Chuck Barris, the zany, crazy brilliant genius behind many of the 1970s funniest game shows, died this week at the age of 87.  His lasting television legacy has to be The Gong Show. 

As many already know, I was on the Gong Show when it first aired on NBC TV.  And I won the darn thing.  And that was the beginning of my 15 minutes of fame that have lasted 40 years.  I loved Chuck Barris, he was a funny yet also very serious little guy.  We talked several times over the years, the last time being about ten years ago when I interviewed him on my radio show about his book "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."  Even then, all those years later, he still remembered my winning Gong Show act as "The Shower Singer' and we laughed heartily about it.

Here are my memories of Chuck Barris and my winning appearance on The Gong Show along with photos of me doing my act!   R.I.P. Chuckie Baby!


TV host Chuck Barris about to introduce Big Chuck for his moment in the spotlight on the Gong Show!
My Gong Show act was singing in the shower (yup...I was buck!) and my song was "Bad Bad LeRoy Brown." They had brought the NBC men's room shower up and hooked it up with a garden hose.
I really belted out the song and then I saw my judges get up (Artie Johnson, Jamie Farr and Jaye P. Morgan). I thought they were heading to the Gong to get me out of there. I was wrong....
...they were heading to my shower to dance all around me! If you listen to my narration above...YOU KNOW WHAT JAYE. P. MORGAN SAID (I'm blushing).
When I got out of the shower they gave me a robe that said GONG SHOW on the back. Here I am with Chuck Barris waiting for my score. Notice I am holding the shower sandals they gave me to wear!
"And the winner is, all the way from Sidney, New York and with a perfect score....CHUCK D'IMPERIO!" Believe me, it was really all a blur by this point!
As the final credits roll, the other contestants came out to congratulate me, and Jerry Maren (one of the Lollipop Guild kids in the Wizard of Oz) gave me my winner's check. The hostess can be seen coming across the stage to give me my Gong Show trophy WHICH I STILL HAVE IN MY LIVING ROOM AT HOME!