The Match Game

The Match Game

Hold on--there was a Match Game way back in the '60s? Indeed. But this version of the wildly popular game show couldn't be more different from its '70s, '80s and '90s counterparts.

The Match Game (also known as "The MATCH GamE") debuted on New Year's Eve 1962 on NBC, "in living color."

Two teams of three contestants are pitted against each other (a celebrity "captain" with two contestants for a total of six people) to answer questions asked by host Gene Rayburn (a blank in his own right). The questions range along the lines of "Name a green vegetable" or "To a rich man, blankmeans nothing." Without consultation of the others, each member writes his/her answer down on a card with a crayon. The answers are then called for by Rayburn, and points are won. 25 points were won to a team if two players matched, and 50 points if the entire team matched. When one team scores 100+ points, each team splits $100+ among themselves, and they go into the Audience Match.

The "Audience Match" consists of the Secret No. 1 most popular answer to questions that were previously given to a 100-person audience (usually a studio audience). The questions are the same as the regular "Match Game" round. If one member gets the most popular answer, the team gets $50. If two get it right, $100 is awarded. And if all three get it right, then the team gets $150. The team then interchanges celebrities for a second question round.

In 1967, "The Telephone Match" was added. A home viewer was called and asked to match his answer to a question, with the response from a pre-selected audience member by a number up to 100-plus audience members. The two players split a cash jackpot for matching answers--$500 plus $100 for every day until claimed.

The MATCH GamE ended its run in 1969, but since NBC favored reusing videotapes (and since it was a live broadcast in the beginning), only eleven episodes of the 7-season period are known to exist. Two have been rerun on the Game Show Network (GSN) so far.

The original theme for the game show was "Swingin' Safari" by Bert Kaempfert, but starting in 1967, Score Productions added the now-classic "Match Game" theme (to the beat of "Swingin' Safari") to the opening credits.

Episode Info

Final: 3x17 -- Shari Lewis & Don Ameche (Dec/28/1964)

Gene RayburnGene Rayburn
As Host
Johnny OlsonJohnny Olson
voiced Announcer

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Classification: Game Show
Status: Canceled/Ended
Network: NBC ( USA)
Airs: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 04:00 pm
Runtime: 25 Minutes
Premiere: December 31, 1962
Ended: September 26, 1969
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