Better late than never… I spent so much time trying to have this be perfect.
On Monday, July 2, 1973, Match Game '73, the revival of the classic '60's NBC game show where big stars and big blanks led to big money, debuted on CBS. That's right, this month, my third favorite game show of all time has celebrated its 35th anniversary!
This happens to be one of my favorite revivals of a game show ever, I find there's plenty to like about this show. There was the zaniness of the questions, the contestants, the groovy music… all of which would put you in that classic ‘70’s mood.
And of course, Gene Rayburn. Gene was the best. Had a great sense of humor, always had a great rapport with the stars and the contestants. He was one of the things that really made the show in its prime the absolute best. And there’s nothing better than seeing him read a question as Old Man Periwinkle.
Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly has to be my favorite celebrity duo on a game show, ever. I love hearing them make cracks about each other; they worked so well together. And Richard Dawson, who I loved best from 1973-77, was entertaining as well. He seemed to be best in his earlier days of game shows to me, both on this show and I’ve Got A Secret. The semi-regulars were a treat as well; you had the poet-laureate of television Nipsey Russell, Betty White, Joyce Bulifant, Patti Deutsch, Elaine Joyce, and last but not least, Fannie Flagg with her colorful and loud shirts.
I’d say my favorite set was the one used from 1973-78. I’ve never been a big fan of the blue set from 1978-82, which is kind of odd considering my favorite color is blue. The first set really resembled the decade to me the most.
As for the other versions, I’m thinking the Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour would have been so much better if the Hollywood Squares portion was executed better, and if they got a better host than Jon Bauman. The 1990 version I thought was pretty decent. Not that I think Ross Shafer did a bad job, because I think he did fine, but I really wish that Bert Convy got to host it, especially after seeing a clip of one of the pilot episodes. And I think the 1998 version is best left forgotten.
Happy (belated) 35th anniversary and thanks for all the blanking memories!