Friday, March 27, 2015

What Might've Been: Make Me Laugh (1979)

Paramount obtained the rights to revive a failed 50's comedy game show, Make Me Laugh, in 1979. The show would've lasted longer than one season had it not been for the death of host Bobby Van (ex-Showoffs), or if the ratings for the syndicated series were better than they were in some cities. In my area, the series aired at lunch time, before the local NBC & ABC affiliates decided to enter the noon news race.

Reruns aired on USA cable in the mid-80's, leaving everything intact, including Artie Butler's swank, simple theme. This sample episode features the Unknown Comic (aka Murray Langston), better known as a semi-regular on The Gong Show, and Bill Kirchenbauer, later of Growing Pains and its short-lived spin-off, Just the Ten of Us.

With the parents at work back in those days, I had something to watch at lunch time when home on vacation from school. Seems to me the ratings failure, more than Van's passing, signalled the end of the series. It would return, when Comedy Central acquired the rights in the late 90's, and got a couple of seasons out of it, with just as many hosts. We'll take a look at that another time.

Rating: A.

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