Gong With the Wind: A Review of Chuck Barris True Influence
Rev. Antonio Hernández
Long ago just
a tad less than a generation ago there was a television giant who
deeply moved me, and my very large group of friends. We affectionately
called him "Chucky", before that name became associated with
an ugly, hideous, murdering doll. This "tee-wee" (as he liked
to say it) idol, our idol, was Chuck Barris.
Hosting his greatest oeuvre, "The Gong Show", we saw this Chuck
Barris for the first time. He was a short, fuzzy, tourettic, chuckling
sort of Jewish Pied Piper. He was like a muppet, but he was not only a
real man he was the Creator. At first, he was self-conscious and
nervous. Later he would become a manic whirlwind, the entire "Gong
Show" in one package. Chuck Barris was my generations adult
"The Gong Show" was not merely a cult classic television program.
It was a paradigm shift in entertainment; no one could have dared to do
anything like it, not even Ernie Kovacs, because no one could have thought
of it but Chuck Barris himself.
I will not lay out a description of the show; it would be fruitless if
you never watched it, and it needs no explanation if you did watch it.
Suffice it to say that many stars got their first national exposure on
"The Gong Show": Mare Winningham, Pee Wee Herman, Kevin Spacey
just to name a tiny few. It raised hackles precisely because no one could
match it, and no one else had thought of it first.
Chuck Barris even had Mexican singers and musicians and these guys
were good! No one would have had the cojones to do such a thing. For those
who watched the show religiously, who can forget the Unknown Comic, Lazario,
the Popsicle Twins, and Gene! Gene, the Dancing Machine!?
The fact is that Mr. Barris is and always was a genius. The networks,
who make the CIA look better than the Scouts, always managed to take a
dump on Chucky. When "The Gong Show" lost its appeal and was
cancelled, Chucky was thrown out with the bathwater. He had created "The
Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", "The Gong Show",
and countless other innovations. Note that never did he put the possessive
"Chuck Barris " on any of his creations.
In fact, Chucky suffered deeply. Every critique, every poison pen scribble,
every nasty name, wounded him. He was called "the king of schlock";
he was accused of rotting kids minds, and was blamed for everything
that was wrong with television. That was not enough: soon he was blamed
for the downfall of television. As if there could ever be such a thing!
It was like picking a heroic French Undergrounder to blame for all the
Today is no different. What annoys the hell out of me, and continues to
hurt Chucky, is that snotty Gen-X dorks, who never saw "The Gong
Show", are continuing to call Chucky names. These numb-nuts, who
have no sense of television history, who drool over reality shows and
slapstick sitcoms-- ideas pioneered by Chucky-- are showing him to the
pillory all over again.
When his autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, was first published
in the 1980s, none of us fans ever really knew about it. Nor had we any
idea that he had written an all-time best seller prior to that. I for
one dont give a damn if Chucky assassinated for the CIA. If he did,
we should be honoring him as a war hero if he didnt, then
he wrote that autobiography because it suits his crazy, creative sense
of humor. Either way, hes trying to make a point, and I am SO glad
to see him back in action again.
Normally my columns and articles end with tremendous witticisms, deep
thoughts, or a penetrating literary adieu. Not in this case. In this case,
I have only this to say: Welcome home, Chucky. We missed you.
© Most Rev. Antonio Hernández
Confessions of a Dangerous
Mind is now showing at a movie theatre near you
Click on Pic to discover more
out the the Chuck Barris debut album
"Confessions of A Dangerous Singer" on April 8th
Find out more at www.domo.com
Chuck Barris Debut Album from Domo Records New
Confessions of A Dangerous Singer Chuck Barris 73017-2 CD
Street Date:April 8th, 2003
Chuck Barris has been successful in everything he's done in his
career because we live by the motto "If it isn't fun I don't do
it". After many years of producing television shows, movies and
writing several best selling books, he has now embarked on a music
career releasing his debut CD "Confessions of a Dangerous Singer".
He has gathered his old friends from the game show bands and covered
many of the best standards of our era as well as songs he penned
including Pacific Palisades which was a smash hit for Freddy Cannon
Confessions of A Dangerous Mind Soundtrack 2003 Domo | 73016-2 CD
Review this CD and send it to us at Hackwriters.com
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