The Dating Game

From Academic Kids

The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired in 1965 and was created by Chuck Barris. ABC dropped the show in 1973; all future versions would be syndicated to local stations. It would almost always be aired in tandem with another Barris creation, The Newlywed Game.

Typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view; at the end of the questioning period, she would choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed, with a man questioning three ladies; other times, a celebrity would question three players for a date for themselves, a co-worker, or a relative of theirs. Many celebrities played the game looking for love themselves. Some unknown contestants would later become quite famous, including Suzanne Somers, Farrah Fawcett, Andy Kaufman, Burt Reynolds, Michael Jackson, Sally Field, John Ritter, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Selleck (who went on the show twice and lost each time!). One standard feature was that at the end of each episode the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers.

This was a forerunner for a number of other shows done in the same style (although a show called Blind Date was matching up contestants in a much tamer setting almost two decades earlier). The 1970s version of the show was much more sexually explicit (and played for laughs) than other versions.

It was was hosted by Los Angeles disc jockey Jim Lange throughout the '60s and '70s, by Elaine Joyce and later Jeff MacGregor in the '80s (in which future stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Jim Carrey appeared as contestants), and by Brad Sherwood and later Chuck Woolery in the '90s. Woolery had previously hosted the long-running Love Connection, a show which owed its existence to this series.

Lange went on to host a number of game shows in the '70s and '80s, none of which matched the popularity of The Dating Game in its prime. He remains a popular radio personality.

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