The Groovy Agent's Pad

Like classic/retro comics, music, tv, movies, sci-fi, fantasy, etc., etc., and etc.? Then hang out with The Groovy Agent as he makes the universe safe for all the cool stuff that has come before...and even makes a little room for cool stuff yet to come!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Groovy Game Shows!



Yep, the ol' Groovy Agent was watching the boob-tube last night--Game Show Marathon, to be precise--and thought last night's ep wasn't so hot, I'm definitely looking forward to next week's Match Game episode. And that got me thinking...

The Groovy Age had more than its share of outstanding game shows, so I thought I'd rap about a few of 'em.

Match Game: The best of the best. The number 1 daytime game show for most of its 1973-1979 run. Host Gene Rayburn was nominated for 5 Emmys. And the regulars (Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Richard Dawson--usually accompanied by Betty White, Gary Burghoff, and Fannie Flagg) had to be the funniest celebrities ever! No scripts, just off-the-cuff remarks, quips, and double entendres galore. The premise was simple: the host (Rayburn) would read a silly sentence with a key word left blank; the contestants and celebrities would think of the best word to fill in the blank, and the contestant who matched the celebrity answers most often won. The fun came from Rayburn's hilarious delivery of the questions, and how silly (or usually dirty--without sounding dirty) the answers could be. The stuff that went on along with/instead of the game--in other words, the celebrities just being zany--made the show great. I'll never forget Richard Dawson pretending his magic marker was a blow-gun and shouting "You die, b'wana!" just before pretending to shoot host Rayburn with it. Of course, Rayburn, being the gracious host, did a perfectly gut-bustingly funny death scene. You had to see it to really "get" it, so just trust Ol' Groove (or if you're lucky enough, watch it on the Game Show Network), it was hi-larious. (Can't wait to see how they handle this next week on Game Show Marathon!)

Gong Show: Everyone's heard of it, but how many of you experienced it? Ol' Groove never missed an episode, from it's debut exactly 30 years ago this week (!) to the bitter end (aka the Gong Show Movie). There was never a host like Chuck Barris (who also created, among other shows, the Newlywed Game--using the money he made from penning the hit song "Palisades Park"--and was an operative for the CIA if his "autobiography", Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, is to be believed (cough, cough--saw the movie--cough). Anyway, Barris was the funniest host I ever saw. Forget the crazy contestants (well, some were hard to forget--like the kid who burped the alphabet, just fer an instance), forget the silly celebrities (Steve Martin and Jamie Farr showed up quite often), you can even forget the Unknown Comic and Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine (though I wouldn't recommend it). Barris was the show. His nervous delivery, as well as nervous habits like clapping when he talked, wearing crazy hats pulled down over his eyes--and carrying a hockey stick, made him a joy to watch. Was he scared? Probably. Was he high? Probably! Was he funny? Definitely!! After a contestant was gonged, he'd say something like, "I don't know why they did that. I liked your act. But then again, I like prickley heat." So deadpan and sincere--but so silly. Barris was a true original! If this show ever makes it to DVD, Ye Olde Groovy Agent will be the first in line to buy it! (Meantime, he just might have to break down and subscribe to TVShows.org since they show some eps there...)
You can check out some classic clips here.

Whew. That's a lot of info! Since those were my faves (excepting the long-running Price Is Right, but you know all about that, right?), I'll just list a few more. If you want info/links about any of them, give a shout!

Family Feud. The New Treasure Hunt. High Rollers. The $10, 000 Pyramid. The Joker's Wild. Tattle Tales. Card Sharks. Wheel of Fortune. The $1.98 Beauty Contest. And there were more short-lived ones, not to mention those that premiered before the Groovy Age and were still running... But Ol' Groove thinks he's done enough damage for this time out!

--Agent Out!

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