Mill Creek Entertainment // 1978 // 759 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // February 24th, 2010
Get ready for fun and laughs...as your favorite stars battle for charity!
I wasn't even born yet when Family Feud hit the tube in 1976. For the record, I only watched the show during the late 1980s and early 1990s when the late Ron Combs was host. I enjoyed the show, even if it didn't match the brilliance of Jeopardy!, my vote for the greatest TV game show of all time. Revisiting Family Feud in its Richard Dawson heyday was a mostly amusing experience. Mill Creek Entertainment has cherry-picked 43 episodes, all containing celebrities who are playing for specific charities while also promoting their own shows. The million dollar question is if this set is worth picking up for Feud fans. Let's play and see!
First off, a few words about the game in general. Family Feud is another idea which sprung from the minds of producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman (The Price Is Right). Basically, the game pits two families against each other, naming popular responses to previously executed surveys. Example: if the question asks you to name something a girl would keep on a first date, you would guess things like "flowers" or "ticket stubs." If your team wins the primary round, you would then play for Big Money at the end. The final round consists of two members of the winning family naming five answers to more surveys. As long as you get 200 points -- a piece of cake to most contestants -- you win thousands of dollars.
The concept is somewhat original (for the time), yet entirely undemanding; as I alluded to earlier, practically all of the teams won the final round. Unlike Jeopardy!, you're never mentally challenged. The frustrating aspect is guessing certain things which should be on the list, failing to make the cut after 100 people respond. I even questioned at times if they were honest in the limited number of answers, as they should be more widely varied. Still, the game is ideal for the whole family, and the contestants on the show are not nearly as obnoxious or grating as the ones found on The Price Is Right or Wheel Of Fortune.
Mill Creek made a wise choice by including special "all-star" episodes for this set, as regular contestants attacking the same questions would quickly grow tiresome. All of the stars who play the Feud are doing it strictly for charity purposes, allowing them to relax and have some fun. That being said, unless you remember some of the actors, it's difficult to enjoy the show for nostalgia purposes -- the set's main drawing card. As for me, I've never seen an episode of Family, Eight Is Enough or Welcome Back Kotter, but I still recognized many of the actors. Precious few of them went on to bigger things, yet it's still mildly interesting to see some of them making fools of themselves. As Judge David Johnson noted in his review of The Best Of Match Game, it's actually compelling to see "which celebrity will crash and burn the worst!" My vote would go to Gordon Jump from WKRP In Cincinnati, who cites 12 as the age "most women fully mature."
There are some surprises among the celeb match-ups. A two-part episode is devoted to stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, including such veterans as Cesar Romero and even Mark Goodson himself. Another contestant is Keenan Wynn (The Absent Minded Professor), who was suffering from pancreatic cancer at the time; he died less than a year later. It's also great to see comic legend John Ritter and his fellow cast members from Three's Company (minus Suzanne Somers, unsurprisingly) battle rival shows like Soap and The Love Boat, kicking their ass in the process. Exercise guru Richard Simmons is hilarious, especially when he jumps up onto 7 ft basketball player Wilt Chamberlain for a hug after winning with his "rosebuds," including such beauties as Heather Locklear and Heather Thomas! My favorite of the stars, however, is the exceedingly adorable Quinn Cummings who, at the age of 10, got an Oscar nomination for her scene-stealing turn as Lucy in The Goodbye Girl. When Dawson asks her for a second guess at what police officers use to test drunk drivers, she replies "I don't know, I've never been drunk!"
As for Richard Dawson himself, this is the first time I've experienced him as a game-show host. The guy certainly has charm and humor to burn, but I found his approach to the ladies a little disturbing. Giving out flowers to all the female contestants is a little extreme, but he also expects kisses from all of them, whether they are willing to submit or not. These tendencies most likely inspired his self-deprecating turn in The Running Man, yet I wonder if they were also spoofed in the opening sequence of National Lampoon's European Vacation. Dawson's colorful persona may be well-remembered by some, but his antics have a sleazy aura about them. Maybe it's just me.
Since the episodes are all over 25 years old, don't expect top notch A/V quality. Colors are faded and pretty weak, with a generous amount of natural grain. Despite some hiss present in several episodes, the mono tracks are acceptable. Extras are limited to only a photo gallery, including 30 shots of retro Feud advertisements.
Survey says: NOT GUILTY!
Review content copyright © 2010 Christopher Kulik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 759 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery
* Wikipedia: Family Feud