Game show in which 6 guest stars (which change from week to week) are given a humorous phrase with one word missing. The stars write down a word they think would be most appropriate for the missing word, and then two contestants try to guess what the stars have chosen. A point is given for each correct match, and the one with the most points wins. Written by
Initially the show played as a straight up game, as Mark Goodson didn't want it to be a comedy show within a game like NBC's Hollywood Squares. However, after one of the celebrities answered "boobs" to a question, the show went into more of a comedy direction as the show saw a big ratings increase. The new focus made it the most popular show on daytime television. It also made the show appeal to a younger, teenage demographic who came home from school, an audience that typically avoided game shows. See more »
Match Game started modestly enough with only Richard Dawson as the sole regular. Brett and Charles were added on by a happy accident. When Brett commented that Charles wasn't wearing any socks, someone thought it might be interesting to seat her next to Charles (she sat on Richard's right on her debut week) and another odd couple was born.
At the start of the '78 shows, Richard Dawson was gradually becoming less enchanted with Match Game. He wanted out, but he had to wait for his contract to expire. Richard's behavior took a noticeable turn around April 1978, when he stopped smiling, spoke only to reveal his answers (in a low, monotone voice), wouldn't look at the camera, and overall looked bored and miserable. It didn't help when they added the Star Wheel, meaning that he'd participate less in the bonus game. When Gene noticed this very sudden change in behavior, he tried to co-erse him to smile. The audience shouted requests, and when Richard flatly refused, Gene resorted to nearly strangling him to the ground before finally getting a smile out of him. Unfortunately, this didn't help his behavior for the rest of the run. 6 weeks later, they finally let him go. Richard's last show was without fanfare, and there was no direct mention that it would be his last (other than his statement "Fare thee well" which he wrote on his card at the start of the show). Word has it Gene did mention Richard was leaving, but those comments were edited out. It may have been edited out either because they may have thought Richard would return, or they just felt Richard didn't deserve a "goodbye" after his erratic behavior.
The following week, Bob Barker was the first to fill Richard's chair, and he noticed a card that Richard left behind that said "The sun never sets in England". Gene commented "He thought he was going to be here forever" Very little was mentioned of Richard after he left, but on the show's finale, when a contestant insisted on kissing Mc.Lean Stevenson, despite his having a cold, Betty White quips "May I suggest you pass that on to Richard Dawson?"
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