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Hollywood Squares
Hollywood Squares.jpg
Title card from 1973 to 1980
Genre Comedy/Quiz
Created by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley
Presented by Peter Marshall
Jon Bauman
John Davidson
Tom Bergeron
Narrated by Kenny Williams
Gene Wood
Shadoe Stevens
(1986-1989 & 1998-2002)
Jeffrey Tambor
John Moschitta
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 25
No. of episodes 3536 (NBC daytime)
16 (Storybook Squares)
191 (Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour)
585 (Davidson)
Location(s) NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1966-1979, 1983-1984, 1987-1988)
Riviera Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada (1979-1981)
Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California (1986-1987)
Universal Studios
Hollywood, California (1988-1989)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1998-2004)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley Productions (1966-1981)
Filmways Television (1966-1981)
Mark Goodson Productions (1983-1984)
Orion Television (1983-1984)
Century Towers Productions (1986-1989)
Moffitt/Lee Productions (1998-2002)
One-Ho Productions (1998-2002)
Columbia TriStar Television (1998-2003)
Henry Winkler-Michael Levitt Productions (2002-2004)
Sony Pictures Television (2003-2004)
Distributor Rhodes Productions (1971-1981)
Orion Television Syndication (1986-1989)
King World (1998-2004)
Original channel NBC (1966-1980, 1983-1984)
Syndicated (1971-1981, 1986-1989, 1998-2004)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run October 17, 1966 (1966-10-17) – September 10, 2004 (2004-09-10)
Status Ended

The Hollywood Squares is an American television comedy and game show in which two contestants play tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes. The "board" for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by an entertainer (or "star") seated at a desk and facing the contestants. The stars are asked questions and the contestants judge the veracity of their answers in order to win the game.

Although The Hollywood Squares was a legitimate game show, the game largely acted as the background for the show's comedy in the form of the "zingers", or joke answers, often given by the stars prior to their "real" answer. The show's writers usually supplied the zingers; in addition, the stars were given question subjects and plausible incorrect ("bluff") answers prior to the show. (The show was scripted in this sense, but the gameplay was not, as a contestant's success was based upon knowing whether the celebrity's "real" answer was correct.) In any case, as host Peter Marshall explains at the beginning of the "Secret Square" game, the celebrities are briefed prior to show to help them with bluff answers, but they are otherwise hearing the actual questions as they are asked on air.


Basic rules

Although there have been variations over the years in the rules of and the prizes in the game, certain aspects of the game have remained fairly consistent.

Two contestants, almost always a woman playing Os/naughts (called circles in the show) and a man playing Xs/crosses, took turns picking a star and following the traditional tic-tac-toe strategies for which square to select. The star was asked a question and gave an answer. The contestants had the choice of agreeing with the star or disagreeing if they thought the star was bluffing. If the contestant was right, he or she got the square; if the contestant was wrong, the other contestant got the square, unless that caused the opponent to get three in a row. In that case, the opponent had to win the square on his or her own. A player also won by getting five "Xs" or "Os" on the game board (thus preventing draws).

On rare occasions, a star would not know the correct answer to a question or be unable to come up with a decent bluff. In such instances, the contestant would be offered the chance to answer the question to win or lose the square as above. Usually the contestants declined, in which case they incurred no penalty and the same star was asked another question.

Peter Marshall's explanation of the rules:

The object for the players is to get three stars in a row, either across, up-and-down or diagonally; it is up to them to figure out if a star is giving a correct answer or making one up; that's how they get the squares.


The show began as a black-and-white pilot episode filmed for CBS on April 21, 1965. That pilot was hosted by Bert Parks with the squares occupied by Cliff Arquette (in his "Charley Weaver" comic persona), Wally Cox, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Abby Dalton, Jim Backus, Gisele MacKenzie, Robert Q. Lewis and Vera Miles. The first five of the initial panelists were to later appear on the first broadcast week (October 17–21, 1966) and become the five initial regulars on NBC-TV.

CBS shot a second pilot hosted by Sandy Baron, but chose not to pick up the program with either host. A year later, NBC acquired the rights to the show and chose Peter Marshall as host, a job he held for fifteen years until 1981.Squares was the final touch to a short-lived game show powerhouse on NBC which also included Concentration, Jeopardy!, You Don't Say!, Let's Make a Deal, The Match Game and others. During most of its daytime run, NBC broadcast Squares at 11:30 a.m. Eastern/10:30 a.m. Central time; it dominated the ratings until 1976, when it moved to the first of a succession of different time slots.

