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The $1.98 Beauty Show
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TV Series
    (September 4, 1978-September 1980)
    Aired in syndication
    Hosted by Rip Taylor
    Created by Chuck Barris
    Premise: Six women have their looks and talent judged by three celebrity panelists
    Its judges were the same C-list celebs who appeared on Barris' Gong Show.
    The judges were basically superfluous, since the outcome was decided before the show (as noted in the fine print of the closing credits).
    One critic's description of the typical line-up of contenders: 'There would be one bimbo-esque contestant in gobs of makeup and Farrah hair, one cute girl next door type who looked slightly embarrassed to be there, one foreign contestant trying to avoid mail-order bride status and a couple of spirited full-figure gals.'
    As promised in the title, in return for her public humiliation the winner got a mere $1.98, dispensed by Taylor from a coin holder on his belt.
    It let Rip Taylor 'sing' in each episode.
    Barris' defense of the show was, 'We don`t humiliate these women. We merely give them an arena in which they can humiliate themselves.'
    It actually had a long waiting list of would-be contestants.
    Rhonda Shear parlayed her victory on the show into a 'Playboy' spread and gig hosting 'USA Up All Night.'
    Some critics have praised it as a satire of beauty contests that exposed the vapidity of Miss America and other pageants.

Credit: C. Fishel


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