The amateur talent competition premiered in 1976 with Barris emceeing, a role he performed for four years. Barris was also a prolific producer, and his credits included “The Newlywed Game” and “The Dating Game.”
Comedian Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman, appeared multiple times on the show. He tweeted a tribute to Barris late Wednesday morning.
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) March 22, 2017
Reubens wrote: “RIP Chuck Barris, creator of The Gong Show. I appeared three times in his show The Dating Game, and FOURTEEN times on The Gong Show, many times in complete disguise. He helped support many artists by having them on The Gong Show. He was a wonderful, happy, funny guy. Rest In Peace, Chuck.”
“Wreck-It Ralph” and “Zootopia” director Rich Moore appeared on “The Gong Show” as a young child.
— Rich Moore (@_rich_moore) March 22, 2017
“I was a contestant on The Gong Show when I was 12. My act? I imitated Chuck Barris. He loved it,” Moore tweeted. “Thanks CB for the memories.”
Todd Bridges also met Barris as a child actor, while working on the drama, “Fish.”
Chuck Barris i knew you as a kid why i was working on Fish you were a person who treated me very nice RIP you will be missed
— Todd Bridges (@ToddBridges) March 22, 2017
“I knew you as a kid why i was working on Fish you were a person who treated me very nice,” Bridges recalled.
Bob Saget crossed paths with Barris several times throughout his comedy career.
Saget tweeted, “You were so kind to me- Not ‘cause I was also from Philly, but ‘cause our paths crossed happily over the years. Rest in Peace.”
Others grew inspired and entertained by Barris’ shows.
“Watched THE GONG SHOW every night when I was little,” tweeted “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Minions” screenwriter Brian Lynch. “Chuck Barris was weird and funny and cool.”
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) March 22, 2017
Echoed Kevin Smith, “Spent my childhood watching #chuckbarris and friends bang a Gong.”
“Thank you Chuck,” the writer/director added.
Chuck Barris Production ran multiple ads throughout the ’60s and ’70s. This full-page ad from 1967 showed just how prolific Barris was and how popular his shows were.