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Johnny Pierre Goodwill Hendrix Olson the 3rd, or better known as Johnny Olson or Sir John, was a master of announcing and a beast at calling down people's names on many game shows in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. He was born in 1910 in Announcer Springs, Minnesota. He, along with former announcer Gene Wood, both enjoyed speaking into microphones for various programs on CBS and getting paid a shit load for it. They seldom get on camera, and had a mere chance if they beg the host to do so. Johnny was long-time announcer for the Match Game and The Price Is Right.
Early life and career
Growing up on a farm in Northen Minnesota, Olson had always dreamed about being famous. At the age of 8, he begged his dad (Papa John Olson, Sr; 1457-1953) to take him to see Hollywood, California. Papa John did not like the idea, because it was rather expensive to travel during that time. A few years later when Johnny was 11, he asked his mom the same question. She loved the idea and did not tell her husband that she was making arrangements to visit California. Unfortunately, Johnny's mom could not book a single flight, because every person in the country reserved a flight of their own, due to the sudden popularity of commercial flights. Johnny had to wait until he was 28 years old to venture over to California, by plane. By then, his dad had a successful job and bought stocks in Macy's, so he was wealthier than ever. The year was 1938, where Johnny, his mom and dad and their pet snake Chowder, finally managed to visit Hollywood, California. Flying with Delta Airlines, they arrived at LAX airport late at night. A planned 3 day stay in Hollywood, Johnny's dad prompted the family to not overstay their welcome. Johnny crossed some of the things off his Things-To-Do-In-Hollywood list, leaving just 2 things left. The first thing he wanted to do was to head over to Universal Studios and see how they make movies. The second thing on the list was to get Lucille Ball's autograph. Considering Lucille was nowhere to be found, he decided to check out Universal. While on a tour of the studio, Johnny noticed the announcer giving the in's and outs of the place. Johnny said to his mom, "Hey, that seems fun." Shortly after, Johnny was inspired to become an announcer for a television show. Growing up watching many television shows (in the living room; the Olson family had 1 TV and could not afford another), his favorite were game shows. He enjoyed What's My Line and To Tell the Truth. After a bunch of schooling at universities back in his hometown, he finally acquired his specialized degrees in broadcasting and communications. In the 1940s, he landed his first big job as a radio announcer for a local radio station in Minnesota. Then in the 1950s, he moved permanently to California, where he became an icon for announcing and eventually earned the nickname, Sir John.
Success on Match Game
Olson was most notable for announcing episodes of Match Game. Ever since the show first made it to air, he said in a private interview, "I can't believe they thought I was good enough to be apart of the Match Game team. I tried out many times to work on other game shows, but they never seemed to appreciate my announcing skills. Then, I struck gold when I went down to CBS Television City for the premiere of the new and improved Match Game in 1973. The people loved me and thought my voice sounded like Charles Bronson from The Dirty Dozen film."
What they do behind the scenes
It is expected that all people who are in show business will follow all rules and regulations, with regard to the network they work for. Well, Sir John hauled ass the best he could, but there were times that he felt overworked and sore, particularly in the 1970s. He was the announcer for Match Game for an odd number of years. After tapings of the show, he and Richard Dawson would snoop around Brett Somers' dressing room, trying to find various items that they would enjoy. Brett always had a bad habit of leaving 20 dollar bills on the table. As the immature "children" they were, both Richard and Johnny stole the money and replaced it with fake dollar bills. One time they entered Gene Rayburn's dressing room and stole his lunch. They also disorganized his wardrobe, leaving only one suit and two pairs of socks. Gene didn't notice a thing.
In 1977, Johnny slashed Mark Goodson's tires in the parking lot, because he was parked in a red zone.
In 1979, Johnny was caught making whoopee with Elaine Joyce.
Johnny Olson appeared in many commercials in Europe, including a 1980 ad for Trojan Condoms. He made $59 that day after the shooting of the commercial. In total, he made $800 from making commercials across Eastern Europe. In 1982, he was fed up and never wanted to be in a commercial again. By 1984, he was diagnosed with Announcer-Lifestruck Syndrome. This disease is common with television announcers, whereas Gene Wood also had this illness and died as a result from it.
In October 1985, Johhny Olson died from being in bed too much. He was bedridden for almost a year, doing jack shit. A memorial ceremony was held in August 1986, where former game show celebrities attended, such as Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly, Richard Dawson, Betty White, Bob Barker, Drew Carey, Pat Sajak, Chuck Woolery, Fannie Flagg, Burt Convey, and Donny Osmond.