Friday, September 18, 2009

Being the "first" to do something usually lands you a spot in the history books. People for generations to come will pay homage to your brilliance and everyone will remember your name. Saying the following names evokes a sense of awe and reverance for the accomplishments of these people.

Amelia Earhart ~ 1st woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean

Neil Armstrong ~ 1st man to walk on the moon

Wilbur & Orville Wright ~ 1st to build and fly an airplane

Jesus ~ 1st to turn water into wine

Okay, Jesus probably shouldn't be on this list since he's technically the only one to turn water into wine but I think you see where I'm going with this.

Every time I hear mention of these individuals or others like them, I'm saddened by those who are blatantly missing from the lists and whose brilliance seems to have been forgotten.

One man in particular always comes to mind. A man who dreamed a little bigger than the rest of us and made us look each other in a whole new light. That's right.

I'm talking about none other than Chuck Barris and his beloved Gong Show.

Without Chuck, there would be no American Idol or America's Got Talent. So You Think You Can Dance would be played out in alleyways and behind bleachers.

This is where the three person panel originated. Simon, Paula and Randy weren't the first judging trio. It was Jaye P. Morgan, Phyllis Diller and Arte Johnson.

For those of you too young to remember this gem, it was a talent contest where performers had to perform a minimum of 20 seconds before a judge could "gong" them and kick them off the stage. If they were allowed to finish their act, they were judged on a scale of 1 - 10. The highest score won the grand prize of $516.32.

And did I mention that when the winner was announced, a little person (famous former Munchkin, Jerry Maren) would run on stage and throw confetti? It just doesn't get any better than that.

Oh, wait, yes it does. The best part of the show was a recurrent player by the name of Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. He would hear those first notes and his feet just couldn't stop.

So a big THANK YOU, Chuck. Thanks for being the "first" to allow us to showcase our talents, the "first" to have a tuxedo wearing dwarf throw confetti at winners' feet and the "first" to introduce the Gang Gong.

You definitely have a place in MY history book.


  1. Oh my gosh I remember that stupid show! I used to feel sorry for the contestants if they got gonged too quickly.
    Must be why I can't stand Idol. The Gong show set the bar way to high for me. I have been spoiled.
    Hi, just clicking around other peoples blog rolls.

  2. ps love your blog title, wish I'd thought of it first!

  3. Oh shoot, I totally forgot about that show. I used to watch it all the time. And you made such a great point in that The Gong Show started the whole ball rolling on all these present day talent shows. Good job Chrissy!

  4. Have you read the Barris epic tome, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind?" I can't think of him and not think of that book and the bizarre incongruity of it all.

  5. I "Gonged" Amelia and her friends the other day when they were having a talent show. They all looked at me like I was crazy.
    Until I turned them onto it on YouTube. Now they go around "Gonging" each other all the time!
    The dogs just LOVE it...

  6. Oh man, SOOOOOOO much better than "America's Got Talent". Chuck is great! Video made me want to jiggle.


  7. They made a movie of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind too. Directed by good ol' George Clooney I believe. Also, is it miraculous that I turn wine back to water? I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to do that.

  8. Hey girl. I'm here getting caught up on a week's worth of blog reading. Is there any coffee? Happy Saturday!

  9. Oooo, i LOVED the gong show!! so fun!!

  10. No...I'm definitely NOT too young to remember this show!!

    I was a avid watcher!

    It was so sad to see the contestants that were REALLY, REALLY bad get GONGED after 20 seconds of singing, "Danny Boy"...GONG!#!*?!

  11. The Gong Show was the bomb! I remember laughing so hard when they'd whack that thing. Ah yes, takes me back.

  12. So without Chuck there would be no American Idol, no Dancing With The Stars, and No America's Got Talent? Are you sure we should be HONORING him for unleashing that kind of hell upon us? Maybe we should be reporting him to Amnesty International! :p

  13. And who can forget the inimitable "Unknown Comic"? Great show. Remember this?

    "And now, during this Christmas season, we'd like to have you join us in the perfect song for this time of year . . . IN YOUR EASTER BONNET, WITH ALL THE FRILLS UPON IT . . . "

    Good stuff.

  14. My brothers and I used to LOVE the Gong Show.. Chuck Barris was suchhhhhh a HAM!! It was a funny show... Esp. when the judges would get into-- two would like the contestant and the other wanted to gong the person and would take their time... even though we ALL knew that in just a few secs from then... the contestant was going to get GONGGGGED!!
    Do you remember The $1.98 Beauty Show with Rip Taylor>

  15. I loved that show! Too bad it's not in syndication. LOL! I believe that it was the one that started it all!

  16. @Essie,
    You know some of those people knew they sucked but you're right, some of them looked devastated when they were gonged.

    I don't even know why it popped into my head. I used to date a guy named Gene and one of my friends used to call him Gene Gene the dancing machine.

    No, but my sister was telling me about that. How bizarre!

    I could just see Amelia before she saw it on youtube. "That's not funny, Mommy."

    Me, too! I had to get up and dance!

  17. @Carlos,
    That whole story is so strange. I should make up something like that, too.

    Yes, you are truly a legend in your own mind.

    Welcome back!

    I especially liked the Gang Gong.

    I know. Especially when you knew they THOUGHT they were really good.

    You could always tell how much fun the judges were having, too.

  18. @Judge,
    You know, you're probably right!

    Yes! I forgot about the Unknown Comic. I think he brought a dog out with a bg over it's head once, too.

    @Peach Tart,
    Yes, he was. Then I read that he was really a just a stage hand who used to dance around so they decided to bring him out to perform.

    It was so fun, wasn't it? I don't remember the $1.98 Beauty Show...

    It's probably showing in India or something.

  19. Oh, too funny! I don't remember The Gong Show, but if the contestants were really awful, I would have changed the channel, anyway. I feel their pain and wonder, "What the hell were you thinking?" Of course, I don't watch any of the other shows you've mentioned, either. I know, I know...I'm an anomaly.


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