The Gong Show

Only in the seventies could this show happen. It was like amateur hour at a high school with celebrities judging the event for laughs. This show was so bad it was good. That is the heart of the show…so bad it’s good… If an act was bad…which many were the judges would bang a gong to show their dislike.

The winner would win $516.32… union scale at the time.

Chuck Barris was the emcee of this grand extravaganza. Some of the acts judged were bad and they knew it and tried to be worse, some really thought they were good but were bad and a very few were actually good.

Some talented people were on the show at different times. Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman), Steve Martin, Cheryl Lynn, and more.

The judges included  Jamie Farr, Jaye P Morgan, Arte Johnson, Rip Taylor, Phyllis Diller and Anson Williams. Jaye P. Morgan was fired off the show for flashing the audience…and camera.

The two things I remember most about it was a stagehand that would dance called Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine, and The popsicle twins. How the censors let the Popsicle Twins get through I don’t know… they were shown on the east coast but their segment never made it to the west coast.

The Gong Show was finally cancelled because the rumour was that NBC warned Barris to tone down the racy elements of the show…he never did. In the last show, Barris played in a country band called the “Hollywood Cowboys” and sang a modified Johnny Paycheck song “Take this job and shove it” and gave NBC the finger.

When you think back on shows you watched when you were younger and you get a chance to watch them now…it’s usually different than you remembered…not this one. This one is exactly how I remembered.


Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “The Gong Show”

  1. I would get home from school and watch The Gong Show… The Unknown Comic- from Bagladesh…. I remember there was a rumor that The Unknown Comic was Stretch Cunningham from All In The Family…. One show every contestant came on and sang the dreadful song “Feelings”….. and who knew at the time but Chuck Barris worked for the CIA!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I watched it also after school and a local show I think called “Dialing for Dollars” …
      I had forgotten about the Confessions…book and movie until I wrote this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In Pittsburgh the guy who did the Dialing for Dollar Show- Nick Perry- was involved in selecting the numbers for the Pittsburgh lottery and got in deep trouble for fixing the numbers and went to jail for a spell… the numbers that were fixed to win- 6-6-6.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He was Bowling For Dollars- not Dialing For Dollars.. I just remember everyone being shocked about it. He always said he was innocent…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t think Nashville had a Bowling for Dollars but I’ve heard of it…
        That was an interesting case… It inspired a movie called “Lucky Numbers” with John Travolta. Of course, he claimed his innocence til he died.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Once when I was a kid, my sister and I were on a flight from St. Louis to Dallas, and someone next to us told us that Chuck Berry was on the plane and that we should go ask for his autograph. I was way too shy to approach the host of the Gong Show…


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