UPDATE: GSN Goes All Out For “Match Game” Christmas Marathon, With Rarities From 1962 to 1998
UPDATE: We just received word of what is in the 4:30 spot. It may be the rarest of them all: One of the pilot episodes for the 1990 Match Game revival, hosted by Bert Convy. More details are in the post.
GSN sometimes gets a lot of flak from fans of classic game show programming for the way they handle the shows. Sometimes it’s deserved, sometimes it’s not. This time, they get major credit. Many fans, myself included, suspected that when GSN announced their holiday lineups, the nine-hour Match Game lineup airing on December 25 from 8AM to 5PM would be picked from the portion of episodes they run regularly and repeatedly. I am happy to say that is absolutely not the case. GSN announced the episodes contained in their marathon celebration of Match Game‘s 50th anniversary on television today and they are certainly a treat for fans of TV rarities and game shows, with a sampling of never-before-seen, rarely-seen and new-to-GSN offerings.
The network plans on airing two episodes from the 1960s version, including the 1962 pilot episode that was never aired on television. In addition, a variety of episodes from 1973-1982 will be seen, including one of the 1973 pilots that, again, has never been seen on television. The surprises don’t end there, as GSN will air a new-to-TV pilot shot in 1989 with Bert Convy, and will be airing an episode from the 1998-99 Match Game for the first time. Many of these certainly come as very pleasant surprises. Below is the close-to-complete listing of episodes, airing from 8AM ET to 5PM ET on Christmas Day. (All panelists listed alphabetically.)
8:00 AM – The Match Game pilot, taped December 1962, never before seen on TV (with Peggy Cass and Peter Lind Hayes)
8:30 AM – The Match Game, aired July 1964 (with Jayne Mansfield and Orson Bean)
9:00 AM – One of two Match Game pilots, taped May 1973, never before seen on TV (with Arlene Francis, Bert Convy, Jack Klugman, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson and Betty White)
9:30 AM – Match Game ’73 premiere, aired July 1973 (with Anita Gillette, Jack Klugman, Jo Ann Pflug, Michael Landon, Richard Dawson and Vicki Lawrence
10:00 AM – Match Game ’73, aired July 1973, first appearance of Brett and Charles together (with Bert Convy, Betty White, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jaye P. Morgan and Richard Dawson)
10:30 AM – Match Game ’74, aired February 1974, the boundaries begin to be pushed (with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Fannie Flagg, Kaye Ballard, Richard Dawson and Steve Allen)
11:00 AM – Match Game PM, aired August 1975, earlier episode of the primetime run (with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Joyce Bulifant, Lee Meriwether, Richard Dawson, William Shatner)
11:30 AM – Match Game ’76, aired October 1976, an older contestant wants some smoochin’ (with Avery Schreiber, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Joyce Bulifant, Nancy Kulp, Richard Dawson)
12:00 PM – Match Game ’76, aired December 1976, New Year’s Eve episode, changing the sign to ’77 (with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Elizabeth Allen, Fannie Flagg, Joey Bishop and Richard Dawson)
12:30 PM – Match Game ’77, aired February 1977, the “School Riot” (with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Debralee Scott, Edward Asner, Patti Deutsch and Richard Dawson)
1:00 PM – Match Game ’78, aired June 1978, Charles and Brett have a “fight” (with Betty White, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, David Doyle, Elaine Joyce and Richard Dawson)
1:30 PM – Match Game PM, aired February 1979, first week a non-human is on the panel (with Arte Johnson, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Eva Gabor, Fannie Flagg. and Kukla & Ollie)
2:00 PM – Match Game syndicated, aired November 1979, the panelists stage a “protest” (with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Fannie Flagg, Foster Brooks, Sarah Purcell and Scoey Mitchell)
2:30 PM – Match Game syndicated, taped August 1980 (with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Charles Siebert, Marcia Wallace, Phyllis Davis and Robert Donner)
3:00 PM – Match Game syndicated, aired September 1982, from the final week of episodes (with Betty White, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, McLean Stevenson, Melinda O. Fee and Skip Stephenson)
3:30 PM – Match Game, aired September 1990, an episode from the ABC daytime revival hosted by Ross Shafer (with Bill Kirchenbauer, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Debroah Tranelli, Ronn Lucas and Vicki Lawrence)
4:00 PM – Match Game, aired fall 1998, an episode from the 1998-99 syndicated revival hosted by Michael Burger, never before seen on GSN (with George Hamilton, Judy Tenuta, Nell Carter, Rondell Sheridan and Vicki Lawrence)
4:30 PM – The third of five Match Game pilots, taped October 1989, hosted by Bert Convy. The show was later picked up with Ross Shafer because Convy was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer, never before seen on TV (with Brad Garrett, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jerry Van Dyke, Khrystyne Haje, Marsha Warfield and Teri Copley)
In this writer’s opinion, this is a really fantastic job by GSN and a marvelous way to commemorate 50 years of this television staple. There is enough familiarity coupled with “newness”, something amazing for 40- and 50-year-old episodes of a television program. Will you be tuning into this marathon, or at least setting your DVR to record some of these episodes?