Sunday, May 03, 2020

Milestone Matches

Kicked off a gorgeous spring morning with breakfast and my original cast album for the Broadway musical version of my favorite novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel. I have the original album, from before it was re-written and new songs were added. Douglas Sills sounds wonderful on "The Prayer" and "Into the Fire" as Sir Percy Blakeney and Christine Andreas as Marguerite St. Just does a lovely "When I Look at You," but my favorite number goes to Terrance Mann as the villainous Chauvelain. He sings the driving, wistful "Where's the Girl?" as he remembers his love affair with Marguerite and wonders what she's become now.

Didn't get to see much of that spring day. I spent the entire day at work cleaning. We were really busy, too. Everyone kept coming up to me and asking where the flour or canned milk were. A lot of people still aren't going the right way in the aisles, too. I don't know why anyone expected people to pay attention to them. People go into the grocery store to shop, not run through mazes. I still can't get people out of the bathrooms when I'm cleaning, either. At least I was able to help a stock boy who dropped a bottle of Gatorade that broke open clean up the spill.

Headed straight home as fast as I could after work. I opened all the windows in my apartment to let the fresh breeze in, changed into regular clothes, and put on the next Match Game marathon. This one covered "Milestone Moments," starting with the show's first episode in 1973. Michael Landon joined Richard and Jo Ann Pflug for a show that was far slower-moving and less comedy-oriented. Within two weeks, Brett and Charles had both joined the show and livened things up considerably. Switching to longer questions and encouraging more audience participation did, too. Brett became a permanent panelist almost immediately; busy Charles joined the show permanently by early '74.

One of my favorite early episodes of the show from 1974 brought in Don Adams to check out an especially wild evening that had Gene and Richard untying the strings on Elaine Joyce's halter top and Charles running out twice to flash his chest. Another time, they celebrated semi-regular Jo Ann Pflug's birthday. Then there was the episode where Richard brought out a photo of a young Gene Rayburn knitting a sock during his days as a radio announcer in the late 30's. Their New Year's episodes were legendary, ending with balloons, streamers, party hats, and a heartfelt speech from their boss Mark Goodson. Match Game PM premiered in mid '75 and added even more chaos to the mix.

By 1976, the show was at its peak in popularity, and getting stars like Ethel Merman and Jimmie Walker of Good Times to join in the fun. No one realized it at the time, but a little announcement Gene made on an otherwise routine episode would change many things for the announcement that Richard Dawson would be hosting a brand-new show called Family Feud starting in the fall...

Hope you enjoy the first of three looks at Match Game's milestones and memories! And speaking of Jo Ann Pflug, in honor of her real-life birthday yesterday, she's the next semi-regular in the spotlight. Come along tomorrow to join this salute to one of the show's prettiest and smartest ladies!

Milestone Moments on Match Game 1973 - 1976

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