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Trivia / Match Game

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General trivia:

  • The 1990 revival is, to date, the last daytime game show to air on ABC.

Specific trivia:

  • Absentee Actor:
    • Charles Nelson Reilly had other commitments for a few weeks in 1974, so Gary Burghoff sat in his usual spot.
    • And in turn, Gary was late for one episode in 75 because of the Daylight Savings Time switch at the time of taping, so announcer Johnny Olson subbed for him.
    • Brett was unavailable for the last week of 1977, so Fannie Flagg filled in for her. Multiple jokes were made about Brett being "incarcerated".
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    • Charles also ended up being unavailable for a week in May 1991, so, rather creatively, that version had its own semi-regular panelist Brad Garrett fill Charles' spot... as Charles, doing his incredibly-accurate Charles impression for the week (complete with hat and makeshift pipe, which Charles used on the '70s versions but had long since dropped).
  • Descended Creator: A couple of times when Charles was late to the studio, producer Mark Goodson sat in his place.
  • Development Hell: Counting The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, four American revivals have been produced since 1982, with the first three only lasting one season. From 1999 until the current ABC revival, any further attempts, for one reason or another, just did not get off the ground.
    • Gene Rayburn was slated to host a revival planned for the 1985-86 season. When Entertainment Tonight infamously wished Gene a happy birthday and revealed his age, all plans were dropped (he ended up hosting — and then quitting — the train-wreck that was Break the Bank). Another revival was planned for 1987, also with Rayburn as host, but, possibly also thanks to the above reason, the series never surfaced. (In fact, aside from Bank the only other show Rayburn ended up hosting after his age reveal was AMC's The Movie Masters, which ran for one unspectacular season from 1989-90.)
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    • An unsold pilot, MG2: the match game, was taped in 1996 with Charlene Tilton (who appeared as a panelist late in the 1973-82 run) as host. Elements from this pilot were later incorporated into the 1998 revival.
    • Fremantle shot a pilot for Fox in 2004, an "updated" version called What the Blank?! Mixing elements of Street Smarts into the game (because it obviously worked so well for another game show just three years earlier), it was canceled abruptly before it aired. Notably, Randy West- who wrote a biography on Johnny Olson, interacts with the fandom frequently, and was known for announcing Supermarket Sweep- announced the pilot.
    • TBS tried their hand in 2008, taping two pilots which included Sarah Silverman and Scott Thompson on the panel. Basing its set and gameplay after the 1973-78 versions (albeit with an altered Super-Match- and not for the better), it was rejected in favor of Lopez Tonight. Thompson would later be a panelist on the Comedy Network version in Canada.
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  • Dueling Shows: With The Hollywood Squares, which inevitably led to The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour.
  • Fan Nickname: The 90's revivals are usually referred to as Match Game '90 and Match Game '98 after the 1970s version's habit of adding whatever year it was to the show title. Even Game Show Network did this back when it was still running the former.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!: For the 1990 version, the sound the Star Wheel made when descending from the rafters of the studio was previously used on another ABC/Goodson series, Trivia Trap, in reverse (as the sound made when the bank of monitors ascended during the Trivia Ladder).
  • Hostility on the Set: After scoring the hosting gig on Family Feud, Richard Dawson became increasingly bored and detached in his role as panelist, often giving blunt one-word answers (at least once, he notably refused to smile even when Rayburn all but demanded him to). By 1978, he was gone.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • The 1960s version was destroyed by NBC, and only 11 episodes exist, including the pilot, which is now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free here.
    • Both 1990s revivals are currently absent from television, with 1990-91 version having seen airtime on GSN from 2002-2004. The 1998-99 version has only appeared on TV oncenote  after its cancellation — a special GSN marathon celebrating the Match Game franchise's 50th anniversary in 2012.
  • Missing Episode: A string of CBS episodes from 1979 didn't air until GSN finally showed them in 2001. GSN and now Buzzr, have also skipped over a few episodes due to misplaced/broken tapes, some more are skipped due to no-longer-PC content, and still more are skipped due to celebrities refusing to give clearance to their appearances.
    • The unaired episodes previously aired on CBS affiliates such as WCBS-TV in New York City in Mid-1979, just before the Daily Syndicated version was slated to debut.
  • Name's the Same: On a Match Game 78 week where Betty White was a panelist, a contestant appeared on the show also named Betty White.
  • No Budget: The 1998 version, which offered a "top prize" of $5,000, even though previous versions went as high as $20,000. The set also reeked of cheapness; no turntables or score displays (in fact the only thing on the set that moved was the sliding doors through which Burger made his entrances).
  • Out of Order: The two halves of the July 10, 2016 episode were broadcast the other way around than how they were actually filmed. Although this may have been, presumably, to put a Super Match win at the end of the show, it also explains why the audience was laughing so hard at the question involving Tituss Burgess's pinot noir in the "first" game, because he had brought up pinot noir earlier as a guess in the "second". Based on how it aired, most viewers probably assumed that the guess was actually a Call-Back to the first game.
  • The Pete Best: Jack Klugman. Jack agreed to appear during the first week of Match Game 73 on the condition that they bring his then wife on a later week as a celebrity. Her name - Brett Somers (Klugman).
  • Production Posse: A lot of the celebrities on the Baldwin version- Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, Titess Burgess- appeared at some point on 30 Rock (they never mention it, though).
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The NBC version used Bert Kaempfert's "A Swingin' Safari". The 1962 pilot used Billy Vaughn's cover of the same song.
  • Screwed by the Network: More often than you may think.
    • NBC canned the original not because of ratings (which were still very good), but because it wanted to revitalize its lineup. The replacement, Letters to Laugh-In, bombed in three months.
    • CBS moved the show from 3:30 PM to 11:00 AM on November 7, 1977 — then to 4:00 PM on December 19. The first change was bad enough, but the second really killed it and Dawson's departure in August 1978 only sped it up. To the show's credit, it managed to last 16 months following the move to 4:00 PM.
    • The first ABC version was slotted at noon, forcing affiliates to choose between it and local news or other programming. Most chose the latter option; the previous entry in the slot, Ryan's Hope, suffered the same fate. Match Game remains the last ABC program to air in the noon timeslot.
    • The 1998-99 version was way too interested in firing off Bill Clinton sex jokes, plus whoever was in charge of censorship was pretty bad at it (censoring things that didn't need to be, at times) and the set redesign shortly into the run tried way too hard to give off a "party" atmosphere.
  • Un-Cancelled: The original series, and how. NBC canned the show due to low ratings, so with six weeks left to be taped Goodson decided to approve a suggestion by one of the question writers (Dick DeBartolo, then and now a MAD writer) to start using more silly questions, under the logic that they could get away with it because The Match Game's fate was sealed and NBC couldn't cancel it twice. It turned out that the sillier questions resulted in the show being more fun, and drew a lot more viewers to the point where the network reversed the cancellation.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Bert Convy, who had been a panelist on the 1970s version and the host of both Tattletales and Super Password, was tapped to host the pilot week for what became the ABC revival. Convy did host said pilots, but had to turn it down once he was diagnosed with a brain tumor (which eventually took his life).
    • After ABC canceled the 1990 version, CBS initially offered to pick it up for a second season, and would have replaced Ray Combs' Family Feud with it. Though this was even indicated by Ross Shafer on the series' final episode, it ultimately never came to pass.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Richard Dawson wore tinted glasses during his final two weeks. Contrary to popular belief, Dawson did not wear them in protest (he also wore them on Family Feud at the same time); he was recovering from an eye injury at the time.


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