Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gong Show's Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine Dies; Mourning The Loss Of A Bit Of Tackiness

Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine, left, always
sent Gong Show host Chuck Barris (right) into
spasms of uncontrollable joy.  
Word spread over the weekend that Gene, Gene, The Dancing Machine has died, says the Hollywood Reporter. 

Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine was a fixture on that 1970s bit of televised drug-induced weirdness know as the "Gong Show."

I am maybe the world's biggest fan of tastelessness, crassness and kitsch, so the Gong Show was heaven to me.

Upsettingly, the loss of Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine, whose real name was Gene Patton, means the world is a slightly less goofy place, and that's sad.

Actually, Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine was the most normal person on the Gong Show, but that's not saying much.

For the uninitiated and the too-young-to-remember, The Gong Show was an early version of the current rash of talent shows.

It was sort of an Alice in Wonderland version of "America's Got Talent."

The Gong Show host, Chuck Barris, was clearly on some major pharmaceuticals. I'm guessing cocaine and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The three-member panel of judges, usually B-list celebrities, rated the contestants, many of whom were awful. The celebrity judges, always with Jaye P. Morgan at the helm, would bang a large gong when an act was particularly heinous. Hence the "Gong Show" name of the program.

Here's how the Hollywood Reporter describes the Gene, Gene sections of the show:

"At a random moment during the game show, Barris would introduce Patton, and the curtain would part, bringing the shuffling stagehand with the painter's cap onstage to the sounds of 'Jumpin at the Woodside,' a jazz tune made popular by Count Basie. His dance sent everyone on the set -- Barris, the judges, the cameramen, rthe audience -- into an uncontrollable boogie."

 Gene wasn't a particulary good dancer, but the extreme spasms of joy it brought to the drug-addled Chuck Barris was worth the performance.

The Gong Show was only on the air for two or three years in the late 1970s, but of course lived on for decades in syndication and on YouTube.

Everything about the show set new lows in tastelessness, which to me of course means it was the pinnacle of television genius.

Here's a mashup of Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine on the Gong Show:

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