Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Land of the Lost TV Series #3: Love Connection

On this Valentine's Day, I thought we'd take a look back at one of my favorite daytime shows of the 80s and 90s, Love Connection, the show where "old fashioned matchmaking meets modern technology." Love Connection was the 80s' answer to the 60s' hit The Dating Game. Where The Dating Game focused on the matching of couples and leaving it at that, Love Connection recounted what actually went on during a date, often making for a more interesting and hilarious show.

Hosted by the dashing Chuck Woolery (who, let's face it, probably had more of the single women on the show drooling over him than the male contestants they had to pick from), Love Connection would bring out a contestant onto the stage who was single or divorced, and show the audience video clips of three possible matches that the guest had previously reviewed (in this case, "modern technology" meant video dating.) The live studio audience would then vote on which of the three potential dates the contestant should go out with. Woolery would reveal which person the contestant actually chose, and that person would come on the screen to help provide a recap of the date. If the date didn't go well, the contestant had the option of going out with the person the audience chose, if they did indeed make a different pick.

You never knew when sparks were going to fly between the couple, but you can probably guess which type of date made for the most entertaining episodes: the bad ones. More often than not, cupid's bow missed the target. I'll never forget the Czechoslovakian guy with a greasy looking combover and turtleneck who thought he was the Eastern European Don Juan. Part of the show's charm, however, is that it featured real people (mostly in their 20s, but occasionally singles in their 40s or older would get a shot at love.) The fact that the show was watched by millions of people didn't stop guests from openly bashing their dates on national television, as in the case of this mullet wearing dude in this particular clip below. It truly is a treat to watch 80s clips of the show, to think that some of the hair and clothing styles actually turned people on. 


Not every match-up on the show was a failure. According to Woolery, there were a total of 29 marriages, 8 engagements, and 15 children attributed to Love Connection by 1993. Keep in mind nearly 22,000 couples had met through the show by this point, so that's not the most impressive ROI! Here's one of those couples who actually did walk down the aisle:



Love Connection originally ran from 1983-1994. In 1998, the show returned with a new host, Pat Bullard, and this time allowed viewers to help vote for a contestant's date online. The new version of the show was short-lived, however.

I think what Love Connection proved is that love is not always easy to find, and there's no easy formula to making a match. But compared to cheesy fake dating shows like The Bachelor? I'd take Love Connection anytime.

7 comments:

Sassy Lassies Vintage Life said...

I completely forgot about this show. Thanks for the memory.

Teena in Toronto said...

It was a great show in its day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Amanda By Night said...

OMG I wish I thought to write about this at my blog. I adore this show. What a great Valentine theme!

I adored Chuck Woolery and I loved when he'd get all uncomfortable. He was so funny and genuine (and yes, totally dashing).

A few years ago they re-ran The Love Connection on The Game Show Network and I got a few episodes on tape. It's one of those programs that always makes a sad day a lot better.

Great stuff. Thanks!

Surly Scott said...

Yup, I liked that show. Thanks for reminding me of past TV cheese.

guystwart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JZ said...

You may not know it but Chuck Woolery was a momentary rock star. He was one half of the duo The Avant Garde. Their single "Naturally Stoned" hit No. 40 on Billboard in 1968. More info at the first link below, the second is the actual song.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Avant-Garde

http://youtu.be/Qi3V569WwEY

Pam@GoRetro said...

Thanks everyone for the comments! I miss this show.

JZ--thanks for the tip on Chuck Woolery's background...I'll have to check that out!

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