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Gong Show – final episode

Cancellation, and the final episode

When NBC cenceled the Gong Show, they allowed Barris to continue the show for the rest of the contract, and Barris made no perceptible change in preparation for the finale.

On the final episode, staff member Larry Gotterer appeared as "Fenwick Gotterer" to host the show, after Chuck started the show doing a "Chuck's Fables" sketch. The rest of the show was done in sort of a way to explain the life of the show, and its cancellation. Barris managed to have the last word on the cancellation: he appeared as a contestant himself. Playing in a country music band called "The Hollywood Cowboys" with the house band's rhythm section, Barris sang Johnny Paycheck's Take This Job and Shove It, and even gave the camera a "middle finger salute" to accentuate his point.

The network censored the offending digit in the same way it handled offensive celebrity score cards: the word "OOPS!" superimposed over a still shot of the set. Barris was gonged by Jamie Farr. Gene Gene the Dancing Machine then came out after a few more skits, and did his famous dance. The rest of the cast, including staff members, people who participated, and even Jaye P. Morgan (who by then was banned from the daytime show) all joined in at the end to dance with him.

Gong continued in syndication for two years after NBC's daytime dismissal, often airing on weekends. Not surprisingly, with censors largely out of the picture, this evening version pushed the envelope even further, with local stations making the decision about whether the show would be suitable for local mores and taste. In all likelihood, this version was chiefly responsible for the show's cult following, since it usually reached a far larger audience than had been possible on daytime.


Rumor has it that Soupy Sales also used a similar "three finger salute" on his last show. As he held up three fingers he said something like "one finger is for the producer, one finger is for the director, and the middle finger is for NBC. He was promptly fired.


The Gong Show is on air again staring Dave Attell