The show also ran at night, first on NBC from January 12 to September 13, 1968 as a mid-season replacement for the short-lived sitcom Accidental Family, then as a nighttime syndicated program running from November 1, 1971 to September 11, 1981. The latter version ran once a week at first, then twice-a-week and finally expanded to a five-day-per-week strip in its final season.

Paul Lynde, in addition to his recurring role as "Uncle Arthur" on Bewitched, had his greatest fame as the featured (and, in tic-tac-toe, tactically important) "center square" throughout most of the original show's run. On October 14, 1968, after two years on the show, Lynde became the regular center square. Lynde's outrageous (and sometimes kinky) zingers helped him win two daytime Emmy Awards, in 1974 and 1978.

Some regulars were frequently asked questions pertaining to a certain topic or category. For instance, Cliff Arquette (Charley Weaver), a history buff, excelled at American history questions. Rich Little almost always received questions about other celebrities, which gave him an opportunity to do an impression of that individual. Roddy McDowall usually gave correct answers about the plays of Shakespeare. Rose Marie often received questions on dating and relationships, playing off her lovelorn comic persona. Demond Wilson often responded with mock anger to questions that were carefully worded to play upon African American stereotypes.

Other regulars and semi-regulars over the years included Nanette Fabray, Kaye Ballard, Wally Cox, Morey Amsterdam, Florence Henderson, Marty Allen, Wayland Flowers and Madame, Barbara Eden, George Gobel, Vincent Price, Charo, Sandy Duncan, Carol Wayne, Jonathan Winters, Karen Valentine, and Joan Rivers. Lynde left the series after taping the August 20–24, 1979, week of shows, but returned when the series relocated to Las Vegas in the 1980-1981 season.

The daytime series was played as a best 2-out-of-3 match between a returning champion and an opponent with each individual game worth $200 and a match worth $400; a five-match champion retired with $2,000, any Secret Square prizes won up to that point, and a new car. During the final years of the NBC run (1977–1980), players who won five matches earned an additional $5,000, two new cars (later one car and $10,000) and a trip, for a total of over $25,000. Early in the first season, from October 17, 1966 to February 10, 1967, each game awarded $100 with the winner of the match earning a $300 bonus for a total of $500. Beginning in 1976, an "endgame" of sorts was added to the show, with the champion simply selecting a star, each of whom held an envelope with a prize; the top prize was $5,000.

Both the syndicated and NBC prime time versions featured the same two contestants playing for the entire half-hour with each completed game worth $300 (NBC prime time) or $250 (syndicated). On the syndicated version, if time ran out with a game still in progress (interrupted by what the host called the "tacky buzzer," a loud horn), each X or O on the board at that point was worth an additional $50 to the players, with each player guaranteed at least $100 in total winnings. The player with the most money at the end of the show won a bonus prize, which for the first six years of the weekly syndicated series was a car. From 1977-1980, the "endgame" described above was utilized, with the car and $5,000 (later $10,000) as the two top prizes. On the daily syndicated series, each game awarded its victor a prize and each winner advanced in a $100,000 tournament.

Connie Francis in a fur coat, a prize on the show.

The "Secret Square"

The "Secret Square" round was played as the first game on a given broadcast (or the first complete game, if a show began with one already in progress) during the daytime series. In this game, a randomly selected "Secret Square" panelist was revealed only to the home audience. A contestant who picked that panelist during the game won a bonus prize package if they correctly agreed or disagreed with the star. Secret Square prize packages on the daytime edition started at around $1,000 and grew daily until won with the biggest being worth $11,110. The question for the star was sealed in a special envelope and was almost always multiple choice.

In the syndicated version, initially the first two games were Secret Square games; if no one claimed the prize in the first round, it carried over to the second round. Beginning in 1973, the first three games had a Secret Square, with prizes changing each game. This later went back to two Secret Squares with the addition to the endgame in 1977. On this version, a Secret Square package was usually worth between $2,000 and $7,000. Players winning all three Secret Squares earned around $15,000 in prizes. The Secret Square wasn't played from 1980 to 1981, when the syndicated show expanded to 5 days a week.

The daytime show aired its 3536th and last episode on June 20, 1980. Squares ran for one more year in syndication; this last year of shows was taped at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Storybook Squares

Storybook Squares, a Saturday-morning children's version of Hollywood Squares, aired briefly from January 4 to August 30, 1969. It featured stars dressed as fairy tale, television and historical characters. It later aired occasionally in the 1970s during the run of the original Marshall version. In an interview with E!'s True Hollywood Story, Marshall lauded the concept, but lamented that by the time each of the characters was introduced, very little of the show's half-hour format was left for actual gameplay.[citation needed]


From October 31, 1983 to July 27, 1984, Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha-Na-Na hosted the Squares segment of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, a joint production of Mark Goodson Productions (owners of the Match Game format) and Orion Television, which obtained the rights to Squares upon acquiring the Filmways production company.

