What's On? Wednesday: All-Star Family Feud Specials
My favorite game show of all time was Match Game and believe me when I say that there will be a post in the future on Brett, Charles, and Gene! I am not a big fan of Richard Dawson and hated when he was picked by contestants for the final match, because he always acted so superior. But to his credit, he really did want the contestants to win. His success as a panelist on Match Game led to his offer to host his own game show: Family Feud.
Recalling the days of Hatfields vs. McCoys, the game allowed to families to battle it out with their wits for cash. Surveys of 100 people led to questions given to the families. It was fun (except for all the kissing of female contestants, which I believe led to Richard marrying one of the contestants).
My favorites were the celebrity specials that occurred. The celebrity teams were usually two ABC shows competing, but occasionally other networks joined in and they played for their favorite charities (always a good thing).
The cast of What's Happening!! with Danielle Spencer, Ernest Thomas, Fred Berry, Haywood Nelson and Shirley Hemphill;
the cast of WKRP in Cincinatti with Howard Hesseman, Tim Reid, Frank Bonner, Gordon Jump and Loni Anderson;
the cast of One Day at a Time with Mackenzie Phillips, Nanette Fabray, Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington Jr. and Valerie Bertinelli;
the cast of Benson with Caroline McWilliams, James Noble, Robert Guillaume, Lewis Stadlen and Inga Swenson;
The Brady Bunch with Florence Henderson, Robert Reed, Maureen McCormick Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen;
the cast of Leave it to Beaver with Barbara Billingsley, Richard Deacon, Jerry Mathers, Frank Bank and Ken Osmond;
the family from Family with Meredith Baxter(-Birney), James Broderick, Quinn Cummings, Gary Frank and John Rubenstein;
The Jeffersons cast featuring Mike Evans, Franklin Cover, Isabel Sanford, Roxie Roker and Marla Gibbs;
the cast of Three's Company with Joyce DeWitt, Norman Fell, John Ritter, Richard Kline and Audra Lindley;
and later the spinoff cast of The Ropers featuring Norman Fell, Louise Vallance, Audra Lindley, Jeffery Tambor and Patty McCormack;
Sometimes there would be themes like "Daytime vs. Nighttime" or "City shows vs. Country shows". Some casts showed up quite often like:
the Love Boat crew which always featured Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Gavin McLeod, Fred Grandy and Lauren Tewes;
the cast of Soap appered and featured
Robert Mandan, Jimmy Baio, Donnelly Rhodes, Arthur Peterson and Jennifer Salt;
Robert Mandan, Jay Johnson, Jimmy Baio, Donnelly Rhodes and Arthur Peterson;
Robert Mandan, Jay Johnson, Diana Canova, Dinah Manoff and Jimmy Baio;
or Jennifer Salt, Jay Johnson, Diana Canova, Sal Viscuso and Dinah Manoff;
or the cast from Eight is Enough which featured
Lani O'Grady, Dick Van Patten, Willie Aames, Laurie Walters and Susan Richardson;
or Susan Richardson, Grant Goodeve, Laurie Walters, Dick Van Patten and Lani O'Grady
and appeared many more times.
Sometimes, they would just gather a group of celebrities and team the up with weird connections these "10's":
Wilt's Wows which featured Wilt Chamberlain, Barbara Rush, Shannon Tweed, Marilyn McCoo and Charo;
Debbie's Dudes which featured Miss America Debra Sue Moffet, Vince Ferragamo, Bruce Penhall, Ricky Schroeder and Lorenzo Lamas;
Richard's Rosebuds which featured Richard Simmons, Mary Ann Mobley, Heather Locklear, Shari Belafonte and Heather Thomas;
Phyllis' Fighters which featured Phyllis Diller, Steven Ford, Gary Collins, Robert Guillaume and Steve Yeager;
Two teams of Heroes:
1) Bernie Kopell, Lou Ferrigno, Kurt Thomas, Marion Ross and Lynn Redgrave;
2) Marla Gibbs, Gordon Cooper, Mackenzie Phillips, Tom Wopat and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman;
vs. two teams of Villains:
1) Leonard Frey, Joan Collins, Beatrice Straight, Susan Lucci and Norman Fell;
2) Katherine MacGregor, James Best, Paul L. Smith, Inga Swenson and Henry Silva;
and pitting the Adventure Heroes featuring Peter Lupus and Greg Morris from Mission: Impossible, with Adam West of Batman, Lyle Waggoner of Wonder Woman and Don Galloway of Ironside
against the Adventure Heroines featuring Beverly Garland of Scarecrow & Mrs. King, Lindsay Bloom of Mike Hammer, Patricia McPherson of Knight Rider, Phyllis Davis of Vega$ and Yvonne Craig of Batman.
As time went on, the shows started sending second stringers instead of the big-name stars of the shows. Two of my favorite examples of this are:
Dallas sent in Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Steve Kanaly, Victoria Principal and Charlene Tilton who were all main title characters.
Later the Dallas team consisted of Ken Kercheval, Meg Gallagher (one of J.R.'s early secretaries), Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard and Jeff Cooper (who played Sue Ellen's doctor).
or even worse was The Dukes of Hazzard cast consisting of all main title cast members James Best, Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, Denver Pyle and Sorrell Booke;
so who shows up for The Dukes of Hazzard later? Peggy Rea (who played Lulu Hogg in maybe 18 episodes over 5 seasons), Jeff Altman (who played Boss' nephew Hughie Hogg in a total of 5 episodes), Rick Hurst (who played Cletus and was the only main title star), Lindsay Bloom (who played the Hazzard County telephone operator in 7 episodes) and Christopher Hensel (who guest starred in one episode as a distant cousin of the Dukes).
Now I have to admit I love Debralee Scott!!!
The Angie cast appeared on Family Feud with Robert Hays, Donna Pescow, Sharon Spelman, Debralee Scott and Doris Roberts.
They were up against The Ropers for the first round and won. Debralee and Robert went for $5,000 Fast Money round. Debralee went first and got almost all the number one answers leaving Robert only 20 something points left for the 200 total which he got and they got the $5,000 for the Breast Cancer Center in Van Nuys. In the second round, The Dukes of Hazzard team beat out The Waltons and also won the Fast Money round for $5,000. So The Dukes of Hazzard team had to go up against Angie, but Angie won out and Debralee and Robert went back to Fast Money to try and win the big pot of $10,000 for their charity. Debralee gave her answers and Richard comforted her because she was so nervous she was actually shaking as they revealed each answer. She got all 200 points without Robert and they won the big prize. She was the first celebrity to accomplish that feat and was only the fourth person up until that broadcast. You would have thought she won the money for herself and not for a charity. I almost cry everytime I watch that final round, because you can see the joy and relief in her face.
I love celebrities on game shows, whether they are helping contestants win money or playing the game for their charities, it is always fun to see them out of character and enjoying the time they are having.