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11 Game Show Hosts and Their Musical Aspirations

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After legendary game show host Richard Dawson passed away last week, Gawker dug up a single Dawson released in 1967. Titled “Apples and Oranges,” the song was actually the B-side to another single called “His Children’s Parade.” Though dual careers as a game show host and singer/songwriter may seem a bit odd, it’s actually more common than you think. Here’s Dawson’s morbid single and 10 other game show hosts who dabbled in the music business.

1. As promised, here’s Richard Dawson’s “Apples and Oranges.”

2. Chuck Barris is certainly a multi-faceted guy.

Not only did he create The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game, host The Gong Show and serve as a CIA assassin (so he claims), Barris left his mark on the music industry. Among other things, he wrote the hit song “Palisades Park” for Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, who took it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962.

3. Steve Allen wrote more than 10,000 songs, including 350 in one week after making a bet with singer-songwriter Frankie Laine. He won a Best Jazz Composition Grammy in 1963 for “The Gravy Waltz,” but his most famous is probably “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” which Allen used as his own personal theme song for many years. Here’s Bobby Darin putting his spin on the tune:

4. Bob Eubanks, perhaps best known as the cheeky host of The Newlywed Game, also served as a promoter for both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, then later managed the country music careers of Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell and Marty Robbins.

5. A 19-year-old Mervyn Griffin kicked off a career in the entertainment industry by scoring a job as a singer on the radio. A few years later, he was offered a job touring with Freddy Martin’s orchestra, and in 1950, his version of “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” was in demand across the country. Merv’s charismastic television presence meant that he transitioned to talk show and game show hosting rather naturally; from there he built his empire and was eventually named the “richest Hollywood performer in history” by Forbes magazine in 1986.

Just because Merv became a television mainstay doesn’t mean he stopped composing, though. He once estimated that one of his little ditties earned him more than $70 million in royalties over the years; you’d recognize it as the Jeopardy! theme song.

Griffin returned to his roots in 2001 when he released an album called It’s Like a Dream, but it’s one of his early clips that I think will blow your mind (it blew mine):

6. In 1959, Wink Martindale’s spoken word “Deck of Cards” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to sell more than a million copies. Assuming you don’t have one of those million copies, you’re probably more familiar with Wink from his hosting duties on any of 19 game shows including Tic Tac Dough, The Joker’s Wild, Trivial Pursuit and Debt. Bonus trivia: Wink’s real name is Winston.

7. You probably could have guessed that Regis Philbin was once a singer based on how often he burst into song on Live! or various Miss America pageants over the years. He released his first album in 1968, hilariously titled It’s Time for Regis! It didn’t do very well, and his next release didn’t come until 2004’s When You’re Smiling.

8. Would you believe Love Connection host Chuck Woolery once had a band called The Avant-Garde and they had a hit called "Naturally Stoned"? The song made it into the top 40 but quickly fell into one-hit-wonder wasteland. The solo Woolery, however, had a couple of country songs chart in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

9. Alan Thicke is probably most famous for his role as Jason Seaver on Growing Pains, but he has actually contributed quite a bit from behind the camera as well. Just a few of the theme songs Thicke wrote or co-wrote: Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, The Joker’s Wild, Celebrity Sweepstakes, Blank Check and the original Wheel of Fortune song.

10. If you don’t consider Dancing With the Stars a game show, don’t worry: Carrie Ann Inaba is also hosting 1 vs. 100 on GSN. But the real revelation is that before Inaba was a host or a judge, and even before she was a Fly Girl with J.Lo on In Living Color in the early ‘90s, Inaba was a bonafide Japanese pop star. She talks about it a little bit here on Lopez Tonight.

11. John Davidson’s credits include That’s Incredible, The (New) $25,000 Pyramid, The New Hollywood Squares, nine albums, posing nude for Cosmopolitan in the '70s and wearing this boss tracksuit in 1990.

