Match Game was a game show that was on air from the early 70's to the late 80's on the CBS Network. It contained 6 celebs that a constestant would try to match the fill in the blank with, for example:

"Fat sue was so fat, when she sat around the house, she really sat around the BLANK."

The celebs would proceed to write down what they think on cards, then they would let the constent have her guess. Each correct answer was one point, a perfect score would be 6, unless both recived 6, then the perfect score could be 12 (in a tie breaker). The one with the most points after 2 rounds would win (in the 80s this was changed to 3 rounds).

Match Game was on in the afternoon and at night (Match game (Year Here) and Match Game PM).

The most common regulars were Charles Nelson Ryley, Richard Dawson, & Brett Summers.

Match Game was a game show in which contestants would try to match the answers given by a celebrity panel. The winner after (usually) 2 rounds of panel polling then had to try to match answers with an audience poll, with the help of three of the celebrities. If the contestant was successful again, they were given one chance to match one celebrity exactly. (Depending on the incarnation of the show, the contestant was allowed to choose the celebrity or used a giant spinner.) There were 5 incarnations of Match Game:

  • The Match Game -- 1962-69 According to, very few episodes of this incarnation are known to exist.
  • Match Game -- 1973-82
    • Host -- Gene Rayburn
    • Announcers -- Johnny Olson, Bern Bennett
    • Producers -- Mark Goodson, Bill Todman
    • Network -- CBS
    • Air Times:
      • daytime -- seen as "Match Game 7X" (7X=2-digit year) from '72-'79, "Match Game" '79-'82
      • primetime -- Match Game PM (aired '75-'81)
    All episodes of this incarnation are known to exist; some of them are even aired on Game Show Network.
  • The Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour -- 1983-4
    • Co-Hosts -- Gene Rayburn (MG), Jon Bauman (HS)
    • Announcers -- Gene Wood, Johnny Olson, Rich Jeffries, Bob Hilton
    • Producer -- Mark Goodson
    • Network -- NBC
    This incarnation is not in syndication.
  • Match Game -- 1990-1
    • Host -- Ross Shafer
    • Announcers -- Gene Wood, Bob Hilton
    • Producer -- Mark Goodson
    • Network -- ABC
    As of October 2001, this incarnation is in syndication on the Game Show Network. It's scary!
  • Match Game -- 1998-9 This incarnation is not yet in syndication.
Match Game was popular during the 70's because the host and the celebrities were wont to use "innuendo and unscripted antics" ( during the game (have you ever watched some of the commercials for this show? they're great). My guess (since I never watched the show before a year ago) is that the lack of freedom to do such things in later incarnations of the show is what caused the show to lose its popularity. In a show like this, with guests like they had and statements like they used, uprightness and placidity would be downright stifling.

Popular guests on the show included Richard Dawson, of Family Feud and Hogan's Heroes fame (or infamy, if you like); Brett Somers, who joined the show upon the insistence of her husband (The Odd Couple's Jack Klugman) and really hit it off with Gene Rayburn; Charles Nelson Reilly, an illustrious Broadway actor who met Rayburn on the set of Bye Bye Birdie and was still on the show in 1990; Betty White, most recently known for the Golden Girls; Fannie Flagg, a popular comedian at the time; Nipsey Russell; Patty Duke Astin; McLean Stevenson, Gary Burghoff, and Loretta Swit, from M*A*S*H; Bert Convy; Marcia Wallace of the Bob Newhart Show; Dick Martin and Patti Deutsch, from Laugh-In; Bill Daily, from I Dream of Jeannie; Joyce Bullifant, from the Mary Tyler Moore Show; Eva Gabor; Debralee Scott from Angie; David Doyle from Charlie's Angels; Richard Paul from Carter Country; and Bart Braverman from Vegas.

From what I can tell, the celebrities enjoyed matching the contestants as much as the contestants liked winning the money. At least, they always liked gettin' the love.

Gene Rayburn, the host of the show (and so many others) for so many years, died in 1999, at the age of 81.

Incidentally, Match Game shows up in an episode of the Simpsons (#1F11) in which Bart has a fleeting courtship with television fame, and daydreams about himself appearing on "Match Game 2034" as a has-been actor, the "I Didn't Do It" boy. Amazingly enough, Charles Nelson Reilly wasn't still on the show.

Match game.

A game arranged as a test of superiority; also, one of a series of such games.


© Webster 1913

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