The Original Dating Game – A Classic Game Show!
Chuck Barris was a game show genius. He was thought to have a “dangerous mind,” especially when it came to game shows. He was very creative and was known to be an entertainment wizard. One of the many game shows he created was, The Dating Game… a show, that first aired in 1965. The innovative show highlighted a female contestant that was to decide who she wanted to go on a dream date with, based solely on a man’s answer to her questions. The bachelors were not called by name, but rather as, Bachelor No. 1, Bachelor No. 2 and Bachelor No. 3.
The Dating Game, was hosted by Jim Lange, who wore a “cheesy” tuxedo. It was a ground-breaking concept wherein a young and beautiful woman would be a game show contestant interviewing three eligible bachelors. The purpose of the interview was to determine which one she might have a romantic connection with. Just because the bachelors were eligible, didn’t mean they were desirable; but that was always relative and to be seen. The female contestant and the bachelors were separated by a visual barrier. The woman would ask questions that the men had to answer, on the spot. The questions were usually suggestive and somewhat quirky, making the show all the more interesting.
The woman would “judge” the men and make the decision on who she wanted to go on a date with based only on the answers they gave. Of course, the men wanted to win a date with the woman, whoever she was, so some of the answers got a little racy.
During a short commercial break, the woman would have to quickly contemplate her decision based on the bachelors’ responses to her questions. After she made her decision, she would initially meet the two men that didn’t make the cut. After that, she would meet the bachelor she chose and find out where they were going on their dream date. In the end, the woman and the chosen bachelor would go on a date to some exotic locale, although it was chaperoned. Bummer! There were, however, plenty of times that the woman knew right away that she had made a mistake!
Several well-known celebrities, including Burt Reynolds, Dick Clark and Tom Selleck were bachelors on the show. I wonder how many women ended up kicking themselves for passing over these promising bachelors.
Don’t be fooled, though. At times, although rare, the roles were reversed, and the men asked the questions with the women answering the questions. Notable female celebrities who were on the female panel answering questions included Farrah Fawcett and Teri Garr.
The Dating Game was, by all accounts, the premiere game show for single people. Following its broadcast, many other dating shows were created and produced, including Love Connection and Singled Out. Years later, a more “adult” version of The Dating Game was created when previously taboo subject matter was more tolerated.
Not everybody was sold on The Dating Game when it first came out for one reason or another; after all, it was admittedly a little edgy. It couldn’t have been all bad, though, since Baskin Robbins named an ice cream flavor after it!
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