The Dating Game

The Dating Game Information

The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s. ABC dropped the show on July 6, 1973, but it continued in syndication for another year (1973-1974) as The New Dating Game. It was revived (also syndicated) as follows: 1978-1980, 1986-1989 and 1996-1999 (repeats of the last version appeared in the 1999-2000 season). For years it was almost always aired in tandem with another Barris production, The Newlywed Game, which premiered on ABC the following year. The show was a forerunner of a number of other shows themed in the same style.


Typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view; at the end of the questioning period, she would choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed with a man questioning three ladies; other times, a celebrity would question three players for a date for themselves or for a co-worker or a relative of theirs.

Before becoming famous, Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors appeared as contestants on the show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Other contestants who appeared before becoming famous included The Carpenters, Jackson Bostwick, Joanna Cameron, Andy Kaufman (who went under the pseudonym Baji Kimran), Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan from 2003-2010), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Alex Kozinski. Serial killer Rodney Alcala appeared on the show during his murder spree and after he had been convicted of rape in California. Some contestants appeared even after they were fairly well known, including a young Michael Jackson, Ron Howard, Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Sally Field, Richard Dawson, Jay North, and Paul Lynde.

One standard trademark was that at the end of each episode, the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers.

The Dating Game was hosted by Jim Lange from its debut on ABC until the late 1970s syndicated series went off the air. The 1986 revival was originally hosted by comedian Elaine Joyce, who was replaced by Jeff MacGregor after its first season. The 1996 series was originally hosted by Brad Sherwood, who was replaced by Chuck Woolery following a return to the series' original format.

Game play

Original version

Generally the bachelorette would ask questions written in advance on cards to each of the three hidden bachelors. The same question could be asked to multiple bachelors. This continued until time ran out. The bachelorette would make her choice based solely on the answers to her questions. Occasionally, the contestant was a bachelor who would ask questions to three bachelorettes. Certain kinds of questions were "off-limits", such as name, age, occupation, and income.


For the first season of the 1996 revival, The Dating Game used a different format. A notable change was that the prospective bachelor/bachelorette knew what the first names of his or her potential dates were at all times.

Instead of asking questions of their potential date, the bachelor/bachelorette was presented with two pun-laden statements, each pertaining to one of the potential dates. When chosen, a new statement replaced the old statement and the potential date explained the reason why that fact pertained to them. Play continued until time expired, after which the bachelor/bachelorette gave their choice.

In several weeks of episodes that aired at various times throughout the season, another format was used. This format saw the players choose a potential date based on how good they looked and another based on personality. To determine the "looks" portion, the bachelor/bachelorette observed their potential dates (another change not seen on any Dating Game series beforehand) for several seconds; the three players wore noise-cancelling headphones so they could not hear what the bachelor/bachelorette was saying about them and they identified by numbers. The statement round was used to determine the "personality" portion. After the game ended the bachelor/bachelorette chose one panelist based on looks and one based on personality, then was prompted to choose either of the two. In the case the bachelor/bachelorette chose the same person for both looks and personality, they won a cash prize of $500.

Episode status

The ABC daytime episodes are believed to have been erased after broadcast, as was the standard practice with network daytime programs prior to the late 1970s. However at least 25 daytime episodes survive, including one with John Ritter as the bachelor from 1967. GSN aired 23 daytime shows.

The remaining versions of the show, which were made for syndication, are assumed to exist in their entirety. The 1990s syndicated version is currently airing on GameTV in Canada.


