The Gong Show’s Gene Gene The Dancing Machine Dies

Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, a regular in-house character on the zany, ridiculous quintessential slice of inane 1970s life game show The Gong Show, which was a brief and bizarre phenomenon in the annals of television, died in Pasadena, CA on Monday, according to the NY Daily News. He was 82.

The show regular — like The Unknown Comic on the show (who regularly told purposefully bad jokes with a cheap paper sack on his head, replete with badly cut out eye and mouth holes) — became iconic because of the sucked-you-in kind of surreal whimsy that the game show manifested in its heyday. The Gong Show was created by Chuck Barris, a deft creative producer who had already had massive success with similar prior programming like The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game, shows that exploited and celebrated in ribald and sometimes hilarious fashion the complexities of being in a relationship and not being in one, respectively.

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