Please note: This story includes a correction to information about the Arts Affaire special event with Bob Eubanks.
A lot of folks identify Bob Eubanks solely as host of TV’s iconic “The Newlywed Game” from 1960s and 1970s, as well as its many incarnations.
The show grew in popularity by coming into people’s homes every week and getting laughs from the PG-13 answers given by newlywed contestants to the show’s suggestive questions.
Now Mr. Eubanks is bringing an interactive, tongue-in-cheek version of the show as a part of his stage performance Nov. 23 at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts, 4132 E. Pecos Road in Gilbert. He’ll invite four couples from the audience to perform in the comical “Not So Newlywed Game,” which also will include funny clips from the original show.
Ticket prices for the show range from $21 to $34. They can be purchased online or by calling the HCPA box office at 480-279-7190. The box office is open 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Patrons also can purchase tickets for a special event in which they can meet and even have dinner with the TV celebrity. Individual tickets for the Arts Affaire at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts cost $50. They include a silent auction and tasting at 5:30 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m. A $150 VIP ticket also includes dinner with Mr. Eubanks from 5 to 6 p.m. Only 20 of these VIP tickets will be sold.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the HCPA Student Performance Program, which provides free and low-cost theatrical performances for school-age youth. Research shows that participation in the arts has a tremendous impact on the development of every child and helps to level the learning field across socio-economic boundaries, according to a press release.
“‘The Newlywed Show’ was one of TV’s first reality shows,” Mr. Eubanks said during a phone interview in April. “It was the first time we looked into people’s bedrooms. The network told me to say ‘making love’ but I wouldn’t. Instead I said ‘making whoopee’ and it took off.”
The original program shown to TV executives included comic actor Dom DeLuise, who was unknown at the time, and his wife. As the show evolved, its producer, Chuck Barris, realized the contestants represented a microcosm of society, Mr. Eubanks said, noting that Mr. Barris “figured out that the funniest people around are John and Mary Jones off the street.
“That’s what’s made the show a perennial favorite,” Mr. Eubanks said.
“The Not So Newlywed Game” continues to be well-received by audiences, he noted.
“It plays like gangbusters,” the showman said. “It’s just fun to go out and meet people and give them their 15 minutes on stage
At 75, Mr. Eubanks hasn’t slowed down. Instead, he constantly reinvents himself, he told the Independent during a phone interview this spring.
“I’m very blessed,” he said. “My theory is you have to take your strengths and reapply them and reinvent yourself. Some of my contemporaries wait for the phone to ring and if it doesn’t, they’re angry.”
In addition to touring with his stage show, Mr. Eubanks’ lengthy laundry list of projects includes producing a movie about a kids’ soccer team; it’s titled “The Good, the Bad and the Goalie.”
He’s also working on a show to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles singing group. Many people do not know that Mr. Eubanks produced the Fab Four’s first concerts in Southern California when they took America by storm in 1964 and their concerts for a couple years after, he said during the interview.
He remembered the group’s first concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
“It was a crazy time. When you’re doing something, you don’t always realize the impact,” he said.
To prepare for the event, Mr. Eubanks met with his planning group May 20 at the Bowl and has been talking to the remaining members of The Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, he said.
The retrospective will recreate that evening at the Bowl, and be followed by a festival of Beatles’ films, a dance and a convention.
He also is spontaneous. On a trip down Hollywood Boulevard, he noticed hundreds of people in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
“I got to thinking about putting a live game show next to Grauman’s and giving them a chance to do something,” Mr. Eubanks said. “We’re now actively working on it, a show where someone has a chance to win $100,000 or $15,000 a day.”
But the popular game show host, one of the most prolific in television, is a man of many talents. He also is a popular motivational speaker.
“I want everybody to be successful. That only creates more success for everyone else,” he said.
He attributes his positive, upbeat attitude to his sense of humor.
“Humor can take you through a crisis,” he said.
Politics drives him crazy, he said.
“No matter which side of the aisle, I don’t think we’re being represented. There was a time we could come together on an issue but I think it’s much more divisive today. I’ve almost quit watching the news, I can’t do anything about it,” he said.
The public’s obsession with electronic devices also can annoy him.
“We’re becoming isolationists,” he said. “We’re losing that ability to walk into a room and say, ‘I’ve got a great idea.’ I tell people their laptop will not visit them on their deathbeds. But I believe in my heart of hearts too much of anything is not good. You have to keep a balance.”
Looking back over his more than five decades in show business, Mr Eubanks appreciates the many opportunities that he has been presented with as well as the many he has made for himself.
“I’ve had a marvelous career,” he said.