The Size Of The Supermarket In The Original Supermarket Sweep May Surprise You

If you were a fan of the original "Supermarket Sweep," perhaps you took a few turns around your local grocery store once or twice to see how quickly you could fill your cart. From the 2020 reboot of the show, we know that host Leslie Jones certainly did. In the first episode (on ABC) she confesses, "I used to practice in the grocery store, 'cause I was gonna be on this show!" Unfortunately, that specific dream didn't quite come to fruition, but this food fairy tale has a happy ending, as Jones pointed out: "Now, I didn't make it past the audition, but that's okay, because now I'm hosting the whole shebang."

According to the Los Angeles Times, this latest reboot of the popular TV show was filmed on a set built inside a 35,000 square foot aircraft hangar at Santa Monica Municipal Airport. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, extra precautions were put in place. The Barker Hangar was sanitized with electrostatic sprayers, and contestants podiums in early episodes were separated six feet apart. There was also no studio audience. Of course, this set looked a lot different from earlier ones, and those supermarkets didn't allow for quite as much social distancing.

What the original Supermarket Sweep was really like

Surprisingly, the first time around, "Supermarket Sweep" was filmed at actual grocery stores! According to MeTV, the show aired on network television from 1965 to 1967 and was filmed at different Food Fair Stores in New York City. In this short-lived version, a man and woman made up each team, and the women answered questions about the price of different objects. When the time came to "sweep" the supermarket and fill up their carts, only the men got to participate. (But, isn't that the fun part?)

"Supermarket Sweep" got a second life and a new home when it aired on Lifetime from 1990 to 1995, and another when a third version appeared on PAX from 1999 to 2003 according to Entertainment Weekly. It was during that third version that Mike Futia was a contestant. Futia gave the AV Club the lowdown on what being on set was actually like in 2001 and explained the supermarket wasn't nearly as spacious as it appeared on TV. He described the set as being "A little bit bigger than a bodega in the city or something like that. It's very tiny." He believes there were only four aisles, and each team and cameraman had to be careful when running down the same aisle as another group. The teams even had to stay all the way to one side to avoid an accident!

Sounds like everyone on the show was a winner — sure some people won cash, but all those former contestants probably have a pretty strong bodega blitz game today, and that's priceless!