Chuck Barris: Wikis

  
  

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Chuck Barris
Born Charles Hirsch Barris
June 3, 1929 (1929-06-03) (age 80)
Oakland, New Jersey, US
Occupation TV presenter, TV producer, Author, Songwriter
Spouse(s) Mary Rudolph (2000— )
Robin Altman (1980–1999) (divorced)
Lyn Levy (1957–1976) (divorced) 1 child

Charles Hirsch "Chuck" Barris (born 3 June 1929) is an American game show producer and presenter. Barris, a survivor of lung cancer, is also an author.

Contents

Early career

Barris was born in Oakland, New Jersey. He attended Drexel University where he was a columnist at the student newspaper The Triangle. He graduated in 1953.

Barris got his start in television as a page and later staffer at NBC in New York City, and eventually worked backstage at the TV music show American Bandstand, originally as a standards-and-practices person for ABC. Barris soon became a music industry figure. His most successful venture was "Palisades Park". Recorded by Freddy Cannon, it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 12 March 1962, the biggest hit of Cannon's career.[1] Barris also co-wrote or wrote some of the music that appeared on his game shows.

Barris was promoted to the daytime programming division at ABC in Los Angeles and was put in charge of deciding which game shows ABC would air. Barris told his bosses that the producer/packagers' pitches of game show concepts were worse than Barris's own ideas. They suggested that he quit his ABC programming job and become a producer.

Barris first became successful during 1965 with his first game show creation, The Dating Game, on ABC. On this show, which was hosted by Jim Lange, three bachelors or "bachelorettes" (unmarried women) competed for the favor of a contestant of the opposite sex blocked from their view. The contestants' racy banter, and its "flower power"-motif studio set, was a revolution for the game show genre. The show would air for eleven of the next fifteen years and be revived twice in the 1980s and 1990s.

The next year Barris began The Newlywed Game, originally created by Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir, also for ABC. The combination of the newlywed couples' humorous candor and host Bob Eubanks's exuberant sly questioning made the show another hit for Barris. The show is the longest lasting of any developed by his company, running for 19 full years on 'first run' TV, network and syndicated. Game Show Network airs a current version with Carnie Wilson.

Barris created several other short-lived game shows for ABC in the 1960s and for syndication in the 1970s, all of which revolved around a common theme: the game play normally derived its interest (and oftentimes, humor) from the excitement, vulnerability, embarrassment, or anger of the contestants or participants in the game. Barris also made several attempts through the years at non-game formats, such as ABC's Operation Entertainment, a variety show staged at military bases akin to USO shows, a CBS revival of Your Hit Parade, and The Bobby Vinton Show, a Canadian-based syndicated variety show for singer Bobby Vinton (produced in conjunction with Chris Bearde and Allan Blye); the latter was his most successful program other than a game show.

The Gong Show

The engaging but somewhat shy Barris rarely appeared on camera, though he once dashed onto the set of The New Treasure Hunt to throw a pie at emcee Geoff Edwards. Barris became a public figure in 1976, when he produced and served as the host of the talent contest spoof The Gong Show, which he packaged in partnership with TV producer Chris Bearde. The show's cult status far outstripped the two years it spent on NBC (1976–78) and the four years it ran in syndication (1976–80).

The planned host of the NBC show was John Barbour, who did not understand the show's concept and considered it a straight talent show as opposed to Barris's parody concept. Barris scrapped Barbour at the last minute; in order to save the show, Barris followed the advice of a NBC executive that he should host the show himself.

Barris's jokey, bumbling personality, his accentuated hand-clapping between sentences (which eventually had the studio audience joining in with him), and his catch phrases (he would usually go into commercial break with, "We'll be right back with more er... STUFF...", and "This is me saying 'bye'" was one of his favorite closing lines) was the antithesis of the smooth TV host (such as Gary Owens, who hosted the syndicated version in its first season). Dubbed "Chuckie Baby" by his fans, Barris was a perfect fit with the show's goofy, sometimes wild amateur performers and its panel of three judges (including regulars Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan and Arte Johnson). In addition, there was a growing "cast of characters" including an NBC electrician who played "Father Ed," a priest who would get flustered when his cue cards were deliberately turned upside-down; Canadian comedian Murray Langston, who as "The Unknown Comic" wore a paper bag over his head (with cut-outs for his eyes, mouth, and even a box of Kleenex), and "Gene Gene the Dancing Machine" (Gene Patton), arguably the most popular member of the "cast," another NBC stagehand who would show up and dance whenever the band played the song "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Siv Åberg, a one-time Miss Sweden, was also on hand, acting more or less as the show's hostess.

