Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What Might've Been: The Don Rickles Show (1968)

We've discussed before how game show kings Mark Goodson & Bill Todman had branched out to other genres in the 60's. They tried Westerns (Branded, The Rebel) and crime dramas (Philip Marlowe). But a comedy-variety show?

In 1968, Goodson-Todman sold ABC a half hour comedy-variety show featuring insult comic Don Rickles. The network's mistake was putting it on Fridays, opposite movies on CBS and a freshman drama on NBC, The Name of The Game. ABC was a year or two away from taking control of the night, and while giving Rickles a platform for his brand of comedy, it was on the wrong night of the week. Isn't that how it always works?

Anyway, one episode exists online. The quality is horrid, but it's the best we can do. Pat McCormick was the show's announcer and head writer, and he figures prominently in the opening skit with special guest Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle, USMC):

The Don Rickles Show didn't finish the season. However, the Merchant of Venom would return in 1972 with another self-titled series, this one a domestic sitcom, but that also flopped. He finally landed a hit--sort of--with CPO Sharkey, but that lasted two seasons.

Rating: C.

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