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But he does read the paper, in particular the articles that are once again being written about him, and he still cringes at the phrase "king of schlock." He is only slightly bothered that the cultural hand-wringing over his shows has been made moot by the Gong Show-izing of television. "The moral is, Hang in there because things are going to change," he says. Then he rethinks. "I tried to write an epilogue, and I came up empty. The only moral I came up with is, There is no moral."
So he keeps going, an actor in his own life, living with the significantly younger wife he married three years ago after meeting her on a blind date. And he goes to the Friars Club, where a door has his name and a star on it, even though it's the door to the manager's closet. In the movie, he appears for the last few seconds, talking directly to the camera: "I came up with a new game-show idea recently. It's called The Old Game. You got three old guys with loaded guns onstage. They look back at their lives, see who they were, what they accomplished, how close they came to realizing their dreams. The winner is the one who doesn't blow his brains out. He gets a refrigerator."
"I was just so happy that people might think I wrote that line," Barris says. When asked if he feels that way--that his life was ultimately one of wasted opportunity, of empty hucksterism signifying nothing--he doesn't pause: "Are you kidding? The Gong Show was the four best years of my life."