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The Gong Show 

Amateur talent contest judged by three celebrities.


Chris Bearde




1   Unknown  
1979   1978   1976  
2 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Chuck Barris ...  Self - Host 6 episodes, 1976-1978
Trixie Dejonge Trixie Dejonge ...  Self 5 episodes, 1976-1978
Rocky Bonifield ...  Self 3 episodes, 1976
Gary Owens ...  Self - Host / ... 3 episodes, 1976
Arte Johnson ...  Panelist / ... 2 episodes, 1976-1979
Mat Plendl ...  Self / ... 2 episodes, 1976
Curt Vig Curt Vig ...  Themselves (The Puppets and Friends) 2 episodes, 1976
Louanne ...  Self 2 episodes, 1978


Amateurs compete in a talent contest judged by a trio of celebrities. If the act is so bad that the judges can't bear to watch any more of it, they have the power to stop the act by pounding a large gong hanging on the wall behind them. Host Barris keeps the acts flowing, the jokes flying and the raucous party atmosphere floating. The show's grand prize was $516.32 (except in the syndicated version where it was $712.05). Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@soltec.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Game-Show



Did You Know?


Tommy Hunter was the inspiration for this show. In an interview with CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos, "Canada's Country Gentleman" relates a story about a terrible act that was auditioning for his show. He was telling this to his producer Chris Bearde, who thought it would be a great idea for a show. Bearde pitched it to the CBC with Hunter to be host, but neither Hunter or the CBC was enthused with the idea. Bearde went back to L.A., pitched the idea to producer Chuck Barris and the rest is history. See more »


Chuck Barris: [Repeated line to the judge who gonged a contestant out] Why'd you do that?
See more »


Referenced in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour: Episode #1.2 (1977) See more »


Jumpin' at the Woodside
Music by Count Basie
(Gene, the Dancing Machine music)
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User Reviews

Almost live!
5 November 2005 | by jonesy74-1See all my reviews

Critics basically said this was the end of civilization when the Gong Show came out. Gary Owens was supposed to be the host, but Chuck Barris, the hand clapping, head-scratching creator of both The Gong Show AND The Dating Game, usurped that position at the last moment, as I understand it.

It was a simple premise. Basically, let anyone who thought they might have talent come out and do their thing, whatever it happened to be and have a panel of judges either give them the gong or rate their act. Some folks knew they were going to hear the tintinabulation of the gong because they went on just to get their mug on T.V. Others were serious about their "craft" and were hurt when they were the one for whom the gong tolled. I remember thinking, "Lardo the Clown," a kazoo-playing clown with horrible make-up was one of the most wretched.

Others were pretty darned good and I always wondered if any of them went on to have a career in the entertainment field. Jaye P. Morgan once cattily remarked regarding a sweet young lady with a beautiful voice, "I would have given her a higher score if her neckline would have been lower." Such was the tenor of the show. My favorite guest critics included Steve Martin, who usually just looked puzzled when a bad act was on, Artie Johnson, Jamie Farr and of course, Jaye P. Morgan. I understand, Ms. Morgan was asked to leave the show after flashing her bra to the camera. It is said the shot never aired, although, there are those who swear they saw it.

There were the usual gang of idiots who would show up without warning - Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine was my favorite interruption in the show. But, there were so many others - the Unknown Comic - a guy named Larry (?) who would come out and sing a song about, "I'm gonna play my tuba" (what are you going to do?). He usually ended up blowing a long sour note on whatever instrument he had walked out with, with Chuck saying, "Aw Larry, why did you DO that?" The Gong show was just plain fun, although some days were fairly dismal, with the acts all being bad and not much action from the guest critics.

All in all, I liked it. It was a fun party every time it aired... and, you could tell, even the the Dwarf enjoyed himself.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gong Show See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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