One Gong Show episode consisted of every act appearing singing the song "Feelings," which was popular at the time. One of its most infamous incidents came on the NBC version in 1978, when he presented an onstage act consisting of two young women slowly and suggestively sucking Popsicles. Another incident resulted in Jaye P. Morgan's firing from NBC broadcasts of the show, when she exposed her breasts on-camera during a woman's performance (coincidentally, the woman's performance also involved exposing herself while singing).[citation needed]

Comebacks and setbacks

Barris continued strongly until the mid-1970s, when ABC cancelled the Dating and Newlywed games, leaving Barris with only one show in production by 1975, the 1973-77 revival of Treasure Hunt, titled The New Treasure Hunt. But the success of The Gong Show in 1976 encouraged him to revive the Dating and Newlywed games, as well as adding the $1.98 Beauty Show to his syndication empire. He also hosted a short lived primetime variety hour for NBC from February to April 1978, called The Chuck Barris Rah-Rah Show, essentially a noncompetitive knock-off of Gong.

The empire crumbled again amid the burnout of another of his creations, the 1979–80 Three's A Crowd (in which three sets of wives and secretaries competed to see who knew more about their husbands/bosses). This show provoked protests from enraged feminist and socially conservative groups (two otherwise diametrically opposed viewpoints), who charged that the show deliberately exploited adultery, to advocate it as a social norm. Most stations dropped this show months before the season was over as a response to those criticisms. At the same time, Newlywed lost the sponsorships of Ford and Procter & Gamble and earned the resentment of Jackie Autry, whose husband and business partner Gene Autry owned the show's Los Angeles outlet and production base, KTLA, because of its supposedly highly prurient content. So strong were the feelings of the Autrys that Newlywed came close to being expelled from the KTLA facilities, but the show was discontinued by the syndicator before any action occurred. Gong Show and Dating Game also ended otherwise successful syndicated runs in 1980 because of the Three's a Crowd and Newlywed controversies, likely because stations were fearful of community and advertiser retribution on account of Barris' reputation.[citation needed]

During the winter of 1980, Barris attempted to rebuild by bringing back another game show that was not an original of his, Camouflage, in which contestants answered questions for the chance to locate a "hidden object" (such as a toaster) concealed within a cartoon-type drawing. Although a noncontroversial format, it lasted only a short time in syndication. By September 1980, for the first time in his company's history, Barris had no shows in production.

After a year's inactivity, Barris revived Treasure Hunt again in 1981 in partnership with the original 1950s version's producer, Budd Granoff, who had become his business partner (the show itself was created by its original host, Jan Murray). Unlike the 1970s version of Treasure Hunt, Barris did not have direct involvement with the production of the show itself. This revival, a five-day-a-week strip, lasted only one year.

Barris, by this time living in France, came back again in the mid-1980s. After a week-long trial of The Newlywed Game on ABC in 1984 (with Dating Game emcee Jim Lange), Barris produced the daily Newlywed Game (titled The New Newlywed Game) in syndication from 1985 to 1989, with original host Eubanks (and in 1988, comedian Paul Rodriguez). The Dating Game returned to syndication the next year for a three year run (the first year hosted by Elaine Joyce, and the next two hosted by Jeff MacGregor). The Gong Show would also return for one season in 1988, now hosted by "True" Don Bleu. All of those shows (except for the one week trial run of Newlywed on ABC) aired in syndication, not on the networks.

In 1988, Chuck Barris acquired the Guber-Peters Company. After the shows' runs ended, Sony Corporation acquired Guber-Peters Entertainment (included Barris Industries) for $200 million, which revived Dating and Newlywed from 1996 to 1999. Sony also revived The Gong Show in 1998, this time as Extreme Gong, a Game Show Network (GSN) original production. Three's a Crowd would be revived as All New Three's a Crowd, which, like Extreme Gong, was a GSN original. A few years after Extreme Gong ended, Sony planned to revive the show again under its classic name and format for The WB Television Network, but this version was never realized. Sony and MTV Networks' Comedy Central collaborated on a fourth Gong Show revival as The Gong Show with Dave Attell in 2008; this did sell and aired on Comedy Central from July to September 2008.

One more attempt at reviving an old game show that was not his own originally resulted in an unsold pilot of the 1950s-era game Dollar a Second, hosted by Bob Eubanks. It had at least one showing on GSN, and has since become part of the collector/trader's circuit. Another unsold pilot was called Comedy Courtroom.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

In Barris's autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, originally published in 1984, Barris claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an assassin in the 1960s and the 1970s. Barris tends to neither confirm nor deny this in interviews. A feature film version was adapted and released in 2002. Directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell, the film depicts Barris as being responsible for 33 killings. Barris wrote the sequel Bad Grass Never Dies in 2004.

