In honor of Richard Dawson, I’m reposting this way early blog item from 2004. As true today as it was then. I loved me some Richard Dawson (and some Match Game.)
Okay, gang . . . I told you I’d be weighing in on my pop culture obsessions, so today a few thoughts on Match Game. (But first a few thoughts on the Game Show Network. . . I want to meet and thank the evil television mastermind who came up with the idea of running reruns of the old ’70s and ’80s game shows. Who knew I’d be sucked right in? He did, apparently. Genius, I say, pure genius!) So yeah . . . that Match Game. With Gene “Lurch” Rayburn, the freakiest looking game show host ever. Not only is the guy about 7 feet tall, he’s sort of stooped, the way really tall guys can be, and, to add to the general sense of elongation, he uses this impossibly tall, skinny microphone the likes of which I’ve never seen before. (He also seems like a real pussy cat, by the way.)
Why am I obsessed with this show? Hard to say. Is it the orange shag carpet set? Is it the funky, waa-waa-pedal-heavy “concentration” music? Is it the contestants, and their fabulous parade of ’70s wardrobe misdemeanors? Is it the show’s “naughty” cavalcade of double entendres? More likely, it’s the regular panelists, who always look like they’ve had a few highballs before (and perhaps during) the show, who SMOKE on the air (god bless the ’70s), and who, if you listen closely, are often heard hacking up loogies during the show.
You’ve got Brett Summers, who has this fabulous, “I’ve been around the block a few thousand times” whisky-soaked voice and wears these giant glasses that dwarf her entire face and who is/was famous for some indeterminate reason. (She was married to Jack Klugman, I’m told. . . so there’s that) You’ve got Charles Nelson Reilly, who makes Nathan Lane look like Gary Cooper. And you’ve got my fave, Richard Dawson, who WAS Simon Cowell long before Simon Cowell . . all British and smug and flirty (he went on, of course, to launch a thousand kisses on Famly Feud, which was a spin-off of Match Game! You see the useless information you get by reading this blog?) For whatever reason, God, I love this show. If I didn’t have to see all these dang movies, I’d watch it every day.