You Fool! Ten Classic (And Hilarious) Game Show Moments

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What was your favorite game show as a kid?

Game shows, or quiz shows as they were also called, were a big part of my TV-watching as a kid growing up in the ’70s.

During the summers when we visited my paternal grandparents in Pennsylvania, my brother, sister and I always got a lot of laughs out of…

“Password Plus…”
“Tattletales…”

Match Game…”

“Family Feud…”
“Rhyme and Reason…”

and… “The Price Is Right.”

I learned a lot, too:

About words, trivia, and strategy from shows such as “Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune”, “Concentration,” and “The $20,000 Pyramid.”

Get ready to match the stars!
A “Pyramid” lost episode.
Thank goodness.

I always wanted to compete on a game show.

But I never got closer than being in the audience in the summer of 2011 for a taping of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

I took the test for aspiring contestants afterward, but didn’t make the cut.

“I’d still like to phone a friend.”

I applied for several seasons for Michael Strahan’s update of “The $100,000 Pyramid” but never got a call, let alone saw the winner’s circle.

Nevertheless, I remain a fan.

And the Internet and streaming provide me with limitless opportunities to revisit favorite moments whenever I’m in the need of a pick-me-up.

The warmth and genuine camaraderie between contestants and celebrities, as well as unscripted outbursts, create moments that – unlike most plot-driven TV series – can be enjoyed over and over.

Here are my 10 favorite moments. (I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum so as not to spoil the moment.)

Hope they bring you a joyful moment or two.

9. The $20,000 Pyramid”
A classic car moment
(go to the 1:39 mark for this one.)

8. “The Hollywood Squares” (revival)
Gilbert Gottfried’s “You FOOL!” sequence
.
(I was no fan of his, but this was a big exception)

7. “Pyramid”
William Shatner loses it in the winner’s circle.
(Really poor video but you’ll get the point.)

6. “Password Plus”
Rip Taylor flips his lid.

4. “Match Game”
School Riot (this one takes a bit to fully play out)

2. “Match Game”
Cuckoo ______.

And the best – it will have you in stitches —

1. “Password Plus”
The “French” Incident.

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Chuck Small

Journalist-turned-high school counselor. Happily ensconced in Raleigh, N.C., with hubby of 31 years (9 legal).

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rollerboogie
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rollerboogie
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May 24, 2023 9:33 am

Cool topic. We actually have at least 2 regular commenters at The Number Ones who have mentioned that they appeared on a game show. One of them was on more than one, and won $250,000 on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, as I recall.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add this classic wrong answer on Family Feud (Canada) that made the rounds a few years ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvrwPEgHq_A

thegue
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May 24, 2023 10:39 am
Reply to  rollerboogie

Vails was the winner!

I…was not. Choked when I was on Jeopardy! back in 2003.

There’s another TNOCer who was a contestant on Jeopardy as well, but I’ll let him identify himself if he so chooses.

cappiethedog
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May 24, 2023 3:11 pm
Reply to  thegue

I remember your story. I was astonished by the similarity to Robert Redford’s Quiz Show. It’s not choking if you never saw it. It was popular, but it wasn’t like the name of the film in Quiz Show that Charles Van Doren misses, when there was a monoculture, and the whole of America was aware of it. Despite the better than expected box office, it was still, technically, an independent, and niche.

rollerboogie
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May 24, 2023 4:11 pm
Reply to  cappiethedog

Loved Quiz Show

Phylum of Alexandria
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May 24, 2023 9:34 am

Ken, I made the same guess! The answer is valid!

I loved Hollywood Squares as a kid, but I can’t remember any specific scenes of note!

I’m more likely to recall a classic “episode” of Snatch Game, such as Dame Maggie Smith’s appearance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6ss9MhI3w4

Also, as always, Betty White is lovely.

Virgindog
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May 24, 2023 10:25 am

You fool!

This is a family website so I won’t bother posting the Newlywed Game clip we’re all thinking of.

thegue
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May 24, 2023 10:47 am
Reply to  Virgindog

That’s where my mind went to immediately when I saw top 10 moments.

Another one of my Top 10, while keeping just to this side of the SFW tracks…

Love Connection, with Chuck Woolery. For the uninitiated, a contestant went on 3 dates of their choosing before the they appeared in front of a live studio audience. They’re interviewed by Chuck, then clips of the “dating interview” are shown to the audience. The audience votes on who the contestant should’ve gone out with…then the big reveal – who they actually went on a date with.

That person joins them on camera backstage, and the two share details of their date, after which Chuck revealed who the audience voted for. The contestant that had a choice – another date with the person backstage, who the audience picked, or neither.

On this particular episode, the man chose a woman, and they drove from LA to Las Vegas for their date. They had a GREAT time, as one could tell by the way they interacted. They tracked the date until about 1 am, when they decided to get a room in Las Vegas, since it was too late to drive back to LA.
The audience cheered.

Chuck: “What happened next?”

The couple looked at each other, there was a pregnant pause, and the man said, “Chuck, we agreed that we wouldn’t talk about it.”

The audience erupted. Chuck blushed. “Okay, tell me about the next morning…”

The woman spoke up. “Chuck, after I massaged the claw marks out of his back we ordered breakfast.”

