The original Hollywood Squares game show & intro

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The Hollywood Squares - Click Americana
Take the world’s simplest game — tic-tac-toe — toss in nine celebrities, stir in some questions that let them show off a little humor and creativity, blend with two contestants, one host — and of course, fabulous prizes.

What do you get? The Hollywood Squares, of course!

Ranked by TV Guide as the 7th greatest game show of all time in 2013, the original run of Hollywood Squares spanned fifteen years. They produced more than 3500 episodes from 1966 to 1981, hosted by Peter Marshall.

The original Hollywood Squares game show & intro

The squares were often filled with a veritable who’s who of Hollywood, from Rich Little and Buddy Hackett to Vincent Price and Roddy McDowall.

Celebs weren’t given questions ahead of time, however, certain guests were often asked specific types of questions to allow them to riff, bluff and make jokes more effectively.

The show proved to be so popular, it would later be revived for 1986-1989, with John Davidson at the helm — and again from 1998 through 2004. – AJW

Original Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall

Looking back to when the original Hollywood Squares started to run at night in 1968

By Paul Jones – The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) January 12, 1968

The quiz show scandal cleared the air of all major play-for-pay things in prime time, except for such innocuous games as “I’ve Got a Secret,” “What’s My Line,” “To Tell the Truth,” all of which ran out of viewers.

Since “21” and the $64,000 Question and Challenge left the air, contestants haven’t been able to win anything more than petty cash.

“Secret” and “Line” offered top prizes of less than $100, and contestants on “Truth” had to split a pot three ways, making it impossible for any one person to win a large sum.

Hollywood Squares - 1970s (1)

Now that the tube has been saturated with the variety or vaudeville shows the networks have to look for something different to fill the voids left by mid-season cancellations.

NBC-TV has chosen one of the best daytime shows on the air — “Hollywood Squares” — to replace “Accidental Family,” one of the most colossal flops of the 1967-68 season, on Friday at 9:30 p.m.

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Hollywood Squares is a poor man’s “Information Please” or “21.” It is a celebrity and audience participation show in which eight celebrity guests attempt to answer some fairly tough questions.

It is the job of the audience participant to determine whether the celebrity he has chosen to answer the question given by the emcee is correct, or whether the celebrity is bluffing.

Vintage Hollywood Squares celebs (3)

Vintage Hollywood Squares celebs (1)

The squares refer to a tic-tac-toe arrangement with the celebrities sitting in the squares on a giant “board.” In order to win the contestant must get three X’s or O’s in a row.

Some of the celebrities on “Squares” may surprise a lot of nighttime viewers. Of course, those who have seen the quiz or game show in its 11:30 a.m. slot are already aware that Charley Weaver, Wally Cox and others who have appeared on the show more or less regularly are aware of what’s going on in the world around them.

Peter Marshall, host, of the daytime version, will be host of the nighttime show. Regular panelists will be Charley Weaver (Cliff Arquette) and Wally Cox, who are among the regulars on the daytime version and two of the cleverest and most intelligent panelists to appear on the show.

The Original Hollywood Squares 1969

The game format will remain the same. However, there will be three more guest celebrities and three fewer regulars on the nighttime show.

Each celebrity, seated in a square, is asked a question by Marshall, who then asks two studio contestants, competing against each other, to rule on the correctness of the answer.

If the contestant’s judgment is right, his mark is placed in the celebrity panelist’s square. If he is wrong, the credit goes to his opponent.

Actor John Amos on Hollywood Squares 1978
Actor John Amos on Hollywood Squares 1978

Vintage Hollywood Squares celebs (2)

Appearing on the opening show Friday, in addition to Weaver and Cox are Raymond Burr, Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Nanette Fabray, Abby Dalton, Buddy Hackett and Morey Amsterdam.

I think you will be surprised at the way in which the panelists can answer the tough questions — and how, if they do not know the correct answer, they are able to act their way out of a tough situation.

MORE: Monty Hall of “Let’s Make a Deal”: Critics’ barbs sting, but fans love him (1974)

Hollywood Squares is a good show which provides the family with the opportunity to participate at home and to enrich a fund of knowledge about a multitude of different things.

Hollywood Squares - 1970s (2)


Hollywood Squares intro video

Brought to you in living color! Guests on this episode from 1968 included Don Adams, Raymond Burr, Rosemarie, Milton Berle and Buddy Hackett.


Hollywood Squares opening & game show

Guests on this show in 1975 included Michael Landon, Lynn Redgrave, John Davidson, Wink Martindale, Charo & Paul Lynde.


John Davidson – ’80s host of Hollywood Squares – 1986

Hollywood Squares 1980s

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