Match Game ’79 – with Director Commentary (Sorta)

The recording below was reportedly made by Ray Angona, who was Technical Director on Match Game during its heydey 1970s run. During the taping of this show, Angona was in the control room, next to the show’s director, Marc Breslow, fingers at the ready to click whichever button would bring up the specific camera Breslow called for at any moment. (“Ready one… take one!”).  For anyone who’s ever wondered what a television director actually does, this should shed some light on the subject.

In between calling for the needed camera, Breslow also had the task of instructing his cameramen where next to move on stage in anticipation of a shot he’d want five seconds down the road. On top of that, Breslow needed to follow along with the conversation and antics of all the participants on stage, especially host Gene Rayburn and regular panelists Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers, who were constantly setting each other up for a joke. Miss the celeb who delivers the punchline and the entire rhythm of the bit is totally lost.

Having never been either a director or a technical director, I’ll have to only assume that a nearly psychic connection between the director and the TD would go a long way to capturing the sharpest show possible. Breslow and Angona clearly had each other’s numbers.

Check out the two videos below.

First is the episode as it aired on CBS. After that, you’ll see the epiosde “live” as it was actually being shot, with the addition of the director calling shots and delivering camera instructions over headset.  The only major difference between the two is the amount of “think time” in the aired episode – that’s the amount of time it actually took the celebrity panel of six to come up with their answers after hearing Gene read the story with a “blank” needing to be filled.

Match Game was a half hour show, and was actually shot in that amount of time, with only minor snips needed in editing (an off-color remark, the thinning down of “think time,” eliminating any technical gaffes).  With this shooting rate, plenty of time was left for wardrobe changes and meals, and an entire week’s worth of episodes were shot in a single day.   As a kid, I always assumed the celebrities came to work each day to shoot one show.  What a life I thought that was!

Enjoy! And to any of my director friends out there, if there’s anything you’d like to add, I welcome your thoughts!

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