The guy who gave us “The Dating Game”, “The Newlywed Game” and who hosted the madness of “The Gong Show” passed away this week. Chuck Barris died at his home in New York at the age of 87.
Gee, Chuck Berry…then Chuck Barris….I think if I was Chuck Norris, I’d go into hiding. But I digress. And quite well, I might add.
I’m diving into this particular topic this week because the majority of the population roaming the earth these days heard the news that Chuck Barris had died and immediately said, “Who?” or “The Dating what?”
I like to use this little corner of the Internet for my observations and perspective. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about getting older, it happens quickly. Too quickly. One day, my baby sitter is telling people that Tim hides behind the couch when everyone on the Dating Game blows a kiss to the camera at the end of the show. The next thing you know, the only people who even know what you’re talking about all have hints of grey in their hair.
Chuck Barris had a big impact on both the 1960s and my childhood. He was ground-breaking. Those of us around back then watched him put “reality” on TV, although somewhat controlled. We heard what people thought in real-life situations. Both the dating world and the married world. Or, if you were doing both, you had to commit to watching TV two nights a week. “The Gong Show” was basically “America’s Got Talent”, with a gong instead of buzzers. One day, I plan to forgive Chuck for The Unknown Comic. It’s still too soon.
But for all the popularity and all the top-of-mindness that Chuck and his shows enjoyed, let the wheels of time spin away and it’s not long until you’re mostly forgotten. I don’t say this in a morbid, “we’re all going to get old and die someday” way. Over the years, I’ve been quite the student of what had happened in my parents’ generation, my own and my kids. I know songs and trends and news events that came from decades before I was born. I paid attention to what was going on in my kids’ world, as they grew up. As long as the Ginko keeps working, I enjoy being a living World Book encyclopedia of knowledge. Yes, some useless, but it’s OK to know things.
In a current, fast-paced, disposable-knowledge society, people observe, filter the information and then hang on to it until they dispose of that knowledge and move on to what’s next. That’s what allows so much recycling of ideas. The Bachelor and Bachelorette are really just dramatic retreads of the Dating Game. Wait a generation and you can re-do a classic, like Beauty & The Beast. Think about it–how many Spidermen or Batmen have there been, just in your lifetime?
I’ve gone down this road to remind you that, some day, you’re going to be talking to a friend of the same age, where the conversation begins with, “Remember the Kardashians and how they were everywhere and we just couldn’t get away from them?”
And someone standing nearby, 20 years younger, will utter that word that makes you realize you are officially old.
All to say, enjoy each day. Try to constantly remind yourself: the most important thing you have is right now.