June 02, 2007 12:03 AM by Joe Blackmon
Charles Nelson Reilly, the celebrated stage, screen and television
star, will be honored by GSN on Saturday, June 2 for his work as one of
the most beloved celebrity game show panelists ever to grace the small
screen. In honor of Reilly’s work, GSN is devoting its programming from
9 AM to 7 PM ET on Saturday, June 2 to the best Reilly starring
episodes of “Match Game.” Immediately following the “Match Game”
marathon, GSN’s original documentary THE REAL MATCH GAME STORY: BEHIND
THE BLANK airs from 7 PM to 8 PM ET.
Additionally, on Sunday night (Monday morning) June 3, GSN will air two classic episodes of his early work on “What’s My Line?” from 1964 at 3:00 AM ET and “I’ve Got A Secret” from 1972 at 3:30 AM ET. Reilly appeared on “What’s My Line?” while he was on Broadway performing in Hello Dolly, marking one of his earliest game show appearances. On the “I’ve Got A Secret” episode, Reilly’s secret was that he was going to do some paint-by numbers art on a model who happened to be Janice Pennington, one of the original “The Price Is Right” models.
GSN’s Reilly “Match Game” marathon includes 20 episodes of the show originally broadcast between 1973 and 1982. Highlights from these episodes include several “fun” fights between Reilly and Brett Somers – one so bad that Rayburn had to separate them; an episode when he was dropped from the ceiling in a harness; one where he helped a contestant win a record amount and another in which he dressed in western garb. Some episodes will also feature him singing, dancing and performing impersonations.
After the marathon, GSN will air THE REAL MATCH GAME STORY: BEHIND THE BLANK, narrated by Jamie Farr. Interviewees include panelists Richard Dawson, Somers, Marcia Wallace, Betty White and Jimmie Walker; numerous staff members from the classic series and one of the last interviews given by the series’ legendary host, Rayburn.
Reilly, who died Friday of complications from pneumonia in Los Angeles, was a game show fixture and best known for this work on “Match Game.” Reilly’s style of zany humor was one of the secret ingredients to the success of the series. His unique acerbic wit perfectly complemented the other celebrities and host Rayburn, resulting in “Match Game’s” tremendous and enduring popularity.
Known for wearing ascots and toting pipes, Reilly’s appeal created great demand for him on game shows. In addition to “Match Game,” Reilly also appeared on “Hollywood Squares,” “To Tell The Truth,” “Body Language,” “Super Password,” among other hit series. At one point in his prolific career, Reilly made 27 game show appearances in one week, according to Paul Linke, who directed Reilly’s one-man show “Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly.”