The CIA denies Barris ever worked for them in any capacity. After the release of the movie, CIA spokesman Paul Nowack said Barris' assertions that he worked for the spy agency "[are] ridiculous. It's absolutely not true."[2]

Family

Barris married Lyn Levy, niece of one of the founders of CBS. Their daughter, Della Barris, who sometimes appeared on The Gong Show, died of a drug overdose in 1998 at age 35.[3] He married twice more, to "Red" Robin Altman, and later to Mary Rudolph. His uncle was singer/songwriter/actor Harry Barris. Chuck Barris now resides outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.

Shows

Discography

Barris composed music and released them on the following 45 rpm records. Songs with an asterisk (*) are songs not composed by Barris, yet featured on the recordings:

  • Too Rich / I Know A Child (Capital Records)
  • Baja California / *Donnie (Dot Records)
  • Why Me Oh Lord / Sometimes It Just Doesn't Pay To Get Up (MCA Records)

Barris also composed the following songs (with performer, who performed the music first, listed on each). The first two songs were released on "Swan" 45rpm records, and the third released on a "Decca" LP record:

In 1973, Barris released an LP of television game show music, Chuck Barris Presents Themes From TV Game Shows (Friends Records). All tracks are instrumentals and are arranged by Tom Scott, Mike Barone, and Dale Oehler. The tracks for the LP, as listed from the back of the LP jacket, are as follows:

Side 1

  • "Dating Game Theme" (January/CBP Music, Inc. BMI Chuck Barris/David Mook)
  • "Dating Game Closing Theme" (Little Rosie)
  • "Newlywed Game Theme"
  • "Treasure Hunt Theme"
  • "True Grit - Winners Theme" (Bernstein) Famous Music ASCAP
  • "Treasure Hunt Losers Theme"
  • "People Pickers Theme" (Pretty Maidens)

Side 2

  • "Operation Entertainment Theme" (Road Of Love)
  • "Family Game Theme" (Too Rich)
  • "Cop-Out Theme" (Little Russian Song)
  • "Mother-In-Law Theme" (Mother Trucker)
  • "Parent Game Theme" (Baja California)
  • "Dream Girl Theme" (Hunk Of Love)

Books

  • You and Me, Babe (1974)
  • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1984)
  • The Game Show King (1993)
  • Bad Grass Never Dies (2004)
  • The Big Question (2007)
  • Who Killed Art Deco? (2009)
  • "Della: A Memoir of My Daughter" (2010)

References

  1. ^ Palisades Park - Mr. Freddy "BOOM BOOM" Cannon, Epinions.com. Accessed 28 October 2008.
  2. ^ Stein, Joel. Time, "Lying to Tell the Truth", 13 January 2003. Accessed 2 September 2008.
  3. ^ David Hiltbrand (January 21, 2003). "Chuck Barris, CIA assassin? That's his story and he's sticking to it.". Philadelphia Inquirer. 

External links


Simple English

Chuck Barris (born Charles Hirsch Barris on June 3, 1929) is an American, best known as the creator of many popular television game shows. Some of his most famous shows were The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show. These shows appeared on American television from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s.

Contents

Early career

Early in his career, Barris tried songwriting. One of his songs, "Palisades Park", was a hit record for Freddy Cannon, a popular singer.

Barris got his start in television as a page and later staffer at NBC in New York, and eventually worked backstage at the TV music show American Bandstand.

Barris was promoted to the daytime programming division at ABC in Los Angeles and was put in charge of deciding which game shows ABC would air. Barris admitted to his bosses that the producer/packagers' pitches of game show concepts were worse than Barris' own ideas. They suggested that he quit his ABC programming job and become a producer himself.

Game Show Career

Barris first became successful during 1965 with his first game show creation The Dating Game on ABC. The next year Barris began The Newlywed Game.

He went on to create several other short-lived games for ABC in the 1960s and for syndication in the 1970s, all of which revolved around a common theme: the game play normally derived its interest (and oftentimes, humor) from the excitement, vulnerability, embarrassment, or anger of female contestants or participants in the game.

Barris became a public figure in a big way in 1976, when he produced - and served as the host of - the talent contest spoof The Gong Show, which he packaged in partnership with TV producer Chris Bearde. The show's cult stature far outstripped the two years it spent on NBC (1976-78) and the four years it ran in syndication (1976-1980).

Later years

After The Gong Show went off the air, Barris kept a lower profile, but still worked in television. In the 1980s, he published a memoir, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Barris claimed in the book to have been a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) agent and assassin, who regretted his earlier life. He also regretted making "puerile" television shows, that catered to poor taste. It was republished in the 1990s.

Many people believe Confessions does not tell a true story. Others are not sure if it is fact or fiction. Some, including celebrities who knew Barris, do not know or care, and enjoy his stories as entertainment. The CIA itself denies Barris ever worked for them.

George Clooney made Confessions into a movie, starring Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts.

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