From the week of October 1-5, 1973
The Match Game (as it was called during the sixties) was resurrected in 1973 as “Match Game ’73” with subsequent seasons being denoted by year (Match Game ’74, Match Game ’75, ect…). Near as I can tell, Robert Culp made two appearances on Match Game in the ’70s, despite only this appearance from October 1, 1973 being listed in his filmography on the IMDB. I’ve only ever seen a screen shot of him from the other Match Game appearance but have no idea (yet) what year it’s from. But I intend to find out, somehow.
Since Culp is in the first chair at the top row, he’s the first introduced. Um, pay attention, Bob…
Although this episode is early in the Match Game run, the familiar feel of the show is well established already. What would become the familiar cast of misfits are here, with Brett Sommers and Richard Dawson. Charles Nelson Riley was not yet a regular, but in what would be his chair is Mr. Brett Sommers, Jack Klugman. Frequent visitor Jo Ann Pflug is here and the “new blood” are Robert and actress Pat Carroll. Gene Rayburn promises the newbies they’re gonna have fun. Culp asks when. Heh. Carroll complains something about missing a PTA meeting for this. Honestly though, I’m not sure Culp really wanted to be there at first, it’s hard to tell.
The two contestants are Allen and Diane. Allan picks the first question, which is…
Gene: “Molly fed Jake nothing at all but chicken soup until he finally BLANKED.”
The usual shot of the stars writing their answers down. Nice close up of Culp. May I add that he looks very sharp in that blue suit?
Allan answers that Jake “cackled.” The audience likes this one.
Robert: “Well, it was close…he croaked.”
Most of the rest of the answers are similar, that Jake died. Klugman figures the soup might be like Brett makes it…thus, Jake vomitted. Anyway, Allan gets no matches from any of the stars. Culp says something about “no chicken soup jokes here…”
Next question for Diane… “When little Maybel dances with Big Wilt, her nose touches his BLANK.”
Now, by this point if you’re not familiar with Match Game you may have noticed the questions could sometimes be suggestive in some way. The answers, however, could not violate FCC rules. But you know everybody, including the audience, are thinking the same damn FCC violating answer. They just can’t say it. Gene tells everyone not to be influenced by this “evil audience” who are hooting and snickering. Since they’re all thinking the same answer, Culp is heard saying something like “nobody is that short.”
Diane keeps it clean and says that Maybel’s nose touches Big Wilt’s chest. Obviously the audience isn’t fond of the answer as they’re pretty much stone silent.
Robert: “Well the only Wilt I know is a lot taller than that. Belt buckle.”
Although Culp doesn’t match with Diane, he and Jack Klugman are on the same wavelength. Klugman’s answer was also belt buckle. “I think Robert and I dance with the same Wilt, I said belt buckle… “
Jo Ann and Pat also say belt buckle. Brett and Richard say navel. Diane does not get a match but by this point Culp seems to be loosening up. On to the next question.
Gene: “Robinson Crusoe said to Friday, ‘We’ve been on this island together for 20 years. Let’s BLANK.’”
Yeah. You’re thinking all kindsa naughty answers aren’t you? So’s everybody else. Allan, who just can’t help himself, answers: “Get married.”
Gene: “He’s such a shy guy too.”
Robert: “I told you he was a vision in blue!” (Allan is wearing a bright powder blue sport coat.)
Your answer, Bob?
“I really wanted to play it very straight, because they’re cold up there and they wanted to build a fire.”
Build a fire? No, I’m sure that’s not what he first thought. (And if I was stuck on an island with Robert Culp for 20 years, I would hope we built a fire long before then!) Brett says “dance.” Klugman’s answer he figures will get him thrown out of the business…he matches Allen with “get married.” Jo Ann’s answer was that they should leave. Richard also matches with Allen for “get married.” And Pat figured as Jo Ann did, that they should just get out.
After a commerical break we return with the next question, which is, “Herman flew all the way to Brooklyn to look up Janet’s BLANK.”
The audience gets a good snicker along with some of the celebs on the panel. Culp asks Gene to repeat the question, saying, “I dare you to say it again.” Gene repeats it, unruffled, everybody chuckles and the close up of Culp shows…
Yeah. He’s thinking, “Geeze…” I’m also willing to bet Culp is thinking a particular answer but he plays it straight.
Brett is giggling like a mad woman as she writes her answer down. Everybody puts their cards in, Culp being the last one.
Diane’s answer is a disappointing “phone number.”
Robert: “You guys are too tough for me, I had to start out easy with this. I said ‘address.’”
No match. On to Brett who just stares at Gene for a long moment, looking innocent. Finally she snaps out of it and pulls her card out. The viewer and the audience can’t see it, but Culp does and you hear him burst out laughing.
That answer Culp might’ve been thinking of? Brett had no shame and proudly displays her card. “HER SKIRT!” After a good laugh, Brett then apologizes for her complete lack of taste. Culp can be heard saying “it’s allright…” Heh!
Once again Jack Klugman matches Culp with “address.” None of the other celebrities match with Diane so Allan wins the round. He goes on to win $500 in the super match with Richard but doesn’t win the $5000.
Round two with a new player, Barbara. Barbara picks question B, which is, “The morning after the party, Harry said, ‘Boy my mouth tastes like somebody left their BLANK in it.’”
Barbara’s answer: Socks
Good answer. Culp almost has it. “Very, very close!” he says, “But! It was shoes…”
Barbara would match with Brett and Richard to get two points. Unfortunately, that would be all the time they would have for this day’s game.
Now I dunno about you, but I would have loved to have been a contestant on Match Game just for the heck of it, but particularly if Culp was on the panel. If I had won a round and made it to the supermatch I would’ve picked him. I wouldn’t have cared if I won or lost at that point, I would’ve been happy just to have stood on that stage, with Culp not 15 feet away and try to see if I could match him.
And see about building that fire.
You can watch the Match Game ’73 episode on YouTube in five parts (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five) which is where I grabbed my screen caps from. As always, with the fickle existence that is YouTube, check it out sooner rather than later as there’s no guarantee on how long the video will remain posted.
Now if I can just find this other Match Game appearance…
Anybody recognize it? Know it? Have a video of it???