Some of the celebrities that appeared on The Dating Game appeared as a bachelor or bachelorette before becoming famous or a special guest star include:

  • Willie Aames (1978)
  • Rodney Alcala, subsequently dubbed "The Dating Game Killer" (1978)
  • Famous Amos (1978)
  • Judd Apatow (1980s)
  • Desi Arnaz Jr. (1967)
  • Mary Arnold of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition (1972)
  • Bill Bixby (1968)
  • Danny Bonaduce (1972)
  • Jackson Bostwick (1968)
  • Joanna Cameron (Late 1960s)
  • Karen and Richard Carpenter (1970)
  • David Cassidy (1970)
  • Barrie Chase (1966)
  • Dick Clark (1973)
  • Jeremy Clyde (1966)
  • Ronald K.L. Collins (1967)
  • Brandon Cruz (1972)
  • Ann B. Davis (1970 and 1971)
  • Richard Dawson (1968)
  • Deep Purple (1968)
  • Cass Elliot (1973 or 1974)
  • Farrah Fawcett (1969)
  • Sally Field (1966)
  • Kathy Garver (1966, 1970 and 1971)
  • Maurice Gibb (1968)
  • Robin Gibb (1968)
  • Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan (1978)
  • Phil Hartman (1979)
  • Cheryl Hines (1997)
  • Ron Howard (1972)
  • Iron Butterfly (1969)
  • Michael Jackson (1972)
  • Sam J. Jones, "Flash Gordon" (1978)
  • Andy Kaufman (1978)
  • Murray Langston, as The Unknown Comic (1978)
  • Donna Loren (1967)
  • Paul Lynde (1968 and 1972)
  • Steve Martin (1968 and 1970)
  • Groucho Marx, as a prank on his daughter Melinda, who was Bachelorette #1 (1967)
  • Maureen McCormick (1971 and 1973)
  • Kathryn Minner, "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" (1966)
  • Jaye P. Morgan (1980)
  • Tom Netherton (1978)
  • Charlie O'Donnell (1987)
  • Butch Patrick (1972)
  • Vincent Price (1972)
  • H.R. Pufnstuf (1972)
  • Paul Reubens as Pee Wee Herman (1979)
  • Michael Richards (1967)
  • John Ritter (1967)
  • Bob Saget (1979 and 1980)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (1973)
  • Tom Selleck (1965 and 1967)
  • Suzanne Somers (1973)
  • The Standells (1968)
  • McLean Stevenson (1968)
  • Strawberry Alarm Clock (1968)
  • Rip Taylor (1973 and 1978)
  • Robert Vaughn (1966)
  • Jimmie Walker (1978)
  • Lindsay Wagner (1968)
  • Adam West (1966)
  • Barry Williams (1972)
  • Terry Williams of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition (1972)

Theme Music & Cues

The show used many popular music from its time ranging from Tijuana Brass music from the 1960s, to pop music used for celebrity guest & band appearances. For the first few episodes at the beginning of the ABC run, live music was provided by The Regents, a house band from Jack Martin"?s A.M-P.M. on La Cienega Blvd., unrelated to the 1959 band, The Regents, famous for their song Barbara Ann. Later on, during 1966, the show used recorded music, with the main theme provided by The Mariachi Brass, featuring trumpeter Chet Baker. The show also had music covers made by Skip Battin & The Group (1967, Aurora 159), & The Challengers (196?, Triumph 64).

The series started using several songs by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass as cues for the show, including:

  • "Spanish Flea" (music used to introduce the bachelor questioning the females)
  • "Whipped Cream" (music used to introduce the bachelorette questioning the males)
  • "Lollipops and Roses" (music used to meet the date)
Different pieces of music were also used during the time, after the interview portion, to think about choosing a date. Some musical pieces include:

  • "Ladyfingers" (Herb Alpert)
  • "Lemon Tree" (Herb Alpert)
Music used for guest appearances of celebrities choosing a date for themselves (or their daughter), or band appearances include:

  • "Live" (The Merry-Go-Round, used to open the show for their guest appearance)
  • "Close To You" (Karen Carpenter, used to open the show for her guest appearance)
  • "Midnight Confessions" (The Grassroots, used to open the show for their guest appearance)
  • "I Want To Be Where You Are" (Michael Jackson, used during his guest appearance)
  • "I Want You Back" (Michael Jackson, an instrumental version used during the prize description)
  • "Cheyenne" (Barry Williams, used during his guest appearance)
Other music cues used on the show include:

