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But a number of actors, comedians, and fellow Groundlings members were semi-regulars on “Gong Show,” because Barris knew they would deliver, even if they didn’t win.Reubens didn’t spend much time with Barris behind the scenes because FCC rules bar off-camera fraternization between producers and contestants.“He was always friendly and funny with me,” Reubens said.
He was always looking down and not making eye contact.” Had the popular dating show performed background checks on their bachelors, they would have discovered that this “kind of good-looking but kind of creepy” guy had already spent three years in prison for raping and beating an eight-year-old girl (he’d done the same to a 13-year-old too), which landed him on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.
But sometimes a background check can’t even uncover the whole story.
In Rodney Alcala’s case, the whole story consisted of at least four prior murders that he hadn’t been definitively linked to yet.
As you can probably imagine, Cheryl Bradshaw’s rejection likely only fueled Alcala’s fire.
In an exclusive clip from the ID movie (above), Alcala tries to lure two women back to his home — even referencing his appearance on the show in an effort to impress them.
But the come-on doesn’t work, triggering a profane breakdown in private. Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
One was a shrimp burger cooker, which came with a gift certificate to buy shrimp burgers. Reubens also received multiple cans of green paint, which were used to paint the green room at the Groundlings’ Melrose Avenue theater.
“Gong Show” taped at the NBC studio complex in Burbank.
“You couldn’t talk to the judges and you had to be escorted if you had to go to the bathroom,” Reubens recalled.
But over time he became acquainted with Barris, and the two saw each other occasionally after Reubens’ career took off in the 1980s.
In the late 1970s, Chuck Barris was a patron of the arts to starving artists like Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman.