The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s. ABC dropped the show on July 6, 1973, but it resurfaced in several syndicated versions (1973–1974 as The New Dating Game, 1978–1980, 1986–1989 and 1996–1999; repeats of the last version appeared in the 1999–2000 season.) For years it was almost always aired in tandem with another Barris production, The Newlywed Game, which premiered on ABC the following year. The show was a forerunner of a number of other shows themed in the same style.
Typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view; at the end of the questioning period, she would choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed with a man questioning three ladies; other times, a celebrity would question three players for a date for themselves, a co-worker or a relative of theirs. Many celebrities played the game looking for love themselves.
The pre-stardom Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors appeared as "contestants" on the show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Other contestants who appeared in their unknown or pre-stardom eras included The Carpenters, Jackson Bostwick, Joanna Cameron, Andy Kaufman (who went under the name Baji Kimran), Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan from 2003–2010), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor of California from 2003-2011), and Tom Selleck (who went on the show twice but was not chosen as a "date" either time). The future Federal Judge Alex Kozinski appeared on it and was selected as a "date". Infamously, serial killer Rodney Alcala appeared on the show during his murder spree and after he'd been convicted of rape in California. Some contestants appeared even after they were fairly well known, including a young Michael Jackson, Ron Howard, Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Sally Field, Richard Dawson, Jay North, and Paul Lynde. One standard trademark was that at the end of each episode, the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers. The late 1970s version of the show was much more sexually explicit (and played for laughs) than other versions.
The Dating Game was hosted by Jim Lange from its debut on ABC until the late 1970s syndicated series went off the air. The 1986 revival was originally hosted by comedian Elaine Joyce, who was replaced by Jeff MacGregor after its first season. The 1996 series was originally hosted by Brad Sherwood, who was replaced by Chuck Woolery following a return to the series' original format.
In his first autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1988), Barris claimed that The Dating Game was a cover for his CIA activities, and was promoted by the CIA. However, his second memoir, The Game Show King: A Confession (1993), makes no mention of the CIA—or, for that matter, his previous book; and a CIA spokesman has categorically denied that Barris ever worked for them in any capacity.
The show's popularity in the 1960s was the inspiration for an ice cream flavor by Baskin-Robbins called Dating Game. It was a pink ice cream with diced dates and butter toasted pecans.
Forty-five years after the TV show's inaugural season, a version of The Dating Game was launched on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites in March 2011. The game was developed by 3G Studios, under license from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Famous quotes containing the word dating:
“We go on dating from Cold Fridays and Great Snows; but a little colder Friday, or greater snow would put a period to mans existence on the globe.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)