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Episode 178

Game Show History & How The Gong Show Changed TV

Episode 178
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The Gong Show was a spicy blend of talent, shock and zany, sprinkled heavily with the special sauce that was Producer/Host Chuck Barris. 70s TV was all about The Gong Gang and Game Show Guru Adam Nedeff’s newest offering, Gong This Book chronicles the weirdly hypnotic cultural touchstone that was The Gong Show.

Adam joins us with returning guest, author and Game Show Writer Shelley Herman. She appeared on The Gong Show and The Dating Game and her book is called My Peacock Tale: Secrets of an NBC Page. Together, we’re celebrating game show history and delving deeply into The Gong Show, The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game. We take a look at Adam’s all-time favorite hosts, Bill Cullen, Dennis James, Alan Ludden, Gene Rayburn, Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest. Adam shares The Gong Show’s origin story which includes original hosts Gary Owens and John Barbour before the NBC head of daytime let Chuck Barris know that he was the only person who could host such a specifically strange show. He did and it worked, but it consumed him.

Was Chuck Barris really a CIA spy???! We CAN tell you without having to kill you. Did The Gong show usher in the phenomenon that would become reality TV? Probably. What happened on those Dating Game dates!? Shelley is telling all. Fritz almost hosted two game shows but his tenacious weather job kept pulling him back in and Weezy’s very first Hollywood show biz experience was her appearance on the game show, Face The Music!

Adam and Shelley also discuss the fascinating intricacies of game show question writing and researching. And, they share the heartwarming story of Adam's book about Alan Ludden appearing dog eared and well loved in the very last photo taken of Betty White. Adam is now the proud owner of Betty’s copy of his book.

And in recommendations, Fritz has been loving Palm Royale on Apple Plus and Weezy went book to screen with We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. It is now a series on Hulu.

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