Friday, June 15, 2012

Survey Says!

I am currently dealing with a bout of tendinitis. This makes typing a bit unpleasant. Therefore today’s blog is one that I originally posted April 7, 2009. I chose this particular blog for two reasons. One, to pay homage to the recently deceased Richard Dawson. The other is to annoy Gary “The Wizard” Petersen. Hopefully the rest of you will enjoy it.

Being a longtime fan of the game show genre, I am a GSN junkie. GSN, aka the Game Show Network, is devoted to showing television programming in which people compete to win prizes. GSN provides a schedule of all-time great programs with a smattering of modern game shows tossed in. My preference lies with the vintage shows.

No offense to Catch 21, Chain Reaction or Lingo, the new shows that GSN offers just don’t measure up to the classics. Give me Let’s Make a Deal, Match Game or Password any day of the week, no questions asked.

For good measure the network also features classic episodes of games that are still producing new programs. Shows such as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune fall into this category. Another example is Family Feud.

Family Feud has been on the air from 1976 to the present, with a three-year hiatus from 1985-1988 and a four-year respite from 1995-1999. During the roughly thirty-year period, the Feud has seen many configurations and no less than five different hosts.

As any good game show savant knows, the host makes the show. This was never more evident than with Family Feud. Through the years I have either loved this show or detested it based on the host at the time. Here is what my “Survey Says” about the five different emcees, ranked from worst to first.
5. Richard Karn, 2002-2006. Easily the weakest of all that have held the role of master of ceremonies. I could not stand Family Feud during the Karn era. You could make a drinking game based on the number of times Karn would utter the phrase, “That’s right.” I enjoyed him much better when he was saying, “I don’t think so, Tim!”

4. John O’Hurley, 2006-Present. Only slightly better than Karn. The gaudy, garish set doesn’t help matters. For some reason, the dashing O’Hurley seems to lack sincerity, like he is doing a bit. Maybe I it’s because I will always think of him as J. Peterman.
3. Louie Anderson, 1999-2002. Despite lacking the good looks typically associated with a game show host and possessing a somewhat annoying voice, I have always had a soft spot for Anderson. Rumor has it that he is responsible getting the prize money increased to $20,000 for the winning family.

2. Richard Dawson, 1976-1985, 1994-1995. The initial ringmaster of the Feud, Dawson had a strong television background. Besides being a regular on the greatest game show ever, Match Game, he also starred on rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and Hogan’s Heroes. Although some didn’t care for his constant kissing, it didn’t bother me as much as his persistent schmoozing. Be careful Richard, your ego is showing.

1. Ray Combs, 1988-1994. Number one on my survey, this self-effacing host was the antithesis of Dawson. The 5’8” Combs had no problem making fun of himself if it resulted in a laugh. And it often did. Don’t get me wrong, he could schmooze with the best of them, however, more often than not it was in a silly manner that couldn’t be taken seriously. On a more somber note, Combs tragically took his own life at age 40.

Despite Family Feud not being my all time favorite classic game show, Match Game holds that honor; it definitely ranks in my top five.

To further honor Richard Dawson and this iconic game show, I have incorporated both in my new poll question. Take a moment to vote for your favorite host of Family Feud. What are you waiting for? I keep telling you it don’t cost nuthin’.

Until next time…from the booth.

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