Game Show Memories – The Gong Show!

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Throughout the school year, most kids only got a glimpse at daytime television when they were home sick. When summer vacation arrived however, and those hours of daily boredom inevitably set it, many of us spent hours channel surfing (on all, count ‘em, 13 channels!), through a vast wasteland of daytime soap operas, hoping that we might catch up on one of our old syndicated sitcom favorites. When that failed, we turned to game shows. And few of these programs were as memorable or entertaining in the 70s as a bizarre little offering called The Gong Show.

Hosted (and created) by Chuck Barris, The Gong Show originally aired from 1976-1980, with some 500 episodes being produced. The show consisted of a variety of performers (of all skill levels) who would compete for a top prize of $516.32. Standing in their way was a trio of judges, and a big ol’ gong. If someone’s performance was hideous enough, which was often the case, one or all of the judges would take it upon themselves to bang the gong, thereby putting the act out of its misery. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Of course, not all of the acts were horrible. Occasionally, they were quite good, as can be seen in this clip, featuring a little-known band at the time, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo!

And finally, who could ever forget the formidable talents of a stagehand who will be forever remembered as “Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine.”

If you were a regular watcher of The Gong Show, we’ve no doubt that you’ve got a few recollections of your own. Share your Gong Show memories with all of us at Retroland as we pay tribute to this unique and zany show that will forever live in infamy.

7 Responses to “Game Show Memories – The Gong Show!”

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  1. lopan017 says:

    What a strange trip that was.

  2. James says:

    Where’s the unknown comic?

  3. tcoria77 says:

    Did we ever find out who the unknown comic was anyway? i loved the gong show,
    i was a big fan of win lose or draw too!

  4. princessdiana says:

    I loved The Gong Show! The Unknown Comic and Gene,Gene the Dancing Machine.We’ll be Back with More… Stuff.

  5. Brak says:

    James, sometimes you will still see Murray Langston (The Unknown Comic) in some minor role but I think the paper bag is gone forever.

  6. bouzoukiman says:

    I can’t find a clip of “The Steppin’ Stones” from the Gong Show on YouTube. Does anyone else remember them? They were a fantastic young dance troup, and I think they were brothers and sisters, but not sure. Anyway, it’s hard to describe there dancing, but they stood in a circle or semicircle and took turns in the middle doing some sort of stomp/clog/square dance type stuff and the beat of the stomping and clapping was really catchy.

  7. Dammit I'll Bite a Dog In The Ass. says:

    Yes, The Steppin Stones were a great act. J.P. Morgan loved them so much that she voted them over an act that was much better than they.
    The act in question got 29, but The Steppin Stones got 30. I loved The Stones but The Winner’s Circle were much better!

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