Chuck Barris, a songwriter-turned-game show impresario who created and/or developed The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game before going on to become the iconic host of the original version of The Gong Show, passed away on Tuesday at his Palisades, New York home at age 87.
The Philadelphia native may have had his first taste of fame in 1962 with a song he penned entitled "Palisades Park," which became a big hit for Freddy Cannon.
This was while Mr. Barris was working at ABC as its' investigator in the wake of the Payola scandal of the late 1950s and early 1960s, in an effort to keep American Bandstand host Dick Clark (who had to divest himself of his recording and song publishing interests to keep his job as Bandstand emcee) in line.
In 1965, Chuck came up with The Dating Game, in which a bachelor or bachelorette would pick a date amongst three unseen members of the opposite sex by asking the candidates at times embarrassing questions.
The following year, he helped developed the next step, known as The Newlywed Game, which, more or least, followed the same premise.
But television viewers got to really know Chuck when he stepped in at the last second to become the master of ceremonies of The Gong Show, which debut on NBC in June of 1976 and ran for two years. In 1977, after one season in syndication, he replaced Gary Owens as host of the nighttime version, which lasted until 1980, when Chuck ended production of all his game shows.
This program, seen as a parody of such programs as The Original Amateur Hour, featured some very good acts, some mediocre acts, and some bad----and even wretched---acts.