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Match answers with the stars..on your TV! Based on the classic TV game show from the 70's and 80's, Match Game DVD enables players to step back to a time of polyester and leisure suits and fill in the blanks with famous pseudo-celebrities from that era.
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Join host Gene Rayburn and his panel of wacky celebrity quests as you to try to match answers with the stars. Based on the classic TV game show from the 70's and 80's era (and #1 rated show on The Game Show Network), The Match Game DVD features hilarious answers from all your favorite celebrity panel stars from that era, including Betty White, Richard Dawson and of course Charles Nelson Reilly.

The Magnificent Marble Machine

by Billy Ingram

The Magnificent Marble Machine TV game show 1975Pinball - a genuine craze in the 1970s as the old-fashioned penny arcade machines adopted more exciting graphics and more sophisticated gameplay, luring young people by the millions to drop quarters into slots at bowling alleys, convenience stores, and pool halls all over America.

For added attraction, manufacturers based games on celebrities, fanciful concepts, and movies like Wizard, one of the most popular pinball games released by Bally in 1975, based on the film 'Tommy' starring Roger Daltry (from the rock band The Who). The back glass graphics on the table featured images of Daltry and his co-star Ann Margret.

Captain Fantastic, Elton John's alter ego for the album 'Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy', contained a cover of The Who's 'Pinball Wizard,' was amazingly popular as was the KISS themed player interface.

Pinball themes based on Vegas-style games of chance that aficionados will remember from the 1970s include Wild Card, Lucky Hand, 4 Square, Royal Flush, and Gold Strike.

The Magnificent Marble Machine TV game show  hosted by Art JamesSo it came to be that NBC scheduled a daytime game show in the summer of '75 - The Magnificent Marble Machine - featuring an enormous pinball machine measuring 20 feet high and 12 feet long that contestants (one a returning champion) paired with a celebrity got to play for big money after winning a round of general knowledge questions against a competing team.

Why didn't they just call it 'Pinball!'?

Produced by Merrill Heatter (Hollywood Squares, Gambit) and Bob Quigley, Art James ('The Who, What, or Where Game') was the host with Johnny Gilbert as the announcer.


The Magnificent Marble Machine TV game show 1975With a 60-second time limit for a chance at up to $50,000, around $250,000 in today's money, two contestants manned a flipper each. The ball is released at the top and cascades downward, each time it hits one of 7 bumpers, makes contact with noisemakers or travels over lights on the deck, cash or prizes like a trip or a new car are accumulated.

It was a very exciting half-hour, at least for this teenager on summer break.

Problem was, that darn machine kept breaking down, easily causing hours of delays and lots of extra editing time to create a cohesive program that was entertaining but also fit standards and practices put in place following the quiz show scandals of the 1950s (edits were generally a no-no).

If a team reached a target score after playing two balls (originally 15,000 points), out came the 'gold money ball' which earned $200 for each noisemaker and bumper. At some point in the series run the money ball increased to $500 for each bumper hit. After ten weeks the money ball play was dropped from the game.

In early 1976, with disappointing ratings, the show went on a 2-week hiatus to undergo a format change. Now two teams of two celebrities went head to head answering questions. When it came time for the pinball game, a contestant was selected from the studio audience to play alongside one of the winning celebrities.

The Magnificent Marble Machine had tremendous potential but, between the technological difficulties and the show being not at all interesting unless the pinball machine was in play for those very few minutes, it didn't stand a chance. Not to mention the horrible circusy theme music in the opening.

The last first-run episode aired March 12 with repeats airing until June 11.


The Magnificent Marble Machine

A brief clip from The Magnificent Marble Machine was seen in the 1979 film 'The China Syndrome' before the 'network' cut away for an emergency announcement.




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