I LIVED IN CALIFORNIA for 25 years.
It may a law out there that, if you are going to live in The Golden State, you must appear on at least one Game Show. I did three of them. I swear.
Today I will tell you about Game Show Number One.
Back in the mid 1980s, while I was heavy into both stand-up and nightclub comedy Improv, the word got out that a new game show wanted comedians to apply to be contestants. Somehow I got on.
The host was Jim Lange of The Dating Game fame. I honestly don’t remember the name of the show. I don’t even know if the thing ever aired. I know I wouldn’t have watched it. It sucked.
The “Celebrity Panel” on this turkey consisted of two second tier actors from “Three’s Company,” and June Lockhart – Lassie’s Mom, from the iconic hit show of the 1950s, and “Lost in Space.”
The format was some kind of word game, but was so nonsensical it just confused the heck out of everyone. At the end of “Regulation Play” the score was 0 – 0. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Squat. We then went into “Overtime” better known as a “Dumb-Off.” The producers stopped taping twice to confer with Lange about what to do. The “Celebrity Panel” wanted out of there. They could see their “Q – Ratings” tanking. They were yelling at the people in the control room. I can’t blame them.
One thing that surprised me about June Lockhart – the woman had a real potty mouth on her. She could create strings of obscenities that would make the Navy blush. The editors must have had to work overtime to make it viewable anyplace outside of HBO at midnight.
Through some quirk of TV fate, I was declared the winner of the game and sent home with a list of the prizes I would be receiving: a new Zenith television, a set of dinnerware from somebody or other, and with the knowledge that I had watched Jim Lange sweat. I’ll bet he never sweated doing The Dating Game.
I didn’t know why I was selected to be on that show. I didn’t understand how to play the game, and I didn’t know how or why I was “the winner.” All I understood was that I was getting a new TV and some dishes. The best prize was that nobody I knew ever saw the show. My reputation was saved.
Tomorrow: Game Show Number Two – the Big Time.