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The Match Game shows of the 70's were a huge favorite of mine as a kid.
Like "The Gong Show", I was allowed to watch this program as a kid
despite the content of it being a little too "adult" at times, although
I think it's much tamer than the crap that airs on FOX. It was a time,
the 1970's, when everyone was much looser and there wasn't the
hypocrisy and falsehoods of political correctness.
Match Game was similar to games like "What's My Line". The contestant was given a phrase with a blank in it and he/she would give a response and try to see if they could get matches from the celebrities. Whoever won the game would then go into a bonus round where they could win various amounts of money (depending on the version of Match Game) where they just had to match the response of the celebrity they chose.
Match Game was famous for their regular panelists. Richard Dawson wasn't just a comedian, he brought moments of arrogance, cockiness, and dry British wit that was so intriguing to watch. He may have not been a favorite of the regulars but the female contestants were in love with him. He was the guy who most of them chose as the one to match answers with in the bonus round before the celebrity wheel showed up. Of course, Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly were awesome, too. Those two were a hoot. I also like Fannie Flagg; she was so out there.
The real star of the show was always Gene Rayburn. The Master of Ceremonies; he always played it cool and collected. He was a gracious, friendly, entertaining, non-overbearing host. I liked his rich tone of voice and charm to make the contestants feel comfortable. I always enjoy watching Match Game on the Game Show Network; I kind of wish they'd dump most of their homegrown game shows like Cram, Lingo, and others (except Whammy) and show more 70's and 80's classics like Match Game. I think re-showing stuff like "Regis' Gig" and "The Weakest Link" isn't a good idea.
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?"
GET READY TO MATCH THE STARS.......................
"Match Game" was without a doubt a grand staple of the game shows that were produced in the 1970's. When the show made its premiere on CBS-TV in the summer of 1973,the show quickly became a surprised hit and it was very successful against another celebrity oriented game show as well,"The Hollywood Squares",which was on a rival network. But the show will always be one of the classic game shows from that decade. The late announcer Johnny Olson and the perfect show host,the late Gene Rayburn were simply marvelous. Each episode will have contestants attempting to match six-well knowns to fill in the "blank" that was based on a mildly provocative question often with hilarious results from the panel of celebrity guests.
The show made household names out of Brett Somers,Betty White,Charles Nelson-Reilly,Bill Daily,Fanny Flagg,Richard Dawson,and Bob Barker. The show also had contestants on the show as well who will make names for themselves as well including earlier segments which featured future talk-show host Jenny Jones and future actresses Marliu Henner,Joyce DeWitt, and Kristie Alley. The show also had some walk-ons to add a bit of spice to the show and help the contestants along as well including cast members from various CBS shows at the time appeared on Match Game when the show aired including the cast of "The Carol Burnett Show", "All In The Family" "MASH",and one that included the cast of "The Waltons",and "Good Times".
Recently,The Game Show Network did a day-long marathon of this series and it brought back some grand memories. It amazes me to this day,that they don't make great game shows that this anymore since the only daytime game show still on network television today is "The Price Is Right",which has been on CBS for over 30 years and still going strong with Bob Barker!!! Gone are the those great game shows of the past which included "Gambit", "The Jokers Wild","Press Your Luck","Tattletales","Tic,Tac Dough".
But still Match Game will always be a grand staple of which game shows were based from the golden age of the 1970's. Kudos to Gene Rayburn and Johnny Olson.
This show proves that game shows were actually fun once! Even though this
game doesn't tax your brain like Millionaire, you also don't feel like
falling asleep in the middle of it. I've found myself more than once
practically falling on the floor laughing at the hijinks of Richard Dawson,
Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Gene Rayburn, Betty White, Fannie
Flagg, Patti Deutch, etc. The list could go on forever.
This show has produced more funny, memorable moments than all the episodes of Friends and Frasier put together. If you've ever seen the Admiral Color TV incident or the "nipple" incident, you know what I mean.
The only thing that ruined this show was the star wheel. People were getting sick of the contestants always picking Richard for the Big Money Super Match that they came up with this stupid star wheel that picked a celebrity for you. Bad move.
Thank God for these people that were willing to completely let loose and keep us entertained for years and years to come!!!!!
I think what made the Match Game such a hit was that anybody who watches it
can't help but play. Even though the game had a very weak structure, the
comedy, the contestants, the celebrities, and most importantly the
revolutionizing questions, make the greatest game show
This show didn't make you a millionaire, but for thirty minutes, it
made you feel like you had seven friends who's only job was to make you
God Bless You, Gene Rayburn, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly,
Richard Dawson, and Patti Deutsch. (Pardon my spelling)
Peace Be With You, DPF
I remember so clearly the morning TV schedule I shared with my mom during my
preschool years (and summers from school later on): "Love of Life," "The
Price Is Right," "The Young and the Restless," and of course, "The Match
Game." Boy, did I love this show! Even "The Price Is Right" (which I am also
quite fond of) couldn't outdo Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers. Even
as a little kid, I could appreciate their magical chemistry. They were
hilarious, especially CNR!
I never understood the drama with Richard Dawson until years later, but that's okay. He was great when things were "normal." While I prefer his version of "Family Feud," "The Match Game" could not have continued without CNR and Brett.
The Game Show Network has brought back some fond nostalgia. HailMary is right...those WERE the days (sigh)...
This will always be one of the classic game shows. The late Gene Rayburn will always be the perfect host of this show. Rayburn really enjoyed his image as a lecherous host and his playful banter with both the contestants and the celebrity panel were what made this show great. Also, Bret Somers and Charles Nelson Reilley's playful arguing helped make this show the perfect game show for the 1970's.
To coin an old cliche, "The just don't make 'em like this anymore." Match Game is and will always be one of my favorite game shows of all time! There's simply nothing like it. Filling in the blanks and trying to match a celebrity panel may seem silly and trite, but that simple premise provided for one of the most entertaining shows in game show history. Led by the dapper Gene Rayburn, the panel consisted of three regulars (until the later episodes, anyway): splashy and fun Brett Somers, funny theatre veteran Charles Nelson Reilly, and Family Feud's dashing and suave Richard Dawson. Then you had the semi-regulars: hilarious comedienne and book author Fannie Flagg, cute and perky actress Joyce Bulifant, or the lovely and enchanting Betty White. Occasionally, you'd also see the likes of M*A*S*H's Gary Berghoff, Patty Duke, Marcia Wallace, and many other familiar faces. This show made these people household names, and I simply love the fact that, through re-runs, Game Show network has given the chance for younger folks (such as myself) to experience this hoot of a show. (Though I must admit, it just wasn't the same when they introduced the wheel and Richard left.) It just doesn't get any better than Match Game -- be it one of the daytime series or Match Game PM. Go ahead, laugh your [blank] off.
The best celebrity game show, where contestants attempted to match six well-knowns in filling in the blank, usually on a mildly provocative question. Fair balance between humor and competition. Helped make Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly and Richard Dawson household names. Everybody seems to be having a great time (True Hollywood Story will probably blow the lid off that). Best moments were when the sometimes-too-caustic Rayburn chided a contestant for a stupid answer, and it turned out to be a winner.
Now that the Game Show Network is showing old episodes of the best incarnation of the Match Game, it allows a whole new generation to watch one of the most popular game shows of all time! The show was kind of silly: Fill in the blank of a story, poem, rhyme, etc and hope that you match famous people. But the way Gene Rayburn conducted the show with the celebrity panel, it made for excellent viewing. Many people felt like the "regulars" on the show were "has beens," but Charles Nelson Riley would never fail to make people laugh and have a good time on the show. This show is worth catching night after night! I give this program an A.
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