Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Gong Show
The Gong Show was a television variety show/game show spoof that was broadcast in first-run syndication in the United States from 1976 until 1980. It was hosted by Chuck Barris. Each show presented a contest between amateur performers of often questionable talent, with a panel of celebrity guests serving as the judges (among the most frequent of which were Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr). If the panel members considered an act to be particularly bad, they could hit a gong during its performance, which would end it immediately. If the act survived without being gonged, they were given a score by the judges. The winning contestant earned a prize of $516.32.
Chuck Barris, an established game show producer but not a polished game show host, had a nervous habit of sometimes clapping his hands together while talking. This developed into a running gag during the show, as the audience members clapped their hands in unison with Barris whenever they saw him doing it. The show had certain characters who appeared as regular performers, such as the Unknown Comic (Murray Langston ) who told bad jokes while wearing a paper bag over his head. Also appearing was Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, a middle-aged black man with a green warm-up suit who came onstage to dance while members of the crew threw random – usually not harmful – items at him. (In reality, "Gene Gene" Patton was one of the Gong Show stage crew, as were many of the more extreme "performers", used to fill airtime before going to a commercial break.) Gene Gene's arrival, however, was always treated as though it were a surprise to everyone on the show, especially Barris, who would then commence to frolic on the set.
In 1980, a Gong Show movie was produced. This movie was considered to be among the worst ever made.
A syndicated revival of The Gong Show, hosted by Don Bleu , was produced in 1989 and lasted only one season.
A later show, 30 Seconds To Fame, had many similarities to this show.
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