Dumb Dora was so dumb that she didn’t realize this week marks the 40th anniversary of Match Game‘s ’70s incarnation. That’s right: The game show that brought you Gene Rayburn’s Neanderthal posture, that funky think music, and the exploits of Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Richard Dawson and many more is 40 years old. It’s an irreplaceable treasure. There is no show like it, and I’m including other celebrity-dappled games like Hollywood Squares and Tattletales in that estimation.
Let’s celebrate with an old-fashioned countdown: the 10 best celebrities in Match Game
10. Gary Burghoff
Always the most cherished understudy in the ever-important Top Right chair, Burghoff was pleasant and game without being histrionic. Always on my Radar.
9. Elaine Joyce
Once and for all, the only Bottom Left-seated celebrity who could be both the ditzy blonde and a self-aware, naughty player too. She married Neil Simon, guys. There’s a knack for witty conversation there.
8. Marcia Wallace
If you know me well, you know I believe the most interesting seat on the Match Game celebrity panel is Bottom Right, because the point of that celebrity is to subvert Richard’s kinky misogynist streak. Marcia was always plucky and funny, and that nicely offset his troublesome weirdness.
7. Leslie Nielsen
I hate the Top Left chair. It’s always some bored older celebrity who doesn’t care, doesn’t want to be funny, and has absolutely nothing in common with Brett, who is killing it to his left. The exception here is Leslie, who was always unfazed but willing to play the effing game right.
6. Patti Deutsch
This is why Match Game rules: Patti Deutsch got to be a celebrity. Her harried, blank-eyed comic timing was some of the most subversive on the show, emanating a false naivete that reminds me of standup comedian Wendy Liebman.