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    The Hollywood Squares (1966)

    The Hollywood Squares (1966)

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    NBC (ended 1981)
    Welcome to The Hollywood Squares guide at TV.com. After 2 failed multi-star games (People Will Talk and The Celebrity Game), Game show executive producers Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley finally hit pay dirt with THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES. The centerpiece of this classic game show was essentially a huge tic-tac-toe board. In each of the nine squares that sat a star (or often, more than one), armed with bluffs and quips aplenty. The show made its debut on NBC's daytime schedule on October 17-21, 1966. Actor-Comedian Peter Marshall served as "The Master of The Hollywood Squares" acting both as straight man and an abettor in the fun. 2 contestants, including a returning champion competed in a best 2-out-of-3 match of Tic-Tac-Toe. The male contestant was "Mr. X" while the female was "Miss Circle" (the "O"). In turn, each contestant chooses a star to which host Marshall read a question. Many of the stars gave zany bluffs (joke answers aka "Zingers") before coming up with their own answer; sometimes they also gave a funny explanation. It was up to the contestant to decide whether they would agree or disagree with the star. A correct judgment earned the player their mark in the square, but an wrong reply meant their opponent got the square. That's unless it led to tic-tac-toe for which the contestant had to earn himself/herself. The 1st player to complete a tic-tac-toe (up-and-down, across or diagonally) won the game and cash, which varied depending on the version: • NBC daytime: $100 per game+($300+100=$400 Bonus)=$500 per match up to $2500 (October 17, 1966-February 10, 1967). $200 per game, $400 per match up to $2000 from February 13, 1967 to June 20, 1980. • NBC nighttime (1968): $300 per game. • Syndicated (1971-1982): $250 per game. Certain games were designated as the Secret Square games (see below), which was a bonus prize (or prize package) for the contestant who won it. To earn the Secret Square prize package, the contestant had to choose that celebrity (up to that point, known only to the home audience) for which Marshall read a special Hollywood multiple choice question. If the contestant was correct in agreeing or disagreeing, he or she won the Secret Square prize package. The prize won with the Secret Square and the frequency played was as thus: • NBC daytime: The 1st or 2nd game of each match. A new prize package was worth started about $1000 and so on (especially if a trip, fur coat or boat were included) and depending on what was added grew in value until claimed. • NBC nighttime (Friday Night): The 1st 2 games of the show. The 1st prize was generally a trip (either around the world to Europe or South America), while the 2nd Secret Square was a new car (most frequently the 1968 Pontiac Firebird, though the Oldsmobile Cutlass and AMC AMX were also offered). • Syndicated: During the early years (1971-1973), the 1st 2 games of each show, later the 1st 3 games (1973-1978). At 1st, unclaimed Secret Square stashes carried over to the next playing, but later went lost if the contestant didn't win it. At first, each Secret Square was worth about $2000 but later, individual prize packages were worth as much as $7000! Later in the nighttime syndicated run (1978-1980) that went back to be having the 2 Games when "The Bonus Prize Squares" added to the nighttime syndicated run. The rules for becoming champion and reward also depended on the version you watched: • NBC daytime: Winning the best 2-of-3 match (which netted $400). At 1st, there was no bonus game; returning champions simply faced a new challenger before the commercial break and finally on September 6-10, 1976, a new "Bonus Prize Squares" game was added wherein the champion selected a star and won an merchandise item or additional cash prize ($500 to $5000) and in the 1978-1979 Season of the show, The Same merchandise items or the cash prizes are doubled ($1000 to $10,000 in 1979-1980). Originally, a 5-Match Champion retired undefeated also winning $2000 (Earlier $2500) and a new car. The bonus was upped handsomely on January 5-9, 1976 to include 2 cars (always at least one very nice car, such as the Chevrolet Caprice Classic or Pontiac Grand Prix), 1 Cruise Ship & $5000 cash for early of it's period (On January 3-7, 1977, the winners win 1 Car, 1 Cruise Ship & $10,000 Cash) are totaled $25,000 (Earlier it's all totaled $20,000). • NBC nighttime: The contestant in the lead won a bonus prize – usually a TV/stereo console or a new kitchen. Average value was about $1500. • Syndicated: The contestant in the lead won a new car – always an economy car (such as the Chevrolet Vega or Datsun B210). Also, in the NBC primetime and syndicated versions, when time expired in the middle of the game (with the sound of the horn aka "Tacky Buzzer"), each contestant was given $50 for each square they had after the final question was played (unless a contestant got a tic-tac-toe); even contestants who didn't win any cash were given $100 just for competing. Virtually