Get ready to MATCH the STARS! -- Dick Martin, Brett Somers,
Charles Nelson Reilly, Lorrie Mahaffey, from "Family Feud," Richard Dawson,
and Joyce Bulifant, as we play the star-studded, big-money Match Game PM, and here's the star of Match Game PM..... Gene Rayburn!
The Background: It was early fall 1978. For about a year and a half, Richard Dawson had been growing more distant on Match Game. With the success of Family Feud (which started in 1976), he was simply bored with the older game that he had been a part of since the beginning. Also, Richard was putting in excruciating hours doing taping for two shows. In fact, it was more like 4 shows since there was a 5-day-a-week network and syndicated Family Feud in addition to 5-day-a- week Match Game with 1 syndicated Match Game PM. Richard's behavior was strange to the loyal Match Game audience who had known him to always be joking around and in a great mood. Another strange thing, Richard was his "regular self" on the Family Feud. Clearly, he was simply disenchanted with Match Game. In one instance in 1978, Richard even refused to smile for the Match Game studio audience (who specifically asked him to do so).
This is Richard's last PM from the fall of 1978, but also believed to be his last Match Game altogether (they would tape the PM episode last during taping schedules). In the opening orange flippy head box, Richard didn't look at the camera and just waved his pinky towards the audience. NOTE: Richard is wearing tinted glasses because he had scratched his eye. He wore them on the Feud during this time as well.
We meet the two contestants. Willard is a member of the LAPD out on disability from an on-duty back injury. Sue is the manager of a small dress store in Riverside.
ROUND 1: Willard's Question - Mary said, "my husband really loves junk food; if he had catered the last supper, today they'd serve BLANK at communion." Willard offered "cookies" which is not too bad of an answer. Dick had "twinkies." Brett had "hot dogs and malteds." Chuck had the religious answer, "heavenly HOST-ess twinkies." Lorrie had "twinkies," while Richard had "big mac's." (no joke, no smile).
Time for Joyce Bulifant, braniac of southern California. She said "carburetors."
Gene tried to get to the bottom of this rotten answer to no avail. Something in her brain connected the junk in junk yards to junk food. No comment.
Sue's question - Unlucky Louie said, "I just won the world's worst contest. First Prize is a week in BLANK." Smart Sue responds with "Los Angeles." Dick had "Cleveland." Brett, Richard (looking cranky), and Joyce all had beautiful, downtown "Burbank." Charles offered "Detroit," and Lorrie had "Juarez."
ROUND 2: Sue's question - Did you hear what happened to the 102-year-old lady at the department store? She lost her BLANK in the revolving door. Charles was confounded and had to see the question for himself.
Sue came up with "fanny." Dick rightly points out that 102-year-old ladies do NOT have fannies. He then came up with "grandmother" for some bizarre reason. Brett had "innocence," while Chuck had "virginity." Lorrie offered "bra." Richard coldly said "virtue," while Joyce inexplicably came up with teeth.
Sue had no points by the end of the second round. Willard's question - Wendy the Widow said, "I treasure the memory of my husband -- when he died, I cut off his BLANK and put it in a safe deposit box." Well, the audience, panelists and Willard all had something they wanted to say, but this was seventies television and you couldn't say THAT. Anyhoo, Willard tried to stall for more time by having Gene read the question again. Gene and the audience cracked up.
Willard eventually came up with "head." Dick had the rather nonsensical "allowance." Brett had "golden locks," and Charles had simply "lock of hair." Lorrie wrote "wedding ring," and Richard (looking bored) had "shorts."
Joyce had "finger." No matches for Willie-baby once again, but it was time for him to go again. ROUND 3: Willard's question - At the appliance store, Mr. Toaster said, "I hate the way Mr. Refrigerator treats Mrs. Refrigerator. Every night he leaves her BLANK." Willard had it down this time, and answered with "cold," which elicited an applause from the audience. Dick, Lorrie, and Richard all had "cold." Brett and Chuck had "open" for some reason, and the rocket scientist Joyce had "empty."
Sue's question - Dumb Dora is really dumb (how dumb is she), she wanted a bouncing baby, so she made love to her husband on a BLANK. Sue came up with ball, and clarified it to mean a really big ball. Dick said "trampoline" which he oddly pronounced tramboline. Brett had "ball"! The rest of the panel had "pogo-stick" and "trampoline" though, and so Sue ended up the loser of this Match Game PM.
Sue was spun around as the panel waved goodbye, and Gene and Willard got ready for the big-money super match which can pay off over $20, 000.
The first audience match was "BLANK Wreck." Willard chose Richard (ship), Charles (nervous), and Brett (I'm a). He went with Richard who did his obligatory finger cross.
100 was "car," and 250 was "nervous." Willard wins 500 dollars with the response "ship" and when he gives a thanks to Richard, it is the first and only time we see Richard smile the entire episode.
Willard's next audience match was "Thanks for BLANK." He chose Richard (the memories), Charles (nothing), and Brett (who has donned stylish shades of her own) (million). Willard chose "nothing" which turned out to be the 250 response (100 - everything. 500 - the memories).
Willard was up for $7,500 and tried to double it on the star wheel. Well, he didin't spin a double and lands on Brett who acts like the world is coming to an end because the wheel has landed on her.
The head-to-head match was "BLANK a chance." Brett wrote down a response rather quickly, but it is to no avail. Willard came up with "give me," but Brett has the much better "take." No match and Willard wins none of the big money.
Gene wishes the audience a goodbye, as Richard's last appearance on Match Game PM comes to a close.
Analyzing the footage like a Zupruder film, Richard MIGHT be smiling again during the end as he looks at Joyce Bulifant.
In conclusion, Richard's departure did leave a void in the Match Game until the likeable McLean Stevenson became a regular years later in the syndicated version.