Chuck Barris, the Bala Cynwyd-born and raised creator of games shows like The Gong Show and the Newlywed Game, passed away at the age of 87.
The locally raised TV icon, who graduated from Drexel in 1953, spoke to the Inquirer and Daily News on several occasions. Here are some things we learned from a deep dive into our archives.
...He was right.
In a 2003 interview with Gary Thomspon, Barris talked about his legacy:
"I think I'll go down being associated with 'The Gong Show,' which is in a way kind of sad," he said. "I think my legacy will be Chuck Barris, he finally got gonged. It will be on the tombstone."
Yeah, no one really liked that idea:
Barris had a late career resurgence when his 1984 memoir, Confessions of a Dangeous Mind: An Unauthorized Autobiography, was made into a 2002 movie directed by George Clooney.
But what inspired him to write the book? Getting booed at a Flyers game. He told the Inquirer in 2003:
"All my shows were canceled in one lump sum," says Barris, 73. "I made a movie called The Gong Show Movie that was a disaster. It came and went in three days. When I went to see it, the ticket-taker said to me, 'You're not going to stay for this one. ' He didn't even know who I was. But he was right - at a certain point people started to get up and leave in droves. "
"That weekend I went down to Philadelphia to see the Rangers play the Flyers. I was sitting with [Flyers owner] Ed Snider, hoping this game would get my mind off things.
"In the middle of the game, Ed puts up on the scoreboard 'Give a big Spectrum welcome to the host of The Gong Show, Chuck Barris. ' And 16,000 people start booing. . . . I couldn't believe it. I was shattered. "
...Where he was terrorized by his 80-year-old neighbor, as reported in the Daily News Tattle column. Here are some of the not-so-lovely things his neighbor Dorothea Weitzner said to Barris and his wife Mary:
Stu Bykofsky reported in his column that Senator Edward Kennedy hung out on Barris' boat in St. Tropez. In April, 1989, Byko talked to Barris about the boat, where he hung out with Sixers great Dr. J:
"When Julius Erving saw it, he had a fit," says Chuck. "I made him take off his sneaks before he got into the boat. He asked me where he should leave them. I told him he could leave them on the boat. They would act as tenders. "
...And Teddy Kennedy. In August, 1989, Byko wrote: