Match Game '73-'79 (1973–1979, CBS)
In the summer of 1973, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman resurrected the show as Match Game '73 for CBS, with Rayburn returning as host and Olson returning as announcer. The year in the title was updated on the New Year's Eve broadcast for the next six years. The gameplay for this version had two solo contestants attempting to match the answers given by a six-celebrity panel. Richard Dawson was the first regular panelist. Due to CBS News coverage of the Watergate hearings, the network delayed the premiere one week from its slated date of June 25 to July 2.
The first week's panelists were Michael Landon, Vicki Lawrence, Jack Klugman, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson, and Anita Gillette. Rayburn reassured viewers of the first CBS show that "This is your old favorite, updated with more action, more money and as you can see, more celebrities." Dawson maintained his bottom center seat for his duration on the show.
The first few weeks of the show were somewhat different from the rest of the run. At first, many of the questions fit into the more bland and innocuous mold of the earlier seasons of the original series. In addition, many of the frequent panelists on the early episodes were not regulars later in the series, including Klugman, Arlene Francis, Bert Convy and Steve Allen, who was host of The Tonight Show when Rayburn served as announcer. (Convy would later be chosen as host of the show's 1990 revival before being diagnosed with a brain tumor which eventually took his life.)
However, the double entendre in the question "Johnny always put butter on his _____" marked a turning point in the questions on the show. Soon, the tone of Rayburn's questions changed notably, leaving behind the staid topics that The Match Game had first disposed of in 1963 for more risqué humor.
Famous celebrity panelists Brett Somers (Klugman's wife at the time) and Charles Nelson Reilly began as guest panelists on the program, with Somers brought in at the request of Klugman, who felt she would make a nice fit on the program. The chemistry between Somers and Reilly prompted Goodson-Todman and CBS to hire them as regular panelists; Somers, who occupied the top center seat, remained on the show until 1982, while Reilly (top right) continued appearing through the 1983–1984 and 1990–1991 revivals, with a brief break from 1974–1975 when Gary Burghoff, Nipsey Russell, and Rip Taylor substituted for him. Reilly was late for the taping of two episodes; Goodson filled in for him for the first few minutes of one, and announcer Johnny Olson did the same on the other.
Celebrity panelists appeared in week-long blocks, due to the show's production schedule. A number of celebrities, including Betty White, Dick Martin, Marcia Wallace, Bill Daily and Fannie Flagg, were semi-regulars, usually appearing several times a year.
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“He may travel who can subsist on the wild fruits and game of the most cultivated country.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)