Friday, September 7, 2012

Classic TV: Match Game (1962)

Most of you are familiar with the reincarnation of Match Game that launched in 1973 and became an icon in and of itself. However, the roots of the series go back 11 years to 1962, when Mark Goodson & Bill Todman sold the original version to NBC for a 7 year run.

As would be the case with the 1973 series, Gene Rayburn was the series host, but there were just two celebrities instead of six, and four contestants instead of 2. I have a hazy memory of seeing this version as a small child. The other constant? Announcer Johnny Olson, Goodson-Todman's #1 announcer. Teamwork is stressed on this version, but this old-school style format has largely been lost to the mists of time because of the enormous popularity of the later version.

As such, Match Game turns 50 this year, though there will be those poor souls who've never sampled the original who will argue that it will turn 40 next year, marking the anniversary of the reincarnation, which was bawdy, racy, and flat out wack. We'll cover that another time.

Here, then, is the pilot episode, with Peggy Cass, more closely associated with another Goodson-Todman franchise, To Tell The Truth, and Peter Lind Hayes as the celebrity guests.

Dumb Dora, Dumb Donald, & Old Man Periwinkle weren't "born" yet, if you get my drift.

Rating: A.


Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

You know, in the back of my mind I have always associated Billy Vaughn's A Swingin' Safari (a tune also recorded by Bert Kaempfert) as the theme song of this show...but I thought it was something I just made up. Thanks for proving I'm not insane...well, not totally insane.

hobbyfan said...

No one ever said you were, Ivan.

True story. I actually played this version of Match Game in school once. To say that I sucked at it would be a gross understatement. The ironic thing is, when we played the original Match Game, the revival was just getting started. Go figure.......