The day's winner from the Match Game segment faced the show's returning champion in the Squares segment, and played until time ran out, with the winner playing the "Super Match" bonus from Match Game. Players received $25 for each square claimed, with a bonus for winning the round (starting at $100 and increasing by that amount for each subsequent round). No "Secret Square" round was played, and all questions were true/false or multiple choice. Additionally, contestants were able to win "by default" if an opponent made a mistake while attempting to block. Unlike other versions of the show, panelists were not provided with zingers. The only regular panelist was Match Game host Gene Rayburn, who occupied the lower-left square; Bauman, in turn, filled that seat during Match Game.


John Davidson, a former regular panelist in the Marshall era, hosted The New Hollywood Squares, which was produced by Century Towers Productions for Orion Television, from September 15, 1986 to June 16, 1989 (with reruns airing until September 8 of that year). Shadoe Stevens was the announcer; he became a regular panelist later in the first season, usually occupying the bottom center square. Joan Rivers returned to the show as the center square in the second season. Jim J. Bullock was another regular, usually occupying the upper-left square. All three regulars guest-hosted on occasion. In September 1988 when Davidson and Rivers were both off, Stevens hosted, Bullock served as center square and Howard Stern sat in the bottom center square and announced.

The rules of the game reverted to the original rules from the Marshall era, meaning that games could not be won due to an opponent's error. For the first season, each game was worth $500 with a bonus of $100 per square if time ran out in the middle of a game in progress. Beginning in season two, the third and subsequent games were worth $1,000 with $200 given for each square claimed when time ran out. The second game on every show was a "Secret Square" game, mostly played for a trip. Occasionally, other bonus prizes were offered. If time had run out with the players tied, one more question was asked to one celebrity. If the player agreed or disagreed correctly, they won $100/$200 and the match. If not, their opponent automatically won. This was also done on occasions where there was no tie, but there was only enough time for one question.

Bonus round

Similar to the 1970s game show Split Second, the player who won the most money at the end of the match chose one of five keys, which started one of five cars. The contestant also chose a good luck celebrity to sit in or stand beside the car (sometimes more, usually all nine celebrities on Friday episodes or episodes with a retiring champion). If the chosen key started the car, the contestant won it and retired undefeated. Otherwise, the contestant returned the next day with that car eliminated should he or she return to the bonus game. The contestant automatically won whatever car was left on the fifth day should they have gone that far without starting the car.

Each week featured a different set of five cars, all of the same make. In the event that a champion on Friday returned the following Monday, the lowest-valued cars were eliminated corresponding to the number of prior attempts and the champion selected a new key from the remaining cars available.

In the final season, each of the nine celebrities held a key, and all five cars were available each day, no matter how many times the champion had been to the bonus round. The champion had to pick a key each day, and the celebrity who held that key would be one of their good-luck celebrities. Five stars held keys for each individual car, four stars held keys that didn't start any car. To compensate for the increase in difficulty during the bonus round, champions could simply stay on until winning a car or until they were defeated.


The show went "on the road" several times, taping episodes from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, as well as at an outdoor set in Hollywood, Florida (using signs with water skis for marking Xs and oranges for Os) and the Bahamas. Otherwise, the Davidson series was produced at the Hollywood Center Studios, except for a short time the program was taped at the NBC Burbank Studios (the show's home base for all but the final syndicated year of the Marshall era). The show moved to Universal Studios Hollywood for its final season.

This version of Squares became noted for gimmickry, such as musical questions (wherein Davidson, a former recording artist, sang songs for the celebrity to finish), questions involving props in a panelist's square or presented as skits involving outside actors, "surprise" special guests and so on. One week, the entire group of Solid Gold Dancers managed to squeeze into a single square; other times, the lower left square was modified into a rectangle to accommodate extra stars or props, such as kitchens for Wolfgang Puck, Joe Carcione or Justin Wilson. Richard Simmons once led the audience in exercise routines. Ray Combs (who hosted a revival of Family Feud for CBS in 1988) once led the audience in singing a rendition of the theme to The Brady Bunch. TV alien puppet ALF, supposedly on a dare from host Davidson, actually guest hosted one episode. And on an April Fool's Day prank on Davidson in 1987, the two contestants were actually actors whose argument led to the female "contestant" shoving the male off of the set's raised contestant stage. Radio host Howard Stern acted as a panelist and guest announcer for one week during the final season, which later became fodder for jokes on his radio show, and Shadoe Stevens took John Davidson's place while John and center square Joan Rivers were touring america.

