Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Kind of ironic that Chuck Barris would die this week seeing as I spent the weekend thinking he died before realizing it was Chuck Berry. (Very different, by the way!) Barris was a one-of-a-kind figure in Hollywood history. The songwriter, novelist and game-show creator later wrote that he'd been an assassin for the CIA, a skill that he never truly confirmed or denied even as George Clooney directed a film about his life.
Although he penned "Palisades Park" (a hit for Freddy Cannon in 1962) and created "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game," it was "The Gong Shows" that had the biggest effect on me growing up. Between Carol Burnett's Eunice appearing on the show to perform "Feelings" and watching it every weekday sandwiched between "The Don Ho Show" and "Sanford & Son" reruns with my brothers Billy and Terence and our baby sister before heading to the pool at Willow Hill, the condo complex where we moved on 13 Mile and Dequindre when Jennifer was born, I think "The Gong Show" resonated with me because it tickled a part of me that half-wanted to be on a stage and show off but knew deep down I didn't really have what it took to be there!
Whatever his talents were, Chuck Barris had a great run. Read his fascinating New York Times obituary HERE -- and Boy Culture takes a fun look at "The Gong Show" HERE.