The 70's and 80's in the United States were sort of an experimental age. People tried new things such as Disco, big hair, bellbottoms, "The Breakfast Club," and Billy Idol. Some things worked, some things didn't. The same was the case with television game shows. This time span gave birth to several strange ideas for shows including one that actually caught on . . . the world famous "Gong Show." The "Gong Show" began in June 1976, and was hosted by Chuck Barris. On the show, several acts would come out on stage and perform for a celebrity panel who could stop the act any time by bashing the large gong. The act with the highest panel rating was the winner of a check in the amount $516.32.
In addition to bashing each other with gongs, people decided to live peacefully with each other. . .well, for at least one date. "The Dating Game" had been on the air since 1965, but didn't really make its mark on the game show world until the mid-70's. Who could forget those giant flowers on the walls as a young man or woman attempted to find a suitable mate?
One of the most successful game shows of the 70's was the "Match Game." This show had two contestants squaring off against each other by answering fill-in-the-blank questions. The catch was the "correct" answers were supplied by a panel of 6 celebrities. For instance, "After Nixon ran out of tape, he began to erase his blank!" The stars would then write down their responses and the contestant would give an answer. If the contestant matched the star, he or she would receive one point. The winner would proceed to the bonus round with a chance to win up to $5,000 (later on, it became $10,000).
Other famous 70's shows included:
With the 80's, came numerous other attempts to please the public in their quest for quick cash and prizes. One of the survivors of the 80's had a three year run, hoping for "No Whammies . . . No Whammies!!!" "Press Your Luck" combined trivia and flashing lights to create an 80's classic. Three contestants answered questions for "spins" on the big board, which contained lots of money and prizes. In the second part of the game, the contestants faced off against each other by accumulating the most money and avoiding the bankrupting "whammy."
The 80's also saw the return of an old time classic - "The Hollywood Squares." The original, hosted by Peter Marshall, ran from 1966-1981 placed 9 celebrities in a giant Tic-Tac-Toe board. Two contestants, X and O, tried to place their mark on the board by correctly agreeing or disagreeing with the star's response to a question. The new Hollywood Squares returned to the air in 1986 with John Davidson as host.
With all of the tries for game show success in the 80's - quantity didn't equal quality and many shows were simply overlooked. For instance, a very little known show, "Go," only lasted 3 months. The object was to get your team member, sitting in the "hot seat," to say a certain word. The idea was that you had to make a sentence between yourself and a teammate, alternating words. For instance, the word is "car." Ready . . .GO!
Person #1: What
Person #2: is
Person #1: the
Person #2: thing
Person #1: you
Person #2: drive? (ring bell)
Hot Seat person: Car!
Other famous 80's shows included: