Lost TV: Match Game PM
Boy, they don't make 'em like "Match Game PM" anymore. From Gene Rayburn's skinny microphone, to celebrity panelists smoking on air, to thin double-entendre set-ups like "blanking a blank in her blank," this show was all about the sexy 1970s.
A short list of the powerhouse talent says it all: Richard Dawson, Brett Somers, Joey Bishop, McLean Stevenson, David Doyle, Fanny Flagg, Dick Smothers, Patty Duke, Eva Gabor, Debralee Scott, Gary Burghoff, Roz Kelly, Nipsey Russell, George Kennedy, Donna Pescow, Lee Meriwether, Mary Ann Mobley... good god, do we need to go on? And those are just the regulars! The daytime roster couldn't hold back the Match Game juggernaut-- this was prime time, boy-o.
And of course, there's Charles Nelson Reilly. Who else could parlay a decades-spanning television presence out of effing "Lidsville," for christ's sake... genius.
The J.E.I. broadcasting archive has yielded yet another outstanding contribution to popular culture. This video transcription from a late 1975 episode of "Match Game PM" shows just how laid-back and casual the evening show had become in its first season, even with its seething undercurrent of failed careers and fading looks... roll tape.
Johnny Olson: "It's Match Game PM... and here's your host, Gene Rayburn!"
Gene Rayburn: "Welcome to Match Game PM!"
Charles Nelson Reilly: "Hi Gene." Richard Dawson: "Wha--? Hygiene?"
Gene Rayburn: "Ha ha, you're a million laughs, Richard. Gary, how's life at the 4077th?"
Gary Burghoff: "Hi Gene! I brought a little toy for good luck..."
Gene Rayburn: "Luck? You poor crippled bastard... you don't win any money here..."
Gene Rayburn: "But moving on-- Richard, how are those negotiations for your own game show going?" Richard Dawson: "None of your goddamned business, Gene."
Gene Rayburn: "Do you hear the way he talks to me?"
Gene Rayburn: "If either of you two speak to me that way, they'll never find your bodies, I swear to god."
Gene Rayburn: "Now let's play Match Game!"
Panelists: "Yes, let's."
Gene Rayburn: "Here's the first question... pay attention."
Gene Rayburn: "Richard Dawson... is a big 'blank'."
Gene Rayburn: "C'mon, Dick-- what's your answer?"
Richard Dawson: (softly) "I swear to god, Gene, you keep riding me..."
Gene Rayburn: You got something to say to me, pussy?
Charles Nelson Reilly: (softly) "Why won't Gene ever pay attention to me?"
Charles Nelson Reilly: (softly) "I have so much plastic attached to my face..."
Gene Rayburn: "OK, Richard's a big fruit. No points won. Let's move on..."
Gene Rayburn: "Hey Gary, show us your deformed hand!"
Gary Burghoff: (softly) "I'm going to cry." Contestant 1: "I love watching stars humiliate each other..." Gene Rayburn: "Hey Brett-- how about making Gary a man?"
Charles Nelson Reilly: "Hey Gene... look, I'm funny!"
Richard Dawson: "You want me to humiliate myself? Is that what you vultures want?" Richard Dawson:"Fine-- ladies' underwear. I wear ladies' underwear. Are you happy? I'm a little Mary."
Richard Dawson: (softly) "Oh god, I hope that wasn't a mistake..."
Contestant 2: "Ha ha... this is great!"
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