every major star from every genre – television, movies, music, sports, experts & the stage of Broadway and other locales– of the 1960s through early 1980s are stopped by with their star quips and bluffs. Hollywood legends also appeared as cameos either as the star's squares or walk-ons. The most popular regulars were Rose Marie, Charley Weaver, Wally Cox, Morey Amsterdam, Abby Dalton, George Gobel and ... of course, longtime center square Paul Lynde. Paul Lynde – by the way – wasn't always the center square as he didn't become the permanent occupant of that space up to the weekday broadcast of October 14-18, 1968. Before Lynde the permanent center square, comedian Buddy Hackett was the most common star to sit in the center square (on the nighttime edition in 1968). Lynde was the center square on nearly every broadcast until he left on August 20-24, 1979; he returned to the center square for a part of the 1980-1981 Las Vegas syndicated season and was a special guest for not sitting the same center square, but sitting the different square for the final syndicated episode on September 11, 1981. Ernest Borgnine was the center square during the debut weekday broadcast of October 17-21, 1966, while Wayland Flowers & Madame was the NBC daytime show's last center square on the last weekday broadcast of June 16-20, 1980 and George Gobel was the last syndicated-version center square on September 7-11, 1981. On November 1-7 1971, a syndicated nighttime portion of The Hollywood Squares released. At first, the show was once-a-week, but once the show proved popular, it quickly expanded to a twice-a-week show starting on September 11-17 1972. 3 Months after the last NBC daytime show aired on June 20, 1980, the production of The Hollywood Squares moved to Las Vegas and the show expanded to five-day-a-week. The expanded syndicated format lasted one year (September 8, 1980-September 11, 1981) with a repeat of the last NBC-TV & Syndicated 1979-1980 Season for the 1981-1982 Season and being Distributed by RHODES PRODUCTIONS-A Filmways Company. 3 Theme songs of The Hollywood Squares were used. The 1st theme (1966-1969) called "The Silly Song" was composed by Jimmie Haskell. Beginning in the 1969-1970 season and it was replaced by a piece composed by William Loose for known to game show aficionados as "Merrill and Bob's Theme," it's the 2nd theme of The Hollywood Squares is mostly identified and ended before & after the 1978-1979 season. The disco-flavored theme called "The Hollywood Bowl" was composed by Stan Worth (who wrote many TV theme songs) became the 3rd and last theme song starting on September 3-7, 1979 and finishing on September 11, 1981. The Hollywood Squares ran on NBC daytime up to June 20, 1980, when it was replaced by David Letterman's ultimately unsuccessful daytime show. 3 revivals all had varying levels of success including a brief marriage to Match Game in 1983-1984 (as The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour); A 1986-1989 syndicated entry hosted by frequent original The Hollywood Squares square placer John Davidson (as The New HOLLYWOOD SQUARES) and the 1998-2004 edition (as HOLLYWOOD SQUARES "H2") hosted by talk show personality Tom Bergeron (Fresh out of WBZ-TV NBC "Now CBS 4" Boston's "PEOPLE ARE TALKING"). From April 2002 to October 2003, reruns of the Peter Marshall-hosted Hollywood Squares ran on Game Show Network; the package included 14 NBC-TV primetime and 116 syndicated episodes (130 total). Originally having aired in several weekday timeslots, the show was eventually downgraded to weekend-only airings (at 10:30 a.m. EST). Despite a promising start and wide promotion, the reruns never drew high ratings or young audiences (in part because many of the stars have died or are unfamiliar to younger audiences) and were eventually replaced with reruns of the Tom Bergeron Hollywood Squares edition right through August 31, 2007. On March 30-April 3, 2009 "(The All-New) HOLLYWOOD SQUARES" has came back to GSN-play everyday to the lineup for GSN LIVE. In 2010 The Show now seen on weekends featuring the 1st 2 Seasons of "HOLLYWOOD Squares" from 1998 to 2000. The Broadcast History of THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES {NBC Daytime} October 17, 1966-October 1, 1976 Monday-Friday at 11:30 AM-12NOON Eastern October 4, 1976-September 29, 1978 Monday-Friday at 10:30-11:00 AM October 2, 1978-March 2, 1979 Monday–Friday at 1:00-1:30 PM (or 4:00-4:30 PM) March 5-August 10, 1979 Monday-Friday at 12:30-1:00 PM August 13, 1979-June 20, 1980 Monday–Friday at 10:30-11:00 AM. {NBC Nighttime} January 12-September 13, 1968 – 9:30-10:00 PM Friday. {Syndicated} November 1, 1971-September 11, 1981 – Various nights at 7:30-8:00 PM Eastern (Monday-Saturday) & 5:30-6:00 PM Eastern (Sunday) and for the last 2 seasons for Weekdays/Weeknights at various times which depending on market and Distributed by RHODES PRODUCTIONS-A Filmways Company. "THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (1966)" is A MERRILL HEATTER (hQ) BOB QUIGLEY PRODUCTION-A Filmways Company. Now This Show Owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television.moreless
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    The Gong Show

