Monday, May 28, 2007
Chales Nelson Reilly died.
That makes me sad. He was a fixture of my childhood--I loved him on Lidsville--and one of the most visible gay men on telly in the 70s. I loved game shows as a young'un--Match Game, Hollywood Squares, and The Gong Show were particular favorites. I didn't get the jokes, I never had an inkling why I liked CNR, Paul Lynde, Waylon Flowers and Madame or Jaye P. Morgan so much, but I did. I didn't enjoy those shows nearly as much when they weren't on the panels. Would anyone in their right mind prefer George Gobel or Kitty Carlisle?
When I was in grad school I was always threatening to write a series of essays about the gaying of America through game shows. I didn't recognize the panelists as gay (or myself at the time--I was barely in grade school) but I recognized that they were different and it appealed to me in a deep way. I could do without some of the camp trappings, I'll just chalk that up to a generational difference, but fundamentally they informed my sense of humor and my ideas of what's funny.
I think I'm going to check the Game Show Network and see if Match Game is on.