Monday, January 26, 2009
WHEN THE MATCH GAME WAS A HIT , THE FIRST TIME- FROM NBC-TV - CIRCA MID-1960'S
Before the fast and facile Gene Rayburn ever revealed to a Match Game contestant that "Dora was SO dumb," or had to referee between bawdy panelists Brett Somers Klugman and Charles Nelson Reilly, on CBS-TV in the 1970's, the durable game show,it's venerable announcer, Johnny Olson, and it's genial host, Rayburn, had a whole other, successful run on NBC daytime between 1962 and 1969.
The engaging, almost addictive,show, created by Frank Wayne and produced by game show titans,Mark Goodson Bill Todman, was a powerful anchor to the late afternoon schedule on the peacock network for seven years, The first series is almost primitive in production values compared to the 1970's, sequined, Disco-synth version of the show, but , the original format is sleek in its unadorned elegance. The concept of the game ,itself, is timeless.
Rayburn( far left) had been best known , up to that point, as the announcer/sidekick on Steve Allen's original and innovative,Tonight Show on NBC-TV. He was also one of the many talented performers to host Monitor on NBC Radio, a wide-ranging, magazine format series, that was designed by NBC's resident genius Pat Weaver, and is believed to have extended the life span of network radio by over a decade. Rayburn also had great success performing in dinner theater and on Broadway.
Johnny Olson divided his time ,attention, and Eastern Airlines,frequent-flyer miles, during these years, between taping the Match Game at NBC in NYC and announcing Jackie Gleason's, Miami -based, Saturday night, comedy /variety series,airing on CBS-TV.
The Match Game was videotaped at 30 Rock in New York City, and while the clip below is an excerpt of a black and white kinescope, the program was produced in Living Color.
Here , from Adam Nadeff's You Tube site, is a sentimental sojourn to daytime fun and games, mid-sixties style. Enjoy!!!!!