Joel Cruz-Davis was the male Silver Snake in the Legends of the Hidden Temple episode The Enormous Iron Nose Ring of Babe the Ox. He has a younger sister named Jamie, who also competed in the said special.
RR: What was the interview process like?
JD: We had to take a written test, which I remember had difficult history and geography questions on it; we did a physical test (I remember doing chin-ups); and we did a short interview to show our bright personalities.
RR: Do you remember when your show taped or aired?
JD: Our grandparents traveled with my sister and me to Orlando the night before our show taping. The day we taped our shows, they did mine, my sister's, and two others--a total of four. They would tape the first segment of one show, then the next, and the third, and the fourth, each time doing set changes and other TV ‘magic’ as necessary.
Also, live audiences of 300 people who were taking a tour of Nickelodeon would rotate onto the set every half hour or so.
For us contestants, there was a lot of waiting around in between segments, and once in a while my sister and I would pass each other on the set and ask, "Are you still on? Did you make it to the next round?" And the answer was always yes!
RR: How well did you do?
JD: I won a trip for two to Cancun where I stayed in an ocean-front room on the beautiful Caribbean, as well as a bunch of sports equipment, a boom box, and a small TV. So I'd say I made out nicely. Plus it's just great to win.
RR: What was it like running the temple?
JD: I was nervous and wanted to win. While waiting for that segment, we were given a simplistic map of the Temple to study so we would know the layout and what to do in each room. I made sure that both Dorothy and I knew exactly what to do in each room, remembering to keep an eye out for a Pendant of Life.
When I went through the Temple, I ran, jumped, dived, and scurried as fast as I could. Afterwards I was told that I ran it in record time and that I blew right by a Temple Guard.
I got held up in the room with that damn monkey statue. I was sure my time was going to expire before I figured that thing out. There are so many combinations and permutations of which way you can put those monkey blocks!
By the way, when I said "I can handle it," it might seem like I meant running the Temple, but really I meant the trip to Cancun! I didn’t know what I was playing for until that moment when they announced it to everyone.
RR: What was Kirk Fogg like off-camera? Did you have any interaction with him?
JD: We didn't have tons of interaction with him because he was usually pretty busy when we were on the set to tape, and then in between segments the contestants would wait back in a room somewhere. But he was very nice and looked the same in person as he does on TV.
Later on when I saw Legends on TV, I felt like I knew him as well as other people that help with the show, such as Todd, a guy who helps with the set and also does Olmec's voice.
RR: Have you kept in touch with Dorothy?
JD: After our extremely long day of taping, which I think went into the night, Dorothy and I went our separate ways and that was that. I don't even know her last name. I wonder what she's doing now.
RR: What's changed in your life since you appeared on the show? Kirk mentioned you liked snow skiing and playing tennis; do you still enjoy them today?
JD: Several people I knew did randomly see me on TV--usually on reruns--ranging from local acquaintances to family in Ecuador from friends on vacation in Alaska. Since taking my prize trip to Cancun, I have been to the Yucatan a few times and once stayed there for a month doing research in a Mayan town. On that trip (I was in college at the time), the morning of my flight from Orlando to Cancun, my aunt woke me up and said, "Joel, your Nickelodeon episode is on!" And there I was, winning a trip to Cancun!
I very seldom snow ski because I try to avoid that type of weather, but I do still play tennis, my best sport.
Another thing connected to our show is that my sister and I were both asked to appear on Nickelodeon's "Big Helpathon" a year or so after our Legends airing. Again, we were on separate episodes that taped on the same series of days and weeks.
For this show, we were on teams of three where Legends champions were teamed with Guts champions and a minor celebrity, such as DJ from 'Roseanne' or Hobie from 'Baywatch.' That show was just for fun, not to win anything.
RR: Have you been on any other game shows?
JD: I have not been on any other game shows, although I like playing along with some of them from home. However, I did appear in an Orlando tourism book. An uncle of mine from Boston was in a Bank in Orlando, flipping through a large, color Orlando tourism book he found in the bank.
He flips to a page and, low and behold, encounters an image of when I was on the Big Helpathon. It was a question-answer game where, after each question, Gak would fall on the head of contestants who did not answer correctly. One of my relatives then purchased the book, but everyone forgot to tell me about it until a few years later.
The book costs $40 new, but I saw it on sale at Barnes & Noble for $10, so I bought two copies. It blows my mind that, out of the innumerable images they could have taken from Nickelodeon, they chose one with me in the center for the book. There’s no telling what else Nickelodeon has done with my image if they put me in this book without telling me.
RR: Anything else you’d like to add about your experience?
JD: Our copy of my Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox episode, which we recorded off the TV when it aired, mostly got recorded over, and I think we lost my sister's episode altogether. No one could even remember my sister's legend until we researched it online when some of us were together this Thanksgiving.
Thanks to Ryan, the webmaster of this site, we will once again have copies of our episodes that we can watch with our families and show to our spouses. I'm going to surprise my sister with her episode for Festivus and I'm sure we'll have a big viewing party. Jamie's partner ran through the Temple, but I know she would have made it through if she had been given the chance. Her partner made it, so it was just as well.
Thanks for keeping the Legends alive, fans!