On special "Kids Weeks" featuring contestants between the ages of 11-14, $100 was awarded for winning either the first or second game while $200 was awarded for winning subsequent games. The winning contestant's parent got to start the car and if unsuccessful, the champion was awarded a bicycle as a consolation prize since contestants appeared only once.

Although such gimmicks made the show a popular favorite early on[citation needed], its momentum could not be maintained long-term and folded after three seasons. The final episode ended with the cast and crew singing "Happy Trails", then disappearing off the set while soundbites from the series played.


After King World Productions bought the worldwide format rights to the show from MGM (successor-in-interest to Orion Pictures and Filmways, who produced the respective previous incarnations of the series) in 1997, a revival of the format was assembled. On September 14, 1998, the version debuted, hosted by Tom Bergeron. Whoopi Goldberg, who also served as co-producer, was the permanent center square; she left both positions in 2002. That year, Henry Winkler and Michael Levitt took over as executive producers. After a year of rotating center squares including Ellen DeGeneres and Alec Baldwin, Martin Mull filled that spot in the final season.

Shadoe Stevens, announcer for the Davidson version, revived his voice-over role for most of the Bergeron run (though he was not featured as a panelist) with Jeffrey Tambor taking over for the 2002-2003 season, followed by John Moschitta for the final season (though Stevens did announce during the 2nd Game Show Week in that final season; the first Game Show Week from the previous season featured Rod Roddy as announcer). The show was taped in Studio 33, now the Bob Barker studio, at CBS Television City.

For the first several weeks of the 1998-1999 season, first and second games were worth $500, the third game was worth $1,000 and fourth and subsequent games were worth $2,000. If time ran out during a game, $250 was awarded for each square captured. These figures were doubled later in the first season and remained at the same value for most of the series. Each player was guaranteed at least $500 ($250 early in the first season) until the final season, when those players who did not win a game left with a consolation prize.

In the last season, each game was worth $1,000 and the first player to win two games played the bonus round. The previous season's scoring format was used during theme weeks where certain groups of people (lifeguards, celebrity lookalikes) played.

The first season also saw up to two "Secret Square" games. The first one was in its customary position as the second game played on each episode, with its prize package carrying over to the third game if it was not won (for the first two weeks of episodes taped, two Secret Square games were always played, with a different prize offered in each game). From the second season onwards, the "Secret Square" reverted to its old NBC-daytime-era format: played as the second game on each show worth an accruing prize package (Bergeron referred to it as "The Secret Square Stash"). In the last season, the "Secret Square" was played in the second game of each match, with a different prize offered each time.

For the first season, this version had no returning champions; two new contestants played on each show. Beginning with the second season, the show began having returning champions, who were allowed to remain for a maximum of five matches.


The end game underwent numerous changes throughout the run of the Bergeron version.

"Pick a Star and Win a Prize"

Originally, the show used the same "pick a star, win a prize" format the Marshall version had used during its last few years on the air. Within several weeks, this had been slightly adjusted to where the day's winner had to correctly agree or disagree with a "Secret Square"-style question to win that prize. For the first season (when there were no returning champs) and for some special weeks in subsequent seasons, $2,500 was given as a consolation prize for an incorrect guess.

Big Money Round

In November 2001, in the wake of shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire raising the bar in terms of prize money, Squares adopted an entirely new trivia-based endgame. The day's champion chose one of the nine celebrities on the panel, who all had envelopes with cash amounts inside ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The contestant and celebrity were then asked as many multiple-choice questions as possible in 60 seconds. The two conferred, but only the contestant answered the question. At the end of time, if the player so desired, he or she risked the total money earned on one final open-ended double-or-nothing question (of which only the category of it was told to the contestant beforehand). In this fashion, a player could win up to $100,000. The most money won in this game was $60,000.

