I love watching reruns of the Match Game. The show brings back some great childhood memories. Gene Rayburn was the best game show host of all times. He was excellent at turning an awkward situation into a hilarous moment.
The regulars would smoke during the show and were probably drinking as well. Which might have added to the good times they seemed to have. Richard Dawson was always on the bottom row, in the center. He also appeared as host on Family Feud. I remember watching the Feud with my Grandma Alice. She was always disgusted by the amount of germs Richard Dawson was spreading to the world by kissing all the female contestants on the mouth. (Grandma was a nurse). I always wondered if the other regular panel members had a secret hatred for Richard on the Match Game. He was always chosen for the Super Match and the written match and sometimes was pretty smug about it.
My favorite was Charles Nelson Reilly. I loved his laugh. When anyone would say anything controversial, he would say, “We are going to get letter.” He was also on one of my favorite Saturday morning shows, Lidsville. One thing that really made the show was the banter between Charles and Brett Sommers. Bret Sommers was married to Jack Klugman, famed for his role of Quincy, M.E., among other roles. She appeared with him in the Odd Couple. She was quite the flirt and loved to tease Gene Rayburn.
Through the years they had hundreds of different panelist. Many came on as reaccurring. Betty White, Fannie Flagg, Gary Burghoff, Patti Deutsch and Joyce Bulifant all made well over 100 appearances each. Most of the cast members have past on. It is bittersweet to watch this knowing that but their memory and humor will live on in reruns.