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Most viewers are unaware that there was a seventh team that was in the true original pilot episode. The Yellow Frogs were the seventh team. The team featured a golden yellow t-shirt with a dark green frog for its iconic symbol. This made the team stand out as all the other teams had a yellow logo on their colored shirt.
This pilot episode was never shown on air and only an unedited version of the tape exists. This is due to the horrific and unexplainable "accident" that took place on set. Only a handful of people have ever seen the tape and there was no audience at that time since it was just a pilot...
The episode was called "The Skull of Acamapichtli". The feature artifact was the skull of the first leader of the Aztec people. It had "made its way" to the Hidden Temple by unknown means. It was placed in the Throne Room on the chair.
The Skull of Acamapichtli
The teams ran through the various obstacles (The Moat, the Steps of Knowledge, and the Temple Games), but the Yellow Frogs were a powerhouse and were able to complete all the challenges first. However, there were several strange mishaps along the way.
This was a fairly simple first challenge. Both players had to cross the moat by walking on a rope bridge with a rope above that they could hold for support. The moat would also have a flow of water that made them similar to rapids which made it hard to cross since it would try to knock the player off. Everything had gone well for the first member of the team, crossing it with little trouble, but as soon as the Yellow Frogs' second member stepped on the rope, the water turned a dark red and began to heat up.
The small rapids became very strong and started rocking the rope harder and harder to try to knock the runners off. Splashes from the red water that touched one of the runner's skin would start to burn. Some of the runners got scared and turned back while four of the teams continued on, unaware that this was not part of the game. The Yellow Frogs was one of the four that made it across. As soon as the last team crossed, the moat returned to its normal color and temperature. The staff ruled that the machine that controlled the water was tampered with but the video surveillance did not show anyone around the machine.
The Steps of Knowledge
The burns were not that bad and thanks to the waivers that the parents had signed, they could not be held reliable for any physical damages to the kids. The producers decided to carry on.
At the Steps of Knowledge, the teams were provided a story about the Skull of Acamapichtli by Olmec just as any other episode of the show. At first, Olmec was acting normal while telling the tale of Acamapichtli. However, whenever Olmec spoke of his great leader's name, the big stone faced statue would slowly power off with his mouth wide open, speaking in a lower tone that sounded demonic. They would have a few staff members run over to check the malfunction and have to restart Olmec. After the third time the stone face spoke his name and his mouth opened wide, a large group of cyclocosima spiders came sprinting out of the mouth and began to attack the nearby staff. After attacking the staff, they all ran into the nearby moat and drowned themselves. Some of the staff that were bitten were rushed to a hospital to receive medical treatment.
As the runners were not attacked by the spiders and the producers did not care about the staff, they decided to proceed with the game. The remaining staff members were able to get Olmec turned back on and continue the story. As Olmec finished the story, his huge red eyes began to cry the same red water that had been in the moat. Right as he spoke the last word of the story, his eyes burst into flames. The staff ran over to put the flames out and investigate the red water. It looked and smelt exactly like blood. They could not come up with an explanation except that this was a prank by one of the staff members, maybe a disgruntled member who was not being paid enough.
The Yellow Frogs and the Silver Snakes were the teams to reach the bottom of the steps and move on.
The Temple Games were about the same as any of the other episodes: Physical obstacles that related to the artifact of the episode. Nothing out of the ordinary happened to the actual games, but there was something eerie in the air. Random sounds started to come from the temple such as birds chirping and frogs croaking. One of the children thought they had saw something move around in the temple, but they could only make out a shadow of a person. The temple had already been set up for the temple run, so all of the remaining staff were out front helping and there should have been no one inside the temple. The host sent in a few staff members to take a look to make sure that it wasn't some staff member or one of the children who got lost running around, but all they could find were that all the doors were open when they had originally been shut.
The Yellow Frogs had won the second and third temple games, making them the winners. They were only awarded two half pieces of the Pendant of Life, unlike later episodes that would give a full one for winning the third game. This would mean that the second runner would have no Pendant of Life going into the temple and if they were caught it would be game over instantly without a way to protect themselves.
It was time for the Yellow Frogs to run the temple. At first, the children were afraid to continue on after all of the evil and disturbing events that had happened. The producers came onto the set and reassured that these events were just pranks by a crazy staff member and that they had caught them and there would be no harm done to them. The children still refused until the producers offered to add an additional $1000 prize for just entering the temple. This was enough to make the children enter. Too much money had been spent on creating this show and they had to make sure the pilot was completed.
The first to enter was the girl. The host gave her the speel about entering the temple as well the the prize information for retrieving the skull (Space Camp). She was given the only Pendant of Life and began her run.
She made her way up the steps and entered The Room of the Three Gargoyles and was immediately met by a temple guard and was forced to give up her Pendant. She continued on and was doing fairly well until she had entered the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. As she began to grab the pieces to make the Silver Monkey, a temple guard appeared from the door. This temple guard was dressed differently from the first one though. Instead of its iconic feather hat, it wore a large skull with horns and was covered in blood. The temple guard quickly grabbed the girl and she was pulled through the door, slamming it after she went through. It happen so quick that it was a blur on the video. Right as the door shut, you could hear a blood curdling scream but it was mostly masked by the music.
The boy entered and began to run through the temple the same way that the girl did. The boy navigated the temple until he reached the Throne Room and grabbed the skull. This should have unlocked all of the doors and made the remaining temple guard vanish. Instead, all of the doors in the temple suddenly shut and locked. A temple guard entered from the back doors, also wearing a skull with giant curled horns and blood all over. This temple guard, however, held a giant green stone knife and was slowly advancing toward the boy. He suddenly screamed with rage, shouting words that no one understood. He attacked the boy with his giant knife, but the boy ran through the back doors and the guard chased after. As soon as they were through, the doors slammed together and another blood curdling scream was heard.
The host ran to the back of the temple in fear that the children were hurt while the staff called the police. When the host arrived with one of the members of the camera crew, all they found were two sets of human bones and skulls to match. Both were wearing the Yellow Frogs shirt. The artifact was nowhere to be found and there was no place for anyone to hide back there. The temple guards had also vanished.
The police showed up and investigated the scene. They figured it had to be some hoax or some type of prank by the children and staff because even if the children were murdered they would not suddenly turn into bones. It was obviously a setup. They took the bones to a forensic analyst and began to search the studios for the children to arrest them. The analyst who investigated the bones were able to determine that they were real human bones and that they all matched. Police still believe it to be a prank, but they refuse to give out any additional information to the public. The missing children have not been found to this day.
In order to keep this from the media, the show producers had to pay off everyone to keep quiet, including the parents. They also "retired" the Yellow Frogs team by burning the shirts as evidence so that no one would ever find out about the events that happened.
Some say that the skull was the true skull of Acamapichtli and that by bringing it into the temple, it made the temple cursed. Some say that the temple guards that took the children were real Aztec guards whose job was to protect the remains of the great ruler and could not return to the spirit world until they had revenge on the thieves who stole the skull. Some say that the missing children were offered as sacrifices by those guards so that they may rest in peace.