The news that television icon Chuck Barris had passed away really took me back. I was a kid in the 70's when many of his biggest shows were quite simply a part of the fabric of my day to day life.

Every time I saw an interview with Chuck Barris on television, I thought the man was cray-cray. That means crazy in the vernacular of today's hip and modern speech aficionados. He always had a wild look in his eyes and he never really looked as if sitting still was an option for him.

Still, he created and starred in some of television's most inventive and popular game shows. Who among us has not wondered if it would bachelor number one, number two, or number three that would be chosen on The Dating Game? It was truly the precursor to today's TV hit The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

Barris was also the maniacal mind that created the Newlywed Game. A game where newly married couples would be quizzed in a comical way about their relationship and their partners. I am pretty sure this game could have led to another game show, The Divorce Game.

Barris also created and starred in what could be considered America's first real reality show. It was called The Gong Show and it was a play where those with talent and without talent could stand before God and country and be judged, often very harshly.

Barris also claimed to be an operative for the CIA. In fact, his story was made into a movie directed by George Clooney. It was called Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. The CIA disavowed any knowledge of Barris' claims.

Regardless, Chuck Barris was a showman. He liked to push the limits of what audiences, especially television audiences, wanted to see.

Chuck Barris was 87 years old at the time of his passing on Tuesday.



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