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Six years after launching their first game show Video Village, Merrill
Heatter and Bob Quigley came up with a show that would eventually be
the best comedy game show of all-time, Hollywood Squares.
The game was really simple since it was based on tic-tac-toe. But what made the show stand out was the humorous bluff answers from the many stars who sat in the nine boxes throughout the show's 15 year run. Among the many celebrities who appeared on the show were Wally Cox, Cliff Arquette (as his Charley Weaver character),Rose Marie, George Gobel and in the center square, Paul Lynde. His quips were very funny and rescued the show from a slow start into a very funny show.
Heatter-Quigley made the right choice in hiring Peter Marshall over Bert Parks as "The Master of the Hollywood Squares." Though he never hosted a game show he got better and better throughout the run and it paid off with a couple of Emmys.
I really enjoyed the show, even the nighttime syndicated version that aired once (later twice) a week. It was a true game show classic and X got the square.
This is the original series. Peter Marshall, the straight man from the
comedy team team of Noonan & Marshall is the host & master of the
Squares. Paul Lynde most often was the center square. Charlie Weaver,
Morey Amstersdam, Rose Marie, & many others made their tours during the
shows 11 year run.
This was a 5 day a week staple on NBC at 11:30 AM from 1965 to 1976 when it went off, one of many victims of the one hour New Price is Right. While it ran, it got a lot of viewers. A lot of the older generation actors & actresses alternated with newer ones to fill the 9 squares every week.
If it were available now, there would be a lot of nostalgic moments for baby boomer's as Michael Landon, Jim Henson, George Goebel, & a host of others would appear on the program. The game itself was so harmless that at one point there was a children's version of the Squares running on Saturday morning NBC TV.
This was a very popular way to fritter away 30 minutes & would get you 30 minutes closer to Let's Make A Deal too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm only 15 (I know you're thinking "Why does a 15-year-old care about
this" but that's a long story), so I've only seen one episode, which
was shown on the 50 Greatest game Shows of all time on GSN. But it is a
great show. I am very supportive of getting this on GSN. Peter Marshall
is one of my idols. Paul Lynde, Wally Cox, George Gobel, Charley
Weaver, Rose Marie, and all deliver some hilarious zingers, like this
Peter Marshall: In what state was Lincoln born in? Paul Lynde: Like all of us, naked and screaming.
I think GSN should show this one. Don't get me wrong, the Tom Bergeron version isn't bad, but I think they should show this one.
The 2 contestants are stationed at "X" & "O" to play tic-tac-toe. 3 Squares Across, Up & Down or Diagonally or 5 Squares were possible. One Contestant picks a square by determined the correct answer or making one up will Agreed or Disagreed the answer. The 1st contestant get 3-5 squares with either "X" or "O" wins $200 and completes the 2 out of 3 match wins $400. The Champion completes 10 games (5 matches) wins $2000 plus a new car. In the 1st or 2nd game was "The Secret Square" and the contestant choose that square can win merchandise prizes from $2000 to $5000 and later it raised up greater than $10,000. Contestants will compete before losing the game. In 1976-1977, The Program presents "The Bonus Prize Squares" and all 9 stars has an envelop that anything such as an car or $5000 cash.
The Gameshow Channel is now running the original Hollywood Squares from the 60s. First thing that strikes you is the spontaneity, the rapour, the easy going fun fresh atmosphere, the 1960s feel of the show. As the show goes along you realize the contrast between the cleverness of the answers and the dimwittedness of today's gameshows. And of course the nostalgia value...it's now a classic. As a kid I watched the show from the early 70s on when the formula was getting dry and worn out, so see the 60s shows. Of course they're all worth it for Paul Lynde.
Putting SOME VARIOUS loose pats together, the creative team of Merrill
Heater & Bob Quigley soon found that they had something that was
greater than the sun of its parts. Although there was really nothing
new, in and of itself; yet the very pleasant half hour installments
continually pulled in huge Nielsen Ratings.
FIRST OF ALL, we have the assembly of nine showbiz personalities, the configuration of a Tic Tack Toe game, two contestant, competition for board position based on questions asked and answered. Add to this we add a great, likable MC and see the magic flow freely.
ALTHOUGH THIS WHOLE premise could have fizzled and blown up on the launch pad, careful engineering and selection of permanent panelists provided us with a tightly knit sort of kaleidoscope of a laugh fest.
ONE VERY POWERFUL element that may have tipped the scales of a potentially fickle public was the selection of Peter Marshall as the Host. It was during the 1950s that he was half of the Comedy Team of Noonan & Marshall. Playing the role of Straihght Man to Tommy Noonan's stooge proved to be the perfect training for asking the stars their questions.
AND SPEAKING OF those questions and the answers that kept us all in stitches for years, there are some misconceptions about them. In spite of popular belief, the questions were premeditated and known to both Host and the celeb in question. Ergo, the responses were also preconceived; be they comical or straight answers.
THIS ALLOWED REGULARS, such as Wally Cox, Rose Marie, Clif Arquette (Charley Weaver), Joan Rivers and especially Paul Lynde to come up with the most amusing responses on a consistent basis.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Peter Marshall's Squares is the best. As the original is the best one.
As Marshall did the best straight man training as he came from the
comedy group, Noonan and Marshall.
He plays it straight while the other celebs in the Tic Tac Toe squares play comedic to him. In particular straight man Paul Lynde. And Rose Marie, Morey Amsderdam, among the others.
The contestants have to agree to disagree on which celeb is telling the truth. As the contestants have to decide also whether the celeb is bluffing or using a comedic answer with a straight face.
Miss game shows like these. As there is not enough game shows on TV these days back in those days.
Circle does get the square!
The Greatest Work of Masterpiece of A MERRILL HEATTER-BOB QUIGLEY PRODUCTION of "THE Hollywood SQUARES (1966)" those 14 Seasons on NBC-TV. The Contestants are the Man "Mr. X" & the Woman "Miss Circle (O)" played against each other to pick 1 of the 9 Stars on these Squares in a Big Tic-Tac-Toe Board. The Contestant pick 1 as "The Secret Square" will win a Big Prize Package started at $1000 (For All The 1966 Broadcasts) and (from 1967 to 1980) the adding prize package value before winning it all. On September 6-10, 1976 "THE BONUS SQUARES" added to the show and revealed a riddle-like message that contains a merchandise prize and cash value ranged from $500 to $5000. On January 5-9, 1976 "THE WHOLE THING" where a champion wins up to $25,000 Cash & Prizes. Among all the Stars of the Past to Present are Rose Marie, Charley Weaver (1966-1974), Abby Dalton (1967-1970), Wally Cox (1967-1973), Morey Amsterdam (1967-1969), George Gobel (1974-1982) & Jonathan Winters (Temporary Replaced 1975-1982) & along with the part-timers are Jan Murray (1968-1973), Kaye Ballard (1968), Nanette Fabray (1969-1971), Vincent Price (1970-1976), Karen Valentine (1971-1977), John Davidson (1974), Roddy McDowall (1975), Charo (1975), Sandy Duncan (1975) & Joan Rivers (1976).
KENNY WILLIAMS (Announcing): Ladies & Gentlemen, Today, One of these stars
is sitting "The Secret Square" and the contestant who picks it first could
win a prize package worth over $2000 and now which star is it?
(Orchestra performed with a drumroll and followed by the brass section blows before each celebrity's name) NICK ADAMS,
or ERNEST BORGNINE, All in "THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES!" (Main Theme played and Applause)
KW: And now here's "The Master of 'THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES'"... PETER MARSHALL.
That's from the debut broadcast of "THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES!"
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