GULFPORT -- Game show fans both young and young at heart from across the Coast will have a chance to put their skills to the test when "America's Greatest Game Shows Live" hits the Island View Casino in Gulfport on Saturday and Sunday. The shows start at 8 p.m. both nights and tickets are $39.
Hosting the two-day event will be Bob Eubanks, who will be bringing 50 years of game show experience to Gulfport.
A welcome return
"This is our second year to play the Island View," Eubanks said. "We do the show live, and we use about 42 contestants on the stage at every show. Everyone has an equal chance to be a contestant and everyone that gets on the stage wins a prize."
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Eubanks said the show incorporates nine game shows that include favorites such as "Name That Tune," "Card Sharks" and "Dance Fever."
"It's a lot of fun," he said. "It's the most fun I've had in show business and the end of every show, someone has the chance to win $100,000. It's a real kick in the pants -- I get such a joy out of watching it."
And yes, the show features the beloved "Newlywed Game," the show Eubanks hosted in various incarnations over five decades.
Created by "Gong Show" host Chuck Barris, the show featured married couples answering questions about their relationship to see how well they knew each other. The show started on ABC in 1966.
Making it his own
"Chuck truly let me grow with the show," he said. "I think in today's market place I would have been fired within the first week. I would walk into a dressing room and there would be four couples ready to bear it all for a toaster and I had nothing -- but I figured it out, man."
Eubanks said that one of the first things he had to do was learn how to make people talk. He said he learned this skill from one of TV's greatest -- "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson.
"I learned so much about what I did from John," he said. "He could say a million things with one expression."
He said also learned to change his direction when interviewing the coupled before the show.
"People don't want to know about you, they want you to know about them," Eubanks said. "Once I got that in my head, the show changed and it became funny."
Although it was considered somewhat racy during its heyday, Eubanks said the show was very tame by today's standards.
"It was one of the original reality shows and it was the first time we went inside the bedroom," he said.
The show's family-friendly nature also caused Eubanks to create his catch phrase -- "makin' whoopee."
"I just didn't want to say 'making love' because I didn't want that to have to be explained to children," he said. "So, we got creative and came up with 'whoopee.'"
Eubanks, 78, said he looks forward to coming to Coast whenever his schedule allows.
"I love the Gulf Coast," he said. "We have a great time in Mississippi and the people are so great. I love the South and I love the people of the South."