Looking at Match Game ‘7x, Part 1: Matching Up Time

Every few years or so, I DVR old Match Game ’7x episodes from GSN to watch while I eat lunch, and recently I started taking photos of the “Audience Match” portion of the “Super Match” round.

After the contestant with the most celebrity matches prevailed, host Gene Rayburn, with his skinny microphone, bid the loser adieu, and the lazy Susan-style stage did a half rotation to a board as seen below:

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Then Gene Rayburn would say, “We polled a recent studio audience to get their responses for this:”

And the top rectangle would reveal something like this:

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Part of the fun is guessing what a recent studio audience in 1974 or ’75 would most likely answer, and then comparing those answers to an audience almost 40 years later might choose.

For example, the top choice for “Tennessee _____” ended up being Tennessee Ernie Ford, a singer who’s been forgotten for the most part [1]. I’m not sure what a 2011 audience would have said. Titans? Certain evergreens like “Waltz” or “Walking Horse?”

I started posting these Super Match photos on my Facebook account to see what answers would pop up. These posts have been pretty popular and even competitive, and many of my friends/contestants put down more than one answer to win that illusory big money and bragging rights.

The most fun ones have been the ones where people have given answers that never would have been chosen by a studio audience back then because the concepts, entities or catch phrases didn’t exist. One example:

For Punch _____,

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my brother Jon said “erello,” referring to Erik Estrada’s character Officer Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello on the TV show CHiPs, which first aired in 1977, a few years after this particular Super Match.

In another, “_____ Home,”

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my sister-in-law came up with “Phone Home.”

“We watched E.T. last weekend,” she wrote.

Today “Phone home” would probably be in the top two, despite E.T. being almost 30 years old, but in early 1975, it was still a pre-Spielberg pre-JAWS world. We were primed for the latter, what with the recent release of THE TOWERING INFERNO and EARTHQUAKE, among others, but hell, back then an LED watch with a gold band cost $350 (I know that because my grandfather told us so when he showed it off), and photos usually took a week to process, etc., etc…

Meanwhile, many of those Match Game celebrities gave their answers in a cloud of smoke and hung all over one another. Watching the show as an adult, I see a group of happy drunks wearing stripes with checks because they could, notice Chris Colfer of GLEE looks like a baby Charles Nelson Reilly and see these various things as proof that time is more like a rubber band than a straight line.


  1. I mean if a seventeen-year-old can say, “David Bowie, he did that ”Last Dance“ song, right?” – well, I’m guessing she ain’t familiar with TEF either. Hell, I barely knew who he was, but it was a name I remembered vaguely from childhood because it sounded good.  ↩

Comments

  1. Calhouncitymississippi says:

    Loved this!

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