17 April 2000 | dellt
"Survey says, Ray Combs is #1."
I have always thought that Ray Combs was the best host for "Family Feud" and I always will. Ray gave the show much more energy and excitement and he was always very funny. Anyway, this was the second incarnation of "Family Feud." It premiered on July 4th, 1988 on CBS with Ray Combs as host. The show was recorded in Studio 33, (now The Bob Barker Studio), at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California and remained very similar to the original version. The only really noticeable differences, (besides replacing Richard Dawson with Ray Combs), were color changes to the set and some minor revisions of props. On September 19th, 1988 a syndicated version of "Family Feud" premiered. This version was also hosted by Ray Combs. Both versions of the show remained very popular for the next four years. In 1992 the CBS daytime version expanded from thirty minutes to one hour. The "Bullseye" round was added to the mix and the show was renamed "Family Feud Challenge." "Bullseye" was also added to the half hour syndicated version a few months later and it was renamed "The New Family Feud." Sadly, the ratings began to drop around this time and the one hour CBS daytime "Family Feud Challenge" was ultimately cancelled in 1993. The syndicated half hour version of "The New Family Feud" continued for one year longer until mid 1994. After six great years of "Family Feud" with Ray Combs it was no more. In the fall of 1994 the syndicated version of "Family Feud" was completely overhauled to reflect a more modern look. The "Bullseye" round became the "Bankroll" round, the show was expanded from thirty minutes to one hour, (just like the CBS version was in 1992), and the set was completely renovated, but the biggest "shock" was that Richard Dawson was back as the show's host. (Why, oh why was Ray Combs fired?) Despite the producers' hopes to increase ratings by updating the set and bringing back Dawson, the show bombed and was cancelled in mid 1995. Although this version of Feud was okay to watch it was nowhere near as great as the 1988-1994 Ray Combs era. As I said before, the reason I think the Ray Combs version of "Family Feud" is the best is because Ray was so energetic and funny. He did some of the funniest things on that show. For example, whenever the first player got all 200 points by himself/herself in "Fast Money", Ray would bring the second player on stage, (after everyone had finished celebrating), and say something like, '... your partner only came up with 18 points. You need 182 points to win the cash.' Ray would then, (very seriously), proceed to read "joke questions" to the second player such as, 'There were three stooges. Name Curly's wife.' or 'Pick a number between 3 and 5.' Also, when contestants gave stupid answers or if it seemed that they were in a "daze" Ray would often, (very gently), hit that contestant over the head with his handheld cordless mic, (1990-1994 episodes only). Ray was a really great person and emcee who understood and followed the rules of the game, but also had a very good time along the way. He is deeply missed and "Family Feud" will never be the same without him. Ray, you were, (and still are), truly one of the best.