Happy birthday to “The Gong Show” mainstay Eugene Patton. Gene Gene The Dancing Machine was born on this day back in 1932. Patton would have been 89-years-old today. But sadly, the entertainer passed away in May 2015.
Celebrate Patton’s birthday by taking a look at some of his iconic dance moves. They didn’t call him the Dancing Machine for nothing. The entertainer knew how to bust a move and captivated audiences back in the 1970s.
Patton made various appearances as a stagehand on “The Gong Show” during the 1970s. That show was a comedy talent search game show. It featured performers of various talents and creeds trying to win the hearts of the judges and America.
Patton often entertained audiences during the commercial breaks. But he soon became part of the on-air proceeds as well. Host Chuck Barris enjoyed Patton’s routine that he invited him to perform for TV audiences as well. Soon Patton’s popularity grew even bigger. He became a recurring act on the show during its run and even occasionally appeared as a judge.
Patton always wore the same outfit on the show, which included a flat cap, bell-bottoms, and a green sweater jacket. The show often treated Patton as if he had busted onto the show without warning. Patton kept up the act for the rest of the show until it got canceled in 1978.
Gene Patton After ‘The Gong Show’
He then appeared on a syndicated version, but his appearances were less frequent.
The reason was KTLA picked up the show from NBC. But Patton remained an NBC employee, which made appearing on the show difficult. “The Gong Show” ended up canceled once again in 1980. That same year, Patton moved onto “The Gong Show Movie” as well. During the film, he had dialogue and appeared as the Dancing Machine once again.
So what happened to Patton after “The Gong Show?”
He worked as a stagehand for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and later appeared during two of the show’s episodes. He also later appeared on the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” where he resurrected his dance moves. Patton appeared alongside Barris for the episode. Later, he appeared as a cameo in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a biopic about Barris’ life.
Unfortunately, Patton’s dancing career came to an end. In 2001, the entertainer had both of his legs amputated. He lost his legs due to complications related to diabetes. As a result, Patton wore prostheses and used a cane. Ultimately, he passed away from complications related to the disease in 2015. But his dance moves live on.