    The Gong Show

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    NBC (ended 1980)
    And now, let us introduce, for your viewing pleasure: • A bearded, demented-looking dentist taunts his hapless patient as he drills her teeth, flipping the drill's switch to the tune of "Stars and Stripes Forever." • A petite homecoming queen, obviously nervous, is duped into singing the National Anthem after she and fellow members of the choir have been introduced as collectively performing "The Star Spangled Banner." • A grossly overweight man tap-dances to music from "Swan Lake"; later his equally obese wife squeezes into a tiny tutu and, after fitting her head in a teacup, spins around while playing "Old Folks at Home" on the mandolin. • An Elvis impersonator sings "Hound Dog," but his voice is a monotone. Who didn't live for acts such as those on The Gong Show, the classic parody of ameteur talent contests? Chuck Barris was the straight man (yeah, right) to a panel of three celebrity judges – usually singer Jaye P. Morgan, comedian Arte Johnson (of Rowan and Martin's Laugh In) and Jamie Farr (of M*A*S*H*); plus one or more guests – each assigned the task of enduring and judging the ameteur acts that performed, either solo or in groups. Yes, some of the acts that performed had legitimate talent and did very well, although all of good acts were ameteurs because of Barris' strict rule against allowing professionals as contestants. However, the real fun came in watching those hilariously awful acts. Just a short list of acts might include: • The mustached-magician trying to get his "talented" pigeons to dance. • The teen-aged girls in pastel-colored prom dresses singing "People Who Need People" while dancing in a conga line. • The young comic who did impressions of modern-day actors performing Shakespeare. • An older woman whose dog had the knack for imitating other barnyard animals. • A man who broke eggs over his head while making faces in a sheet of Plexiglas. • "Professor Flamo" – a man who sang out in pain while lowering various body parts onto burning candles. Joey D'Auria was "Professor Flamo" and would later become Bozo the Clown on WGN (1984-2001). • An entire episode dedicated to contestants singing their rendition of "Feelings." ... and countless other acts that were wild and outrageous. Do those acts sound bad? Of course they did, and any one of the celebrity judges had the right to terminate the act by striking his/her mallet against an oversized "gong" (often, two or all three did, and several times, they fought to get to the gong first). The act had to immeidately cease and were out of the running for the grand prize. Early in the run, some acts were "gonged" just seconds into the act, prompting Barris to implement a mandatory 45-second wait (though judging by the frequent reactions of the celebs, that was often way too long). Acts that did reach their conclusion (the longest performances were usually two-and-a-half minutes) were scored by the panelists on a scale of 0 to 10, with a high score of 30 possible. The highest-scoring act of the day won the grand prize – $516.32 on the daytime show, $712.05 (later $1,000) on the syndicated version; however, a grand-prize winner was not necessarily guaranteed, particularly if all of the acts were gonged. The 1976 syndicated version, which debuted months after the NBC version began, was identical to the daytime version, except that Gary Owens hosted (until 1978, when Barris took over that job). Acts on The Gong Show became more and more risqué during the final months of the daytime version. The final straw came during a 1978 daytime telecast, when many viewers declared a certain act obscene (The Popsicle Twins) (that act would fit in quite nicely with Game Show Network's overtly sex-littered 1998 revival, called Extreme Gong); NBC apparently agreed and – whether on its own accord or bowing to pressure from viewers and advertisers – cancelled The Gong Show. Not to worry for original Gong Show fans; the fun continued unabated in syndication until 1980. Running gags featuring the show's regular cast were also popular. Some included: • An inept musician (Larry Spencer) who announces his intention to "play" a certain musical instrument "right now" (with the instrument failing on cue) • Barris reading a children's story with alternate endings (and enacted by the show's cast). • Brief skits from the "Unknown Comic" (comedian Murray Langston) and "Gene Gene the Dancing Machine" (Gene Patton). There was also Scarlett & Rhett where every joke was a dirty one that constantly required the "OOPS!" sign to flash! Also, guest performers – former winning contestants with legit talent and real celebrities, including Alice Cooper – were invited to perform in non-scoring, non-gongable segments. John Barbour (later of Real People) was supposed to be the host, but his straight-man style didn't work out and Barris let him go before the first aired episode taped. Barris took over the job himself and the rest was history. The Gong Show quickly became a part of American popular culture, with local versions staged as fundraisers by college, high school and civic groups. There were two unsuccessful attempts to revive The Gong Show. A 1988 revival, hosted by Don Bleu didn't catch on with viewers and was cancelled after less than 26 weeks. Critics panned the aforementioned Extreme Gong (a revival to play off the popularity of reruns of the original series), thanks in large part to the risqué content; hosted by comedian George Gray, the celebrity panel was replaced by a 1-900 number for viewers to judge the acts.moreless
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    Hollywood Squares, The (1966)

