a year later I had gone back to Japan after my wife (high school sweetheart) and I had gotten married and went back to celebrate with some her family members. I decided to call him even though my wife said he was just being nice. He lived in Ome and picked up my wife and I at the train station and drove us to his house. His wife/long-time girlfriend said he was so happy that we had called and was looking forward to having us over. I remember him having about 6-7 Pomeranians which seemed funny for such a big guy. He took me into a side room where he showed me many pictures and trophies from his wrestling days including a picture during a match with Giant Baba. It was then I realized who he was, but ironically still did not realize this was the same man from the show. Only during another viewing of the tape several years later to friends did it hit me. Wish I could have shared that information when I was with him. Small world indeed.
20: You were in one of the last episodes of Takeshi’s Castle ever made. Did it seem like the show was going to come to an end while you were shooting the show?
Scott Was never given that impression and was quite disappointed to learn that it ended.
21: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the experience?
Scott: 10+++ - It was a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat!
“I’m Scott Trickey, I was on episode 125 of Takeshi’s Castle and you’re at the Keshi Kingdom.”
This interview may not be posted anywhere without the permission of the Keshi Kingdom. The Keshi Kingdom does not condone skipping school unless you have a chance to be on a Japanese gameshow.