Yesterday, the LA Times ran an obituary for Ira Skutch who died March 16 at 88. Skutch was a television producer and director in the early, early days of the medium, but is most known for being the producer of Match Game.
Screen grab from the Match Game Wallpaper Factory.
I watched Match Game growing up. In fact, some of my earliest memories of TV as far back as elementary school are of Gene Rayburn, Brett Somers, and a bright orange set. I regard it as one of the main influences on my sense of humor (which, to anyone who knows me, explains a lot).
I was able to tell Mr. Skutch that in person around 10 years ago. At the time, I was collecting autographs of game show hosts, announcers, and panelists. Wanting more producers to sign my autograph book, I looked up Ira Skutch (it was listed in the white pages) and gave him a call at home. A few days later, I found myself sitting in his small office in Encino. Long retired, he still kept an office, and had written a number of books about his time in television.
He was very gracious and he signed my Game Show Encyclopedia, as well as my copy of his memoir. I don’t think many people had read it, and I got the impression that not many people came by the office either. We chatted for about a half hour and he answered all my questions about Match Game.
A few months later, he came out with a new book—this time a novel—about people working in the early days of television. He was holding a reading and signing at a bookstore not far from my office and so I headed over there after work to say hello again. Most of the people there looked like his friends from way back. Somehow I kind of stood out, which might be why he remembered me.
The Archive of American Television features an extensive interview with him.
Several of his books are available at Amazon.com and are really fun reads, especially if you’re interested in 1950’s television.
It’s a cliché to say he was a really nice guy to meet, but he was. May he rest in _____.