We loved the Gong Show! Chuck Barris not only hosted The Gong Show, but he’s responsible for creating The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. Barris died of natural causes yesterday at his home in Palisades, N.Y. He was 87. In 1962, before his time in game shows, Barris wrote a popular pop song called “Palisades Park.” The tribute to the old amusement park in New Jersey was a hit for singer Freddy Cannon. Barris, a Philadelphia native, also put pen to paper in 1984 for his autobiography: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Biography. In it, he claimed to be an assassin for the CIA. The book was turned into a movie in 2002 and was a first-time directing gig for George Clooney. Perhaps the closest Barris got to working for the CIA was when he was hired by a TV network. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“After working various odd jobs, including traveling around the country selling teleprompters, Barris moved to New York and became an NBC page. He went through a management training program and took a sales job, but then the network fired everyone in the department.
“He then was hired by ABC, which offered him the dubious assignment of tailing Dick Clark, the young and popular host of TV’s American Bandstand, at Philadelphia station WFIL-TV. Barris’ task was to ascertain whether Clark was involved in the illegal practice of payola.
“It was so ridiculous. If I left at 6 o’clock, what’s to say he couldn’t be doing anything nefarious after 6 o’clock?” Barris said.
“Still, he wrote daily memos detailing the goings-on at American Bandstand for about a year, and his notes were presented before a House of Representatives subcommittee in Washington. Ultimately, Clark was absolved of any wrongdoing.”