If you’re of a certain vintage–and long before the kids started referring to strange things as “a real gong show,” you’ll remember that there really was a The Gong Show, a weird Chuck Barris/NBC production back in the 70s and early 80s. It was reality weirdness at its best.
Everyone once in a random while, Barris would introduce stagehand Gene Patton–Gene Gene the Dancing Machine”–who would boogie across the stage to Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.” Depending on the quality of the other contestants, Gene’s appearance was sometimes the highlight of the show.
Gene died this past week at age 82. Let’s hope St. Peter didn’t give him the gong.