When we were in high school — this is the late ’70’s and early ’80’s — the old-fashioned institution of the high school “talent show” was transformed into “Gong Shows,” based on the cheesy 1970’s TV hit by Jewfro pioneer Chuck Barris, now recycled, as all remotely serviceable Hollywood ideas are, for moderns. At Hightstown High School three teachers, usually crusty types, would make up the panel of judges and the likes of LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® would step up and do their things. This change must have made it possible for people to do their acts and perform but it placed an early post-modern cast of cynicism and negativity on the whole thing so it was still “cool” to have a talent show.
Of course, that was then. This is now:
A fundraiser for the Freehold Fire Department that was to have been modeled on the popular 1970s television talent show has been canceled due to a trademark ownership issue.
Firefighter Sue Ann Derkach was planning the Nov. 8 fundraiser to help defray the department’s operating expenses. But Derkach said this week that the show will not take place at the Park Avenue Elementary School.
Derkach said that after the event was publicized, she received a call from the owner of the show’s trademark and was informed that the fire department did not have permission to use the name “The Gong Show.” She said she was told that all references to the show must stop immediately.
In other words, their show was “gonged.” What a country!