Gene Patton, Gene Gene the Dancing Machine From ‘The Gong Show,’ Dies at 82
Gene Patton, the NBC stagehand in Burbank who stole the spotlight as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine on NBC’s wacky The Gong Show, died Monday, his family announced. He was 82.
Patton died in Pasadena, according to a spokeswoman at the local Woods-Valentine Mortuary. He had suffered from diabetes.
The Gong Show, dreamed up and hosted by producer Chuck Barris (The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game), aired on NBC in daytime from 1976-78 and then in syndication. Acts — most of them amateurish and just plain awful — auditioned for three celebrity judges, who banged a gong on stage to mercifully send the bad ones packing.
At a random moment during the game show, Barris would introduce Patton, and the curtain would part, bringing the shuffling stagehand with the painter’s cap onstage to the sounds of “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” a jazz tune made popular by Count Basie. His dance sent everyone on the set — Barris, the judges, the cameramen, the audience — into an uncontrollable boogie.