The Gong Show

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The Gong Show is an amateur talent contest franchised by Sony Pictures Television to many countries. It was broadcast on NBC's daytime schedule from June 14, 1976 through July 21, 1978, and in first-run syndication from 1976–1980 and 1988-1989. The show was produced by Chuck Barris, who also served as host for the NBC run and from 1977-1980 in syndication. The show is best remembered for its absurdist humor and style, often awarding participants ridiculous prizes.

Johnny Jacobs was the main announcer from 1976-1980, with Jack Clark and Charlie O'Donnell as occasional substitutes from 1977-1980; O'Donnell also served as announcer for the late-1980s revival.



Each show presented a contest between amateur performers of often dubious talent, with a panel of three celebrity judges. The program's frequent judges included Jaye P. Morgan, Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson, Rip Taylor, Phyllis Diller, and Anson Williams. Rex Reed was notorious for being the harshest critic, often giving acts a nine when they received perfect tens from the other judges. If any judge considered an act to be particularly bad, he or she could strike a large gong, thus forcing the performer to stop, a trope adapted from the durable radio show the Major Bowes Amateur Hour. Most of the performers took the gong with sheepish good grace, but there were exceptions.

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