  • "Fantail" by Count Basie (music used when host Jim Lange introduces the three potential dates to the audience)
  • "Love Sickness" by The Trumpets Ole (a brief cue used when time for the interview portion is through)
  • "Boston Bust-Out" by Jimmy McGriff (music used before the date is introduced to their prize)
The show added a closing theme in 1973, with the revamped New Dating Game. The theme used music is called "Little Rosie". Many of the music, including this closing theme used during this show's run, was released on the 1973 LP record album Themes From TV Game Shows, produced by Chuck Barris. The show continued to use the 1966 theme as its opening theme until 1978, when the show went to all in-house music. The 1978 opening theme is found on the album's first track, and is credited to Chuck Barris & David Mook.

The later 1980s version used music composed by Milton DeLugg. Later versions featured a re-recording of the original theme by Steve Kaplan.

International Versions

Country Local Name Host Network Year Aired
Perfect Match Greg Evans
Cameron Daddo
Shelley Craft
Network Ten
Seven Network
Blind Date Greg Evans Network Ten 1991
Namoro na TV Silvio Santos Tupi
Lina Zlateva bTV
RTL Televizija
Kanal 2
Napakymppi (viihdeohjelma) Markus Similia (1985)
Kari Salmelainen (1985-2002)
Joanna Kantola(2001-2002)
Yle TV1
Yle TV2
Tournez Mange! velyne Leclercq
Simone Garnier
Fabienne gal
TF1 1985-1993
Sbastien Cauet 2009-2010
Herzblatt miscellaneous ARD 1987-2005
Herz ist Trumpf Stephen Lehmann Sat.1 1992-1993
RTL Klub
Channel 2 (Keshet)
Il gioco delle coppie Marco Predolin
Corrado Tedeschi
Giorgio Mastrota and Natalia Estrada
Italia 1
Canale 5
Rete 4
Randka w ciemno Jacek Kawalec
Tomasz Kammel
TVP1 1992-2005
Kanal A
Vivan los novios Andoni Ferreo Telecinco 1991-1994
Saklamba Nurseli diz Show TV 1992-1996
Blind Date Cilla Black ITV 1985-2003
The Dating Game
The New Dating Game
Jim Lange ABC
The All-New Dating Game Elaine Joyce
Jeff MacGregor
Syndication 1986-1987
The Dating Game Brad Sherwood
Chuck Woolery


In his first autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1988), Barris claimed that The Dating Game was a cover for his CIA activities, and was promoted by the CIA. However, his second memoir, The Game Show King: A Confession (1993), makes no mention of the CIA"?or, for that matter, his previous book; and a CIA spokesman has categorically denied that Barris ever worked for them in any capacity.

The show's popularity in the 1960s was the inspiration for an ice cream flavor by Baskin-Robbins called Dating Game. It was a pink ice cream with diced dates and butter toasted pecans.

Licensed Merchandise

Hasbro released three home games based on the original 1965 version from 1967-1968 Pressman released a single home game based on the 1986 version in 1987.

in 1968, A 45 rpm party record called The Dating Game Party Pak narrated by Jim Lange himself, packed together with postcard invitations, name tags and scorecards for six people to play.

In the late 1990s, Sony's website released an online version of The Dating Game.

A Video Slot Machine based on the original 1965 version featuring an animated Jim Lange was released by IGT in 2004. In both Nickel and quarter versions.

In March 2011, a new virtual version of The Dating Game was launched on Facebook, Twitter and other social media network sites. The game was developed by 3G Studios, under the licensed from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

See also

  • Blind Date
  • Perfect Match

External Resources

  • For online dating games.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Dating_Game" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



Page generated in 0.29215598106384 seconds