There were very few places for untalented people to perform before the internet, Youtube and American Idol. Ed Sullivan wanted the next Beatles, not Ashley Simpson Jr. That all changed in the ’70s when The Gong Show appeared in the afternoon lineup of game shows. It was a talent show that mostly was lacking on talent. Three celebrities would decide if a performer could complete their performance or deserved to be given a merciful gong. Game show genius Chuck Barris hosted the show in an almost anti-host like performance. He’d dig through a costume box during the show instead of just wearing a Botany 500 suit. The show did discover stars. Danny Elfman’s first big media moment was performing with Oingo Boingo and winning the trophy. After a few seasons on the air, the network pulled the show. But Barris wasn’t going to let this ’70s icon pass away easily. He made a feature film that’s a faux-documentary about what it took to bring such horrible acts to the public. The Gong Show Movie is now coming out on Blu-ray. Here’s the press release from Shout! Factory:
THE GONG SHOW MOVIE TO BE RELEASED ON BLU-RAY
MARCH 29 FROM SHOUT! FACTORY
Los Angeles, CA – Hey, Chuckie Baby! From the dangerous mind of Chuck Barris comes one of the most infamous motion pictures ever – The Gong Show Movie! Long absent from home video formats, this one-of-a-kind cult film has at last taken its act to Blu-ray, debuting March 29, 2016, from Shout! Factory.
Long before America’s current fascination with talent shows came “The Gong Show.” Inspired by the beloved TV talent(less) show, The Gong Show Movie presents a week in the life of beleaguered game show producer and Gong Show host Chuck Barris (played by Mr. Barris himself, in a masterstroke of casting). Between a ratings-obsessed executive, out-of-control contestants and judges, and a seemingly endless string of auditions and encounters with “fans,” Chuck’s got his hands full… which leaves him no way to keep a grip on his own sanity. Can he get it together before the gong is struck on both his private life and his career?
Co-written by Barris and underground film legend Robert Downey (Putney Swope), The Gong Show Movie is by turns anarchic and melancholy, a wild mood swing of cinema. It’s time to fire up Gene Gene the Blu-ray Machine, learn to stop worrying, and love the Gong. This highly entertaining film includes appearances by Gong Show favorites, moments that got gonged by the censors, and more stuff.
Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball
Tags: The Gong Show