The $1.98 Beauty Show

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$1.98 Beauty Show
Genre Game show
Created by Chuck Barris
Presented by Rip Taylor
Narrated by Johnny Jacobs
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 78
Production
Executive producer(s) Chuck Barris
Producer(s) Paul Pompian
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Broadcast
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 4, 1978 (1978-09-04) – September 1980
Chronology
Related shows The Gong Show

The $1.98 Beauty Show is an American game show that aired in syndication from September 1978[1] to September 1980.

Hosted by Rip Taylor, the series is a parody of beauty contests, and featured six female contestants (including the occasional overweight ones, not-yet-famous Sandra Bernhard and actress Teresa Ganzel,[2] and on at least one occasion a male dressed in drag) competing for the title of "$1.98 Beauty Queen".

Chuck Barris created the series and was executive producer while Johnny Jacobs announced.


Rules[edit]

The show consists of three rounds, during which each contestant is judged by three celebrity panelists. These include Jaye P. Morgan, Jamie Farr, Steve Garvey, Louis Nye, Marty Allen, and The Unknown Comic (Murray Langston). Emcee Taylor introduces the contestants one at a time.

Round 2 features each contestant showcasing their "abilities". Round 3 is a swimsuit competition, in which emcee Taylor ushers the contenders on stage and announcer Jacobs cracks jokes about their vital statistics and hobbies.

At the end of each show, Taylor announces the "$1.98 Beauty of The Week" (sometimes the episode's ugliest contestant); that contestant is then presented with a tacky plastic crown, rotten vegetables as a bouquet, and the titular cash prize of $1.98, which Taylor dispenses from a coin holder on his belt.[3]

Music cues[edit]

Music cues used on this show include "Happy Days Are Here Again" (Taylor's theme song), "Oh You Beautiful Doll", and "Ain't She Sweet". In addition, Taylor serenades the winning contestant as a parody of Bert Parks having done the same on the Miss America Pageant.

The show's bandleader, Milton DeLugg, used all the same musicians from the band heard on The Gong Show, plus two additional saxophone players for the first season only. Although the band pretty much played it straight on the show, one sketch seen in the first season featured a contestant who played the harmonica so horribly, most of her airtime was given to closeups of DeLugg and the other musicians playing their hot jazz licks.

Background[edit]

The ridiculous format was Barris's very subtle way of mocking televised beauty contests in which the least attractive contestant often won the "beauty" prize. The announcer told the jokes while the comedian did the announcing and the three celebrity guests did not actually judge the contestants. The whole "contest" was fake because the outcome was previously arranged, as was noted in the introductory monologue by the announcer[4] and the fine print of the closing credits of each episode.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ $1.98 Beauty Show
  2. ^ Game Show Favorites
  3. ^ Genzlinger, Neil. "Test". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ $1.98 Beauty Show on YouTube
  5. ^ "1.98 Beauty Show w/host Rip Taylor Part 3". YouTube. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 

External links[edit]