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This Week's Game Show TV Milestones (Part 2)


JULY 12, 1976

Family Feud, an exciting new Mark Goodson-Bill Todman game show wherein 2 families matched wits against a public opinion poll refereed by Richard Dawson, debuted @ 1:30 PM EDT on ABC Daytime. Mark Goodson originated the idea for Feud from one of his other hit game shows, CBS’ Match Game 76. The “Super Match” round of Match Game 76 featured a contestant choosing panelist Richard Dawson virtually every time, trying to match the correct response to an audience survey. The segment became such a huge hit with audiences the survey, that Richard Dawson and The Family Feud went on the air.

On the landmark first show (recorded on July 7, 1976, ex-Beatle Ringo Starr's 36th birthday!), Tricky Dick Dawson greeted his audience with the immortal 1-liner: “I haven't felt that excited since I got the oil drilling rights to Jack Lord's hair!” The Moseley Family (Wayne, Shirley, Melissa, Bridget and Chris) challenged The Abramowitz Family (Hilda, Karen, Ken, Barbara and Shirley). The first question given was “Name a famous George;” the 6 most popular answers from 100 people surveyed were “George Washington” (46), “George Burns,” “George Gobel” (both with 4), “George Jessel” (3), “Gorgeous George,” and “George Wallace” (both with 2). It only took 200 points for The Moseleys to win The Feud, and, though they blew the $5000 in Fast Money, they did manage to score $890.

There were different camera angles in nearly every shot; instead of a camera panning down at Richard, there is a camera at floor level aiming directly at him; and it featured marvelous complete shots of Richard and the contestants at their podiums as the camera followed Richard from one family to the next.

Other Famous Firsts On The Feud:

·        The first contestant to give the #1 answer on Family Feud was Hilda Abramowitz.
·        The first female recipient of the infamous Richard Dawson Smooch (on her hand, yet!) was Shirley Moseley.
·        The first wrong answer given was “By George.”

The loud “strike” buzzer was more hollow-sounding than in later episodes. All of the Family Feud music cues were a little slower. And notice that Dick Dawson doesn’t call out the numbers of the answers after the end of each round; they just revealed themselves.The first Fast Money round on Family Feud included a rare shot of Richard Dawson and the contestant instead of just the contestant.

The end of the Feud premiere was rather weird, because announcer Gene Wood’s closing spiel was “This has been A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!” instead of “This is Gene Wood speaking for Family Feud, A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production!” Furthermore, the superimposed titles were bright red! (There were no fee plugs, either!)

For the first few weeks of Family Feud, its set looked an awful lot different; the faceoff podium featured metal buzzers and a single light-blue microphone (for the host), and the contestants’ podiums sported 10 brown microphones (brown...microphones.).

Within one year of its ABC Daytime premiere, Family Feud became the number one game show on daytime television. A prime time syndicated version of The Feud, which originally aired as a weekly series, debuted in September 1977; it quickly expanded to two nights a week in January 1979 and, in September 1980, eventually extended into five nights a week. The Feud won The Emmy Award in 1977 (the first of many) for Outstanding Television Game Show. The original ABC run of Family Feud continued for 9 years and 2,311 shows, during which Richard Dawson, the consummate ladies’ man, doled out more kisses per square foot than Milton Hershey, until June of 1985.

BTW, G-T's biggest rivals, Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley, unveiled a new show of their own that same day. Its title: Hot Seat.

Tammy Warner--the 'Annette Cash of the Big Board!


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