Chuck Barris is dead, but the scandalous ‘Popsicle Twins’ will live forever
10:05 am

Well, the CIA lost their greatest assassin today. Gong Show host Chuck Barris has died, aged 87.  Dumb but beautiful and entirely emblematic of the decade in which it flourished, The Gong Show was quintessential 1970s junk TV, a swirling, whirling dimestore cocktail of low-watt celebrity worship, vaudeville schmaltz, and punk ferocity. Half game-show, half freakshow, it allowed ordinary knuckleheads a chance to shine on national television while D-grade stars like Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, and Rip Taylor mocked them. It was like American Idol, except for that everyone was in on the joke. Lording over the whole chaotic enterprise was game-show impresario Barris, a bucket hat wearing goofball who could not care less if anybody won or if anybody died. It was so, so good, a riot of polyester, bubbles, desperation and abject failure. It made legitimate stars out of unlikely characters like Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and The Unknown Comic.

It was everything the 1970s promised and more.

‘Gong Show’ greatness: Gene Gene the Dancing Machine
Barris also created The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game and, according to his kooky autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (!), he ran his media empire while working as a spy-slash-assassin for the CIA. The CIA denied it, but of course they would.

Anyway, let us not mourn the man’s tragic passing, but celebrate his most towering achievement: the 1977 Gong Show appearance of “Have You Got A Nickel” AKA the Popsicle Twins. We could analyze it, but that’s not what Chuck would’ve wanted. All you really need to know is that sometime in 1977, The Gong Show featured 17-year-old twins eating orange popsicles on stage—that’s it—and the whole country almost had a heart attack.

Rest in peace, Chuck. You truly were a Dangerous Mind. Gong, but not forgotten…

Watch the Popsicle Twins after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre
10:05 am
John Peel’s Record Collection to become on-line interactive museum

John Peel’s record collection, described as “one of the most revered record collections in the world”, will soon be made available as part of an interactive online museum, funded by the BBC and the Arts Council. The John Peel Center for Creative Arts and its project partner Eye Film and Television have been granted funding for the project and given exclusive access by the family to Peel’s personal record collection, which includes over 25,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and many thousands of CDs.

Frank Prendergast of Eye Film and Television said in a press release:

“The idea is to digitally recreate John’s home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, whilst viewing Peel’s personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians.”

Sheila Ravenscroft, Peel’s wife and Patron of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts said:

“We’re very happy that we’ve finally found a way to make John’s amazing collection available to his fans, as he would have wanted. This project is only the beginning of something very exciting.”

The project will run from May to October across PCs, smartphones, tablets, internet connected TVs and will also be available as a red button, video on demand service via Freeview HD. Read the full press release here.

While we look forward to hearing Mr Peel’s fine collection of discs, here is a little something he made earlier, Rock Bottom, a short and horrifying music show on the worst records/songs ever performed on Top of the Pops. Made as part of the BBC’s TV Hell night in 1992, this show reveals the horrific truth that these ghastly records (Jimmy Osmond, The Wurzels, Black Lace) represent the public’s taste in popular music more than Peel’s favored Captain Beefeheart, Frank Zappa or even his beloved Undertones ever did. O, the horror, the horror.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Happy John Peel Day!

Via Louder Than War

Posted by Paul Gallagher
06:34 pm