    Hollywood Squares, The (1966)

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    NBC
    The Hollywood Squares is a classic 1966 game show that mixes trivia with the classic strategy game, tic-tac-toe. Two contestants go head-to-head to try to get three Xs or Os in a row on a giant tic-tac-toe board. But it's not as easy as it sounds. Each space on the giant board contains a celebrity, who answers a trivia question whenever a contestant tries to win their space. The celebrity may know the answer to the trivia question, or they may make something up. The contestant has to decide whether the celebrity is answering truthfully or not, and they only get to occupy that space on the board if they choose correctly. The Hollywood Squares offers a chance to see some of Tinsel Town's biggest stars at their least scripted. This inventive game show became known for the unpredictability of the stars, who used the show to exhibit their real selves, without any media exaggeration. The Hollywood Squares featured many celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Vincent Price, Aretha Franklin, Joan Rivers, Eva Gabor, Don Knotts, and many more.moreless
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    Name That Tune (1977)

    Name That Tune (1977)

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    NBC (ended 1977)
    The daytime version of the nighttime syndicated hit. Tom Kennedy hosted with Kathie Lee Johnson (Gifford) as singer with Tommy Oliver & the Orchestra. Two contestants competed for cash & prizes. Games played were Melody Roulette, Build-A-Tune (exclusively for this version) & Bid-A-Note. The contestant who won the most points, played the Golden Medley. The player had to identify 7 songs in 30 seconds to win a prize package + come back the next day to play the Mystery Tune. The Mystery tune was played the same way as the syndicated version, except the grand prize was a flat $25,000. This version on NBC lasted only six months.moreless
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    Jackpot

    Jackpot

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    NBC (ended 1975)
    Jackpot started out in 1974 on NBC, taking over the Jeopardy! time slot (Noon/11:00 CT). 16 contestants competed for a week as one was designated the Expert. The Expert picked one of 15 players, then the player tells how much the riddle's worth that adds to the jackpot (or if it's the Jackpot riddle). If the Expert answers it corretcly, s/he stays. Otherwise, the players trade places. There's also a Super Jackpot. To get that, the player has to match the last three digits of the target number (IE: $410). The target number then was multiplied from 5-50 to establish the Super Jackpot (IE: $410 x 50 = $20,500). If that happens, both the player chosen & the expert get a chance to split a Super Jackpot that ranged from $4,975-$50,000. To have it @ $50,000, the Target would have to be $995 x 50 = $49,750 (the producers sprung for the extra $250). 10 years later after NBC yanked the show, the series found a new home (Toronto, Canada), new host (Mike Darrow) & new network (USA Cable). Play was like the NBC version except the Expert was called the King/Queen of the Hill, players traded places whether or not the Jackpot riddle was won. There were also bonus prizes, return trips & other special contests (IE: $10,000 Riddler contest, $50K super riddle). Riddles ranged from $50-$250 while Super Jackpots ranged from $2,000-$9,950. In 1989, it was syndicated. Geoff was back & the show moved to L.A. In this version, to add money to the jackpot, the riddle has to be answered correctly. There was slso Doubl Dollars, Instant Target Match in this version. Unfortunately, the production company went bankrupt.moreless
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    All Star Secrets

