The Real Match Game Story: Behind the Blank notes, “Match Game started out as a run-of-the-mill, fill-in-the-blank game show. The questions were simple and contestants had to fill in the blanks: ‘Every morning, John puts _____ on his cereal.’
“Faced with cancellation because of low ratings, producers and panelists decided to kick it up a notch and have fun until the end of the season. Host Rayburn rattled off questions packed with sexual double entendres, unusual for the 1970s. The racy questions made it to the air, the celebrities made it a point to ‘play dumb’ and the results were hilarious. The ratings shot through the roof and CBS un-cancelled the series.
Match Game became the highest-rated game show in daytime from 1974 to 1976. Match Game redefined the modern game show. It went against convention, appealed to a younger, hipper audience and ushered in a new era of television.”
Now, here’s your host, Gene Rayburn!
The celebrity players
Richard Dawson, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly and host Gene Rayburn
Top row: Bert Convy, Arlene Francis and Jack Klugman; Bottom row: Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson and Betty White (1973)
More famous faces
David Doyle, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Debralee Scott, Dick Martin, Patty
Avery Schreiber, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson, Fanny Flagg
The Match Game ’76 set