Survey says ... anniversary!

Ray Combs, Family Feud, Buzzr

America wasn't the only one celebrating a milestone this July 4!

242 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the beautiful country we know as the United States of America was born. With the signing of the Declaration of Independence at, what is now, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 13 individual states came together to form a nation family.

Speaking of the word family, fast forward 212 years later to July 4, 1988, a television show that puts family first was about to get a second go-around.

The anniversary of America is most likely the first milestone that comes to mind when thinking of July 4, but many game show fans know that July 4 also marks the anniversary of the network television return of Family Feud, with this year being the 30th.

One of today's biggest television crazes is classic game show reboots. ABC currently airs a number of them, including The $100,000 Pyramid, Match Game and To Tell The Truth. However, the 2010s isn't the only decade that had a game show reboot trend. Whether you realized it before or not, '80s television featured quite a number of game show revivals. Some include The $25,000 Pyramid, Hollywood Squares, High Rollers, Super Password and Card Sharks.

Brad Fact: The last original game show format Mark Goodson produced was the short-lived Trivia Trap with host Bob Eubanks from 1984 to 1985. All other game shows Mark Goodson produced afterward were revivals of his shows.

In 1988, after three years of a Family Feud-less network line-up, Mark Goodson decided that the survey needed to say some more. So, CBS brought back the fan-favorite game show, taking over The $25,000 Pyramid slot after a six-year run. For the most part, at the start, everything about the new Feud remained the same as the original run, including the game format, the set and the theme song. However, the one big change was the host.

The kissing bandit, Richard Dawson, hosted the original Family Feud for nine years from 1976 to 1985. When it was decided that Family Feud was making a return, the one person who Mark Goodson did not consider to host was Richard Dawson. Instead, Goodson went with a stand-up comedian and audience warm-up guy by the name of Ray Combs.

While Dawson's hosting attributes were dry humor and sex appeal, Combs had a completely different hosting style, using raw enthusiasm and boyish charm to win over the audience. While some might not consider him to be the number one answer to the question "who is the best host of Family Feud," he certainly deserves to be. Combs had a great wit about him and knew how to react to bad answers and contestant comments without overdoing it and putting most of the attention on himself. Plus, you can genuinely feel his excitement when a family won the game or when they won Fast Money.

In total, Combs hosted the CBS daytime Family Feud for five years from 1988 to 1993, including when the 30-minute show was extended to an hour in 1992 and renamed The Family Feud Challenge. In addition, just like his predecessor, Combs also hosted a syndicated version of the Feud from 1988 to 1994.

The premiere episode of Combs' Family Feud was perfect for a July 4 premiere date for several reasons. First, the winning family's main game total was 444 points, the newly-colored red set resembled the red of Old Glory, and the $5,000 "Fast Money" win offered a bang just like fireworks.

It may have been America's 242nd birthday this Fourth of July, but it was also the pearl anniversary of the second incarnation of a truly American game show institution. Happy 30th anniversary Ray Combs Family Feud.

 

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Bradley Clarke

Writing Intern