    All Star Secrets

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    NBC (ended 1979)
    All Star Secrets was a daily daytime game show that aired on the NBC network. The program was hosted by co-creator Bob Eubanks and it's first announcer was Charlie O'Donnell of Wheel Of Fortune fame. O'Donnell was later replaced by Tony McClay because of scheduling conflicts.
    The premise of the show was that three contestants were given interesting unknown facts about a panel of five celebrities. The contestants' job was to try and tie the secret to the correct star that the secret was about.moreless
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    The Wizard of Odds

    The Wizard of Odds

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    NBC (ended 1974)
    This NBC game show marked the American debut of two Canadians who had the same initials, A.T. Alan Thicke; produced & wrote (even sang) the theme song & Alex Trebek hosted it. Contestants played various games with the hosts for cash & prizes. Every contestant selected was placed on a huge wheel near the end of the show. Alex would spin it & that lucky player played the bonus round. The bonus round had the player try to guess 5 stats. The object was to guess each statement hoping it was below a target number. One statement was above & would end the game for that contestant.moreless
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    Reach for the Stars

    Reach for the Stars

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    NBC (ended 1967)
    Reach for the Stars was a game show where contestants achieved their dreams via a series of trivia questions and stunts.
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    Knockout

    Knockout

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    NBC (ended 1978)
    This show was hosted by "Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In" regular Arte Johnson. This daytime game show featured three contestants facing four items. The contestants' job was to guess which item was not related to the other three. The items were revealed one at a time, and when a player believed that an unrelated item had been revealed, that player buzzed in. If he/she was correct, then one letter of the word "K-N-O-C-K-O-U-T" was earned. The player could then earn an additional letter by guessing the category from the items left on the board or by challenging one of his/her two opponents. If the challenged player guessed correctly, he/she earned two letters. If he/she failed, the challenger earned the letters and could challenge his/her opponent for two more letters. The first player to spell "KNOCKOUT" with all eight letters won the game. The winner played a bonus round for the chance to win up to $5,000. He/she tried to guess the category of three items. If he/she guessed right after one item was revealed, then the answer was worth $500. After two clues, the answer was worth $300 and after all three, the answer was $100. Players could increase their bankroll tenfold by choosing one of three clues in another game and guessing the category. Whoever won five games won a new car. Players would keep returning until they had lost two games.moreless
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    Whodunnit?

    Whodunnit?

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    NBC (ended 1979)
    Three contestants competed in this short lived prime time game show. First, a mystery was presented in two acts. If by after the 2nd act a contestant locks in a suspect & is correct, that player wins $10,000. Then the interrogation round begins as experts questions the witnesses. Then the contestants can lock in a suspect for $5,000. The suspect is revealed & payoffs are paid. If you're wrong, your consolation prize was a color tv. NBC wouldn't try another prime time game show until (pardon the pun) 21 years later with Twenty-One with Maury Povich.moreless
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    Miss Universe

    Miss Universe

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    NBC
    Miss Universe is an annual beauty pageant broadcast by NBC and run by the Miss Universe Organization. In the contest, women from more than 80 countries contest for the crown and the title of Miss Universe, vying for the highest cumulative score in swimsuit, evening gown, and question-and-answer competitions. The overall winner receives a contract with the Miss Universe Organization, a chance to spread awareness of disease control, peace, and AIDS awareness across the globe, and the keys to an apartment in Trump Tower (Donald Trump owns the rights to the competition). The pageant aims to host a competition of women that are beautiful, yet are still intelligent, goal-oriented, and well-mannered. The contestants are usually chosen through national pageants in countries across the world, although some countries refuse to participate due to cost or local customs. Over the history of the Miss Universe pageant, the United States has taken the most titles (7), followed Venezuela (6), Puerto Rico (5), and Sweden (3).moreless