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Alice Cooper loses his head & Danny Elfman (with Oingo Boingo) loses his mind on ‘The Gong Show’

Alice Cooper, the late Chuck Barris, and a devilish Danny Elfman.
Like everyone else of a certain age, I spent time this week mourning the loss of Chuck Barris, the one-of-a-kind game show king and the host of often questionable “talent” competition The Gong Show. I was old enough during the show’s run in the late 70s to never want to miss Barris’ antics, as well as the never-ending parade of hopeful weirdos who flocked to the show. If you’re young enough to be unfamiliar with The Gong Show, the best case scenario was that your act didn’t get “gonged” before you were done. Worst case scenario you got frantically “gang-gonged” by all three judges, but still got to fly your freak flag high to much of America. The prize for not getting gonged and coming away with the highest collective score? $516.32.

As I was busy being nostalgic watching a few vintage clips from the show, I came across a couple worth sharing. One features Alice Cooper (who called Barris one of his “favorite people in the world”) serenading him with “Goin’ Out of My Head” while stuck in his trusty guillotine. The other is a wildly out-of-control performance by cinema maestro Danny Elfman back in his Oingo Boingo days who at the time were still called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Elfman and Oingo Boingo’s antics on stage were judged by none other than Gong Show regular Buddy Hackett, a solo Shari Lewis (Lambchop must have had the night off), and actor Bill Bixby of Incredible Hulk fame. Apparently, they loved what they saw as the Mystic Knights won the contest that episode.

Watch Alice Cooper and a young Danny Elfman on ‘The Gong Show’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb
11:51 am
Pee-wee Herman and pal strut their stuff as ‘Suave & Debonair’ on ‘The Gong Show,’ 1979
02:44 pm

Paul Reubens invented his primary character Pee-wee Herman one night in 1977 while he was performing with The Groundlings. Reubens was having trouble remembering lines for the sketches, so he developed a character who was funny in a free-floating way that wasn’t dependent on dialogue. In Prime Time, Prime Movers: From I Love Lucy to L.A. Law—America’s Greatest TV Shows and the People Who Created Them, David Marc and Robert J. Thompson claim that The Gong Show represented Pee-wee’s first appearance on national television, but I’m actually not sure they mean Reubens or the Pee-wee character.

According to the NNDB website, Reubens “loved” The Gong Show and appeared on it fifteen times as various characters. On this occasion Reubens and longtime collaborator John Paragon were playing a silly dancing duo called “Suave & Debonair.” Paragon later played Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

How do they dance on their toes like that??

via Televandalist

Posted by Martin Schneider
02:44 pm
Punk rocks ‘The Gong Show’ 1978

Static Cling get gonged on The Gong Show some time in 1978.

Status Cling wasn’t the band’s real name. It was The Barf and they were three skateboard punks from Southern California. Apparently they recorded an album’s worth of material but I can’t find any of it anywhere.

This reminds me a bit of The Dickies and Circle Jerks in Captain Sensible drag.

Oingo Boingo on The Gong Show after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell
08:54 pm
The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo on ‘The Gong Show,’ 1976

Before they shortened their name and became a Halloween-loving ska octet called Oingo Boingo, movie maestro Danny Elfman and his brother Richard Elfman were the leaders of the sprawling weirdo performance art/musical troupe, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Formed in early 70s Los Angeles, here’s a look at what their act back then was like, with this 1976 appearance on The Gong Show.

Richard Elfman is in the rocket, and Danny is playing the trombone. The celebrity judges are Buddy Hackett, Shari Lewis (sans Lampchop, sadly) and “Mr. Eddie’s father” and future Bruce Banner, Bill Bixby. They won that episode, receiving 24 points out of a possible 30, without getting gonged. You’ll recognize many of the faces here from Richard Elfman’s cult classic, Forbidden Zone.

Thank you, Danae Na Val Campbell!

Posted by Richard Metzger
04:56 pm