Apples & Oranges
Richard Dawson died over the weekend. Coverage no doubt will focus on his time hosting The Family Feud, with a touch of Hogan’s Heroes. But to me, Richard Dawson will forever be associated in my brain with Match Game. Well, that and his friendship with creepy Bob Crane.
Match Game is by far the best game show ever and it’s not even close. But I’m just a sucker for drunken banter I guess. And okay, I must confess, I still record the episodes on GSN.
A little bit of the obit:
The mid-1960s was a good time to be English in America. (Even if you were only halfway so: the British-born Dawson’s father was American.) It was the age of the Beatles and Bond, and to my own impressionable eye, this made Dawson’s Newkirk (even more than star Bob Crane’s Col. Hogan) the most attractive member of the cast. There was a knowingness to the character that was not quite a naughtiness, a Cockney cocksureness, a streak of larceny appealingly turned to heroic ends.
These qualities Dawson imported, because they may have in some way been native to him, into his post-“Hogan” career, first as a cast member on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” already in progress, and then on the deceptively hip ’70s version of “Match Game,” for which the contest itself was less the point than the loose banter of the panelists. Then came “Family Feud” – perhaps the most American of great American game shows, with its contestants representing unity and diversity – where he dispensed innumerable kisses and compliments and kept order with a gently ironic edge.
Apart from “Hogan,” Dawson’s other acting appearances, which included several episodes of the underrated “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” and a dark inversion of his “Family Feud” persona in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film “The Running Man,” were few; a psych-pop single, “Apples and Oranges,” from 1967, led nowhere, but it remains an interesting artifact of its time.
Wow, I had no idea about “Apples and Oranges.” That is crazy. No, it’s really crazy. Listen to it. I dare you. “Artifact of its time” indeed. I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.
And just a little taste of Match Game (apparently this episode is too controversial for GSN — wrap your mind around that one.)