The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour

NBC (ended 1984)


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The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour

Show Summary

In October 1983 – just 13 months after the last blank had been filled on Match Game and two years after the final bluff had been uttered on The Hollywood Squares, the staff of Mark Goodson Productions brought back both classic game shows in this eclectic hour-long afternoon program. While sound in format and fun while it lasted, it never caught on with viewers and lasted nine months. Three contestants, including a returning champion, competed. Co-host Jon Bauman (the frontman for nostalgic rock group Sha Na Na, who was not in his "Bowzer" character for the show) and five of that show's eight guests were introduced. The two new players compete in the first segment, Match Game, played exactly like the classic CBS rules, but for those not in the know: the contestants, one a time, choose either A or B, for which Rayburn reads a funny statement with a blank at the key time. The regular cast of characters – Dumb Dora, Old Man Periwinkle, Weird Willie, etc. – was back. The contestant is polled for his/her answer, after which the celebrities reveal their answers. One point is provided per match, with celebrities matching answers not playing in subsequent rounds for that player. The player in the lead after three rounds (or tiebreakers, if necessary) moved on to the Hollywood Squares segment, hosted by Bauman. Rayburn played the Hollywood Squares, along with three additional celebrities who were introduced between segments (and an additional tier of seats swung in from offstage). The Match Game winner (whose mark was "O") played the returning champion (competing as "X"). The rules were largely similar to the classic NBC/syndicated series hosted by Peter Marshall: The players, one at a time, chose a celebrity, to whom Bauman read a question. After the obligatory bluff or quip, the celebrity gave his/her answer, for which the player had to agree or disagree. A correct judgement gave the player $25 and their mark, but an incorrect reply gave the opponent the cash and the box. The first to get three-in-a-row of their mark (up-and-down, across or diagonally) won $100 for game one, $200 for game two, $300 for game three, etc. Major rule differences were as follows: A player winning a box because of an opponent's incorrect answer got the box no matter what, even if it meant a win; and there was no Secret Square game (wherein choosing the designated celebrity, known only to the home audience, and correctly agreeing or disagreeing won a prize). The player in the lead at the "time's up" bell (usually 20 minutes, with about $1,000 in hand) was the champion and played the Super Match. The Super Match – played very similarly to the original CBS Match Game – was truly a high-bucks affair. The round was again played in two parts: the Audience Match and the Head-to-Head Match. In the audience match, Rayburn read a simple fill-in-the-blank statement (e.g., Chicken *blank*), which had been asked of a past studio audience. The contestant could ask up to three celebrities for possible answers. The contestant could choose one of the suggested answers or pick one of his/her own. The answers were revealed one at a time, with the third most popular response worth $250, the second most popular choice earning $500 and the No. 1 answer netting a cool $1,000. The player kept what he/she won, but even if the contestant's answer didn't appear among the top three, he/she was spotted $100 and played the Head-to-Head Match. In the Head-to-Head Match, the contestant chose one celebrity, who had a multiplier before him/her, which determined the value of the Head-to-Head fill-in-the-blank; there were four 10's (worth 10 times the appropriate Audience Match answer), four 20's (worth 20 times) and just one 30 multiplier (worth 30 times). Thus, the possible jackpots were as follows: • $100 (response not among top three): $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000. • $250 (third-most popular Audience Match): $2,500, $5,000 and $7,500. • $500 (second-most popular Audience Match): $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000. • $1,000 (most popular Audience Match): $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000. Another fill-in-the-blank was read, for which the celebrity secretly wrote his/her answer. The contestant was asked for his reply, and if there was an exact match, the player won the jackpot. After the Head-to-Head was played, if the "30" was not found, the celebrities were asked to uncover their multipliers. A returning champion competed until defeated or winning five days; there were a fair number of $30,000 winners, with the all-time top winners earning around $70,000. While a fun show, not everyone loved The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour. Some – including Rayburn – intensely criticized the hosting style of Bauman (while not the greatest, he certainly wasn't that bad), while others faulted some of the celebrity guests had no idea how to bluff or come up with joke answers. To that end, Match Game panelist Charles Nelson Reilly and/or a standup comic usually served on the panel, which helped some; plus, there were theme weeks for shows including St. Elsewhere, We Got it Made, various NBC soaps and the classic Leave it to Beaver. Those above perceived faults, the two-games-in-one format (and revised rules), the fact some NBC affiliates chose to air local programming instead, and competition from ABC's supersoap General Hospital (still in the prime of its "Luke and Laura" heyday), limited its appeal. On the day that Los Angeles began its Olympics, NBC dropped The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour, replacing it the next Monday with the new soap Santa Barbara. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, the show has never been rerun on Game Show Network (now GSN) due to various reasons – including cross-ownership (although the original The Hollywood Squares episodes, produced by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quiggley, surfaced on GSN from 2002-2003); and that, because he had to co-host with Bauman, Rayburn allegedly ordering the series never be rerun.moreless
Gene Rayburn

Gene Rayburn

Host (Match Game Segment)

Jon Bauman

Jon Bauman

Host (Hollywood Squares Segment)