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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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6 East Coast Castles to Visit for a Fairy Tale Road Trip
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Lucy Quintanilla/iStock

Once the stuff of fairy tales and legends, a variety of former castles have been repurposed today as museums and event spaces. Enough of them dot the East Coast that you can plan a summer road trip to visit half a dozen in a week or two, starting in or near New York City. See our turrent-rich itinerary below.

STOP 1: BANNERMAN CASTLE // BEACON, NEW YORK

59 miles from New York City

The crumbling exterior of Bannerman Castle
Garrett Ziegler, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannerman Castle can be found on its very own island in the Hudson River. Although the castle has fallen into ruins, the crumbling shell adds visual interest to the stunning Hudson Highlands views, and can be visited via walking or boat tours from May to October. The man who built the castle, Scottish immigrant Frank Bannerman, accumulated a fortune shortly after the Civil War in his Brooklyn store known as Bannerman’s. He eventually built the Scottish-style castle as both a residence and a military weapons storehouse starting in 1901. The island remained in his family until 1967, when it was given to the Taconic Park Commission; two years later it was partially destroyed by a mysterious fire, which led to its ruined appearance.

STOP 2. GILLETTE CASTLE STATE PARK // EAST HADDAM, CONNECTICUT

116 miles from Beacon, New York

William Gillette was an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes, which may have something to do with where he got the idea to install a series of hidden mirrors in his castle, using them to watch guests coming and going. The unusual-looking stone structure was built starting in 1914 on a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette designed many of the castle’s interior features (which feature a secret room), and also installed a railroad on the property so he could take his guests for rides. When he died in 1937 without designating any heirs, his will forbade the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The castle is now managed by the State of Connecticut as Gillette Castle State Park.

STOP 3. BELCOURT CASTLE // NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

74 miles from East Haddam, Connecticut

The exterior of Belcourt castle
Jenna Rose Robbins, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Belcourt Castle for congressman and socialite Oliver Belmont in 1891. Hunt was known for his ornate style, having designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, but Belmont had some unusual requests. He was less interested in a building that would entertain people and more in one that would allow him to spend time with his horses—the entire first floor was designed around a carriage room and stables. Despite its grand scale, there was only one bedroom. Construction cost $3.2 million in 1894, a figure of approximately $80 million today. But around the time it was finished, Belmont was hospitalized following a mugging. It took an entire year before he saw his completed mansion.

STOP 4. HAMMOND CASTLE MUSEUM // GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

111 miles from Newport, Rhode Island

Part of the exterior of Hammond castle
Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built his medieval-style castle between 1926 and 1929 as both his home and a showcase for his historical artifacts. But Hammond was not only interested in recreating visions of the past; he also helped shape the future. The castle was home to the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Hammond produced over 400 patents and came up with the ideas for over 800 inventions, including remote control via radio waves—which earned him the title "the Father of Remote Control." Visitors can take a self-guided tour of many of the castle’s rooms, including the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, guest bedrooms, inventions exhibit room, library, and kitchens.

STOP 5. BOLDT CASTLE // ALEXANDRIA BAY, THOUSAND ISLANDS, NEW YORK

430 miles from Gloucester, Massachusetts

It's a long drive from Gloucester and only accessible by water, but it's worth it. The German-style castle on Heart Island was built in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, who created the extravagant structure as a summer dream home for his wife Louise. Sadly, she passed away just months before the place was completed. The heartbroken Boldt stopped construction, leaving the property empty for over 70 years. It's now in the midst of an extensive renovation, but the ballroom, library, and several bedrooms have been recreated, and the gardens feature thousands of plants.

STOP 6. FONTHILL CASTLE // DOYLESTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

327 miles from Alexandria Bay, New York

Part of the exterior of Fonthill castle

In the mood for more castles? Head south to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Fonthill Castle was the home of the early 20th century American archeologist, anthropologist, and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a man of many interests, including paleontology, tile-making, and architecture, and his interest in the latter led him to design Fonthill Castle as a place to display his colorful tile and print collection. The inspired home is notable for its Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and with 44 rooms, there's plenty of well-decorated nooks and crannies to explore.

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