RIP Chuck Barris!
One of the wackiest but most imaginative minds in show business has died of natural causes at the age of 87.
As Variety reports:
His autobiography, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” was made into a film directed by George Clooney and starred Sam Rockwell as Barris. In the book (subtitled “An Unauthorized Autobiography”), he claimed to have worked for the CIA as an assassin during the 1960s and ’70s, a claim which the CIA denied. “He also fabricated his life because it might have been the best way of getting at the truth. The truth was that back when he was the Jerry Springer of his day, he couldn’t stomach being attacked for doing something he considered harmless,” wrote Joel Stein in Time magazine.
Here are some highlights of a wildly imaginative life!
How About Waking Up To THIS Review?
Legendary Comic George Burns, after seeing the movie, said:
“For the first time in 65 years, I wanted to get out of show business”.
Time For The Demented Madness Of “The Gong Show Movie!”
If you haven’t heard about this movie, you are missing one of the strangest films ever released by a major studio – receiving some of the worst reviews of all time – but, in its own bizarre way, a wildly entertaining movie! First, let’s remind you about the mastermind behind it:
Meet Chuck Barris!
TV Exec-turned-Producer Chuck Barris created some of the longest-running TV game shows in history, including “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game!”
But of course, his masterpiece of TV insanity was “The Gong Show!”
I don’t think we could ever have gotten to Simon Cowell and “American Idol” if it wasn’t for this series, which gave people a chance at stardom – and ridicule….a wildly entertaining talent show where all of the talent was awful – need proof?
Meet “Gene Gene The Dancing Machine!”
Here is one of the “breakout” stars from the show:
“The Gong Show” also introduced America to “The Unknown Comic”, who always performed with a bag on his head!
The success of this syndicated comedy show led to one of the most surreal films ever released in movie theaters!
Behold the Majesty Of “The Gong Show Movie”!
You saw at the beginning of my post the reaction from comedy legend George Burns…but read some of the movie dialogue:
Father Ed: Today I’d like to pose a Biblical question. Is there reincarnation after death, and if there is, does the individual return in a higher or lower state than he or she held in his or her mortal life?
Chuck Barris: Ooh, that’s an interesting question, Father Ed. What is, uh, what is the answer to that question?
Father Ed: Beats the shit out of me.
The plot is simple: it’s a week in the life of “The Gong Show” host and creator Chuck Barris – who lives through a series of outrageous competitors, stressful situations, a nervous breakdown and other comical characters involved in his life and work on the TV show.
Here is the somewhat amazing preview:
Here’s an amazing fact for you: the film was co-written by Barris and underground film legend Robert Downey Sr. – yes, HIS Dad!
Shout! Factory has a new blu-ray release of this obscure film, which you can read about here:
And you will see one of the more surreal moments – from the TV show – that was included in the film:
This is footage of Judge Jaye P. Morgan flashing her breasts! This moment was taken from an actual “Gong Show” taping, was censored for TV – and found its way into the film!
And if you want to know more about the wacky creator of “The Gong Show”, here you go!
“An Unauthorized Autobiography!”
Yes, Chuck Barris wrote one of the most unusual autobiographies of all time! In Barris’s autobiography, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, he claims that he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an assassin in the 1960s and the 1970s!
The memoir was turned into a 2002 film, directed by George Clooney!
Here is the trailer:
That’s Sam Rockwell playing Barris…what a surreal life! Oh, the CIA denies Barris ever worked for them in any capacity. After the release of the movie, CIA spokesman Paul Nowack said Barris’ assertions that he worked for the spy agency “[are] ridiculous. It’s absolutely not true.”
Barris wrote a sequel to his bestseller called “Bad Grass Never Dies” in 2004.
If you appreciate what “The Gong Show Movie” delivers, then you must know about this film as well:
Widely considered one of the worst films ever made, “Manos: The Hands Of Fate” has some competition….like this:
Yes, there are some wildly entertaining films that may not be critical favorites, but boy are they fun to watch! Read all about them there:
RIP TO Chuck Barris, a madman of TV! And let me know if you are going to take the wild “Gong Show” ride!
Categories: Art, Bloopers, Books / Media, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Great Films, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Movies About Movies, Obscure Movies, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized