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Happy Birthday, Chuck Barris

Chuck Barris was, for a time, the biggest game show producer on television.  He is the mad genius who created both The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, two of the most successful programs at that time.

Chuck started his career working for American Bandstand. So at an early age, Chuck knew the mystical secret behind Dick Clark's youth.  Mr. Barris also composed the massive hit “Palisades Park” about an amusement center.  Carnies around the work still sing his praises.

In 1976, he had a bizarre vision for a daytime parody of a talent show.  That show was The Gong Show.  For two years on network and four years in syndication, the program featured acts both comical and bizarre.  It showcased such acts as The Unknown Comic (Murray Langston with a bag on his head) and Gene-gene The Dancing Machine.  Chuck Barris himself had to host the program, which made him an international star.

On this, Barris said, “The Gong Show provided me with five year of the happiest times of my life, but that's that.  And to be known as the guy who gave the world the Gong Show–listen, my Uncle George isn't known as anything.  So I guess it isn't so bad in that context.”

In 1984, Chuck published his ‘unauthorized autobiography' called Confessions of a Dangerous Mind where he claimed to be a CIA assassin.  This crazed book was turned into a crazed movie directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell.  His second book continued that theme as was titled Bad Grass Never Dies.

On his career, Chuck said, “There's tons of creative people in television that have one failure after another, and they just step up higher.  I could never get over that.  When I had a failure, there was no such thing as getting over it.”

 


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