Chuck fell off his chair. The gentleman covered his face laughing, and the audience shrieked.

They went on another date.

JJ Live At Leeds
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May 24, 2023 12:41 pm

I’m another that didn’t make the cut. Applied for The Weakest Link back in 2003, got a call a few weeks later during which I had to answer a question before I could progress to the audition. Can’t remember what the question was other than it was very easy. Not sure they’d have weeded too many out at that stage.

Turned up to the audition at a hotel with another 9 eager contenders. We had to do a screen test, talking for a minute about ourselves in front of the camera and everyone else. Did OK at that I thought. Then we played several rounds in a mock up of the show. I got every question right in every round but was still voted off. Which is probably where I went wrong as I said something diplomatic about how I couldn’t control my fellow competitors perception of how I’d done, all I could do was keep getting the answers right.

I got another call a couple of days later to say I hadn’t made it onto the show, no reason given. I’m going on the assumption that I was just too darn nice about my devious opponents. Maybe they thought Anne Robinson would eat me alive for my politeness.

Aaron3000
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Aaron3000
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May 24, 2023 4:08 pm

It’s Chuck Nelson Reilly!

That “September” moment was the first thing I thought of…. I love it when game shows go completely off the rails, same with those two “Password” clips.

There’s a whole bunch of videos of Bert Convey inadvertently giving away clues during his hosting stints on “Password”. Always reminds me of the recurring SNL skit where Kristen Wiig plays an over-the-top actress contestant who repeatedly does the same thing.

Zeusaphone
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May 24, 2023 9:00 pm

The first thing that came to mind for me was this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdeiBwOlEl0

dutchg8r
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May 25, 2023 11:12 am

Ooh, I can’t wait to play these clips to see if I remember them, thanks Chuck!

As yall are probably aware, I was raised on 70s and 80s game shows as well. I purposely tuned in to Golden Girls when it first started for Betty White. I only knew her as this super funny lady that was on all the game shows I watched.

It is weird in retrospect to consider how much learning and education we’d soak up from game shows. They were always interactive for me, I’d be playing right along with them. And anytime someone had said something that got everybody laughing hysterically, but I was too young to understand what was so funny, I would try and find out what I was missing, so next time I could laugh along with them.

That Gilbert Godfried clip from Hollywood Squares is such a classic gem. I actually find myself jokingly telling people “You FOOL!” when they say they trust me with something. I doubt anyone gets the reference though.

Rip Taylor. That guy would always get me rolling. He was like Don Rickles meets Liberace.

dutchg8r
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May 25, 2023 1:22 pm

My goodness, those theme songs are such instantaneous earworms, I start humming along with each of them. Soundtracks of my childhood throughout summer vacations!

DanceFever
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May 25, 2023 1:27 pm

Great subject, Chuck.
In the summer when my mother got off work, we would watch the “Match Game” together. She loved Gene Rayburn.
One summer I had been out shopping and came home to find my mother grinning from ear to ear.
She said”I have a surprise for you”. And she pulled a picture of her (in her nurses uniform) shaking hand s with none other than Gene Rayburn!
Seems he and his wife had been on vacation in our area and his wife met with a minor accident that required some surgery.
The other nurses at the hospital new my mother was big fan of his and
got him to go up to the maternity ward and give her an autograph and take a picture.
My mother said he was so charming and nice. She treasured that picture until the day she died.

blu_cheez
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May 25, 2023 4:30 pm

I grew up around game shows. Like: literally – my father was a writer for shows like Jeopardy, Joker’s Wild, and Press Your Luck (“no whammies!”), and I remember visiting him at the various studios where the shows were recorded.

I’ve sat in the OG “center square” on the Hollywood Squares set – I, at the age of four or five, delivered lunch once to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show set. I sat in the audience for a ton of Jeopardy tapings (all early Trebek years). I got to visit The Gong Show set once (man, I freaking LOVED The Gong Show)!

Seeing these clips is like a serotonin I.V. drip. Fun article!

dutchg8r
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May 25, 2023 4:56 pm
Reply to  blu_cheez

Dude, you were living my dream, blu. Lucky dawg. 😁

But that is pretty awesome to have been able to literally grown up in that environment.

Does Game Show Network show Gong Show reruns? I don’t think I’ve watched those since they were originally aired… loved Gong Show also.

LinkCrawford
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May 26, 2023 10:12 am

Gilbert Gottfried could be pretty obnoxious. That was his schtick. But sometimes he was hilarious.

Pauly Steyreen
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May 26, 2023 5:41 pm

The Match Game brought so many hilarious moments — it’s almost impossible that you could get through an episode without laughing.

Food for thought — is Bruce Vilanch the Charles Nelson Reilly of the 90’s? Meaning, a game show regular/mooch who could occasionally bring the house down, and was known for practically nothing else but game show appearances?

Last edited 1 year ago by Pauly Steyreen
Pauly Steyreen
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May 26, 2023 5:42 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

For my opinion, the Gilbert Gottfried YOU FOOL episode takes the cake!

mt58
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May 26, 2023 6:42 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

A funny interview with Bruce Vilanch about writing for award shows:

https://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/oscars-bruce-vilanch/

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