Monday, July 03, 2023

Long Day's Journey Into Matches

Got a quick start this morning with two patriotic shorts on YouTube. "Patriotic Popeye" insists that his nephews stay safe on the 4th and avoid fireworks. The boys keep trying to sneak them behind their uncle's back...until one goes too far, and Popeye needs spinach to rescue them. "Yankee Doodle Pink" tries to ride a Redcoat horse to help Paul Revere deliver the news about the British, but the horse keeps finding ways to get rid of him.

Hurried out to work after that. It showered hard but briefly on my way there. I was slightly damp when I got there just in time. Good thing, too. We were insanely busy almost the entire day long. Even when we had enough help, we were still busy. Didn't help that we had cards that didn't work and held up long lines and people who were just rude, in bad moods, or gave me a lot of attitude. Thankfully, it emptied out later as the sun emerged and people went to barbecues and down to the Shore for the week. I was able to shut down at 4:30 with no complaints after the new cashier came and took over in front of me.

Went straight home and into the shower and doing the laundry, then had dinner while watching the final Match Game 50th Anniversary marathon. Some of the funniest incidents ever on daytime made it into the top 15 episodes. There was my personal favorite daytime episode from 1977, the one where Fannie, Richard, and Jo Ann Pflug on the lower tier played Charles, Brett, and Dick Gautier above them, to hilarious effect. My favorite night time show in 1975 had Richard guessing "Admiral Color Television" for "Admiral __" in the Audience Match. Gene bet him his answer wasn't on top...but Richard, as always, knows best. 

There were other shows, too. Steve Allen made his only appearance on a 1974 episode that had everyone walking off after a lady gave an especially racy answer to a question. Another infamous walkout occurred late in 1979, when the audience gave a better answer to "__ Balsam" than the panel in the Audience Match. McLean Stevenson turned up in late 1973 wearing nothing from the torso up but a bow tie, at least until Gene gave him a jacket. (And another one when McLean complained the first was itchy.) Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Jim Nabors, and Vicki Lawrence literally wandered in from filming the final season of The Carol Burnett Show in 1978 and stayed to play a round. 

Some of the most famous contestants on the show were seen here. Sweet Janet Finn nearly had a heart attack waiting for Charles to finally give his answer to "Russian ___" in 1974. Bertha was a dear older lady who never expected to win in 1977. Everyone was so kind to her when she did. They got a chair and tissues for her, and Johnny Olsen even brought her water. 

New Year's Eve 1976 featured balloons, streamers, an extremely ugly paper-mache bird dropping a 1977 egg, and two charming contestants, George of the sweet smile and a twinkly-eyed older lady who was obviously having the time of her life.  One of the best weeks of 1975 had Allen Ludden and Betty White on the same panel. A contestant was supposed to belly dance, but Brett and Betty had fewer problems with them playing "The Star Spangled Banner" instead!

Of course, it wasn't always fun and games. Things could occasionally get very ugly on this show, like during the notorious "School Riot" in mid-1977. The contestant answered the question as to where Dumb Dora sent her pearls with "school." Brett and Ed Asner said "college," which was accepted. Charles had to fight for his "scuba diving school." Debralee Scott said "finishing school," which was passed, then changed. Richard's "finishing school" was outright buzzed, as was a terrified Patti Deustch's "night school." Richard and Debralee angrily argued the ruling, the contestant drummed up the crowd, and even Gene couldn't keep order. Charles turned up on Gene's entrance steps as "the first victim of the School Riot," but the damage was done. The lower tier kept their answers up in protest for what little remained of the episode. 

Trading roles turned up in the top episode, another night time show. Richard once again played Brett, but Betty was Charles...and they were even funnier. Betty went in for a much deeper voice than Charles himself ever possessed (as he pointed out), making Charles' "macho" jokes. Richard, on the other hand, sounded a little higher than Brett, but he was hilarious in her glasses, using multiple cards to write an answer and drinking "club soda." 

Celebrate Match Game's 50th Anniversary with the best the series has to offer!

After the marathon ended, I brought my laundry upstairs, the watched some of my favorite episodes that didn't make it into any of the marathons, including the series finale of the original 1973-1982 run. Hope you find them just as enjoyable as I did!

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