A small part of my youth died early this morning with the death of game show host and producer Chuck Barris.
I am a proud child of the 1970's and only in the '70's could a show like The Gong Show be a classic hit. Talk about a parody on talent shows, this was THE SHOW before the advent of television series like American Idol, The Voice and America's Got Talent.
Chuck Barris wasn't a one trick pony. The guy had an amazing gift in writing, having wrote the hit song Pallisades Park in 1962. He later became the creator of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game in the mid '60's. Both of these series lasted well into the 1980's, thanks to syndication.
I'll always remember him for The Gong Show. The show had everything about the eclectic 1970's. There was The Unknown Comic, a guy wearing a bag on his head and telling jokes between acts. Then there was the cult hero Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine. He came out wearing a green windbreaker jacket, a painter's cap, bell-bottomed pants and sneakers as the house band played a wicked version of the Count Basie hit Jumpin' at the Woodside. Then there was the judges. One of my first Hollywood crushes was J.P. Morgan and she was hysterical. Leading the insanity was Barris, who was the genius behind the show.
Sleep well Chuck...