Key Bonus Round

Beginning in September 2002, the "big money bonus round" endgame was dropped and replaced with yet another bonus round, this one a variation of the "car keys" game from the Davidson version. This time, the player selected one from up to nine keys, only one of which would win a given grand prize. Before choosing a key, however, he or she played a game to eliminate incorrect keys from the selection process. The contestant had 30 seconds to answer as many true/false questions about celebrities on that week's panel as possible, and with each correct answer one false key was taken off the board. Also in the fifth season, one incorrect key was eliminated for each time a returning champion had previously failed to win that prize. If the contestant won the grand prize and repeated as champion the next day, he/she played for a new prize, starting again with nine keys. For themed shows, champions got one key taken off the board at the outset (in addition to any keys taken away for correct answers). If a contestant selected the wrong key during any bonus round, he/she won $500 (later $1,000) for each correct answer as a consolation prize. The prize structure was as follows:

  • 1st win: Car
  • 2nd: $25,000
  • 3rd: Trip around the world or "trip of a lifetime" (worth $30,000)
  • 4th: $50,000
  • 5th: $100,000

To win the first prize, the contestant had to choose the key that would start the car. The other four levels required a player to unlock a safe (cash prizes) or a steamer trunk (trips) with the chosen key in order to win. On occasion, the second prize was substituted for a gift certificate in that amount to an upscale store (such as Bloomingdale's or Cartier); these were often used as bonus prizes during special weeks or tournaments.

No contestant ever advanced to a fifth prize. Two contestants made it to the fourth level, but failed to win the $50,000 bonus. Three contestants swept all nine stars during this version of the bonus round, guaranteeing them the grand prize (although only eight questions were required to do this).

In the final season, champions always had nine keys to work with each time they played the bonus round, regardless of the prior number of appearances, and the amount for each correct answer went back to $500. The prize structure also changed:

  • 1st win: $10,000+ trip
  • 2nd: $10,000
  • 3rd: Luxury car (usually a Porsche, BMW, or Jaguar)
  • 4th: $25,000
  • 5th: Trip around the world

Only one person reached the fifth prize in the final season, but they failed to win the trip.


Tournament of Champions

Starting in Season Two, the show began having an annual Tournament of Champions each May, with the season's biggest winners returning to compete for additional cash and prizes. The format changed each season:

Season 2: Six five-game winners came back to play again. Play was as normal, except the Secret Square was worth $2,500, which was added to the score. The bonus game was also played for cash, from $5,000 to $15,000. The two players who earned the most money came back for a two-game final, playing by the same rules as the semi-finals. In addition to the other cash won, the champion won an extra $50,000. The final bonus round was worth up to $15,000.

Seasons 3 & 4: Eight four-game winners compete in a semi-final game. The two top winners return on Friday. The Secret Square prize was an actual prize, again added to the final score, but was the same each day so no one has an advantage. The champion won $25,000 and the trophy, and a Jaguar was among the prizes in the bonus game. Season 4's tournament was similar to that of the previous year, except that the bonus game winnings were taken into account. The final grand champion won a Mercedes-Benz in addition to the money.

Season 5: Season 5 had a "Close but No Cigar" week to decide who would join the seven undefeated winners in the normal tournament. The bonus round was played for a $25,000 Bloomingdale's shopping spree until Friday, when it was replaced by a cruise on the Queen Elisabeth II. The winner of the tournament chose one of the celebrities who then revealed a cash amount of up to $50,000 inside a sealed envelope.

Season 6: The regular bonus round was played. The winner chose one of the captured stars, who revealed an amount of up to $100,000.

College Championship

Each year from season two to five had 14 college students competing. Seven quarter-final games were played. The four contestants with the highest overall totals move on to the semi-finals. The two winners played in the final game, where the winner won a $25,000 savings bond (later a car), as well as a trophy for their university. Secret square and bonus round prizes were added to the totals to determine who moved on.

In season 5, the bonus round was played for $25,000 (savings bonds in the quarter-finals, cash in the semi-finals), and the grand champion won a new Jeep Wrangler.

Theme weeks

This era of Squares was recorded in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York during Season 3 (11/6-11/24/2000), but was more notable for its reliance on "theme weeks." One of the most well-known within genre fandom was a December 9–13, 2002 "Game Show Week" which featured a panel comprised of several game show hosts (including Wink Martindale, Chuck Woolery, Bob Eubanks) and celebrities noted for their appearances on game shows (such as Jimmie Walker, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Brett Somers; the latter two occupied the same square), as well as Rod Roddy guest-announcing and former Let's Make a Deal model Carol Merrill showing off "Secret Square" prizes. The headliner for the week, however, was original Squares host Peter Marshall in the Center Square, marking the first time he had appeared on any version of the program since 1981 (although in 1993 and 1994 he appeared as host of a parody version in several episodes of the sketch comedy program In Living Color). On the Thursday show of that week, Marshall and Bergeron traded places, with Bergeron in the center square and Marshall hosting. Marshall had refused to appear on the Whoopi Goldberg-produced shows as he disliked them immensely, feeling they were too crude in tone. However, the show never regained the popularity it enjoyed after Goldberg's departure, and the series ended on June 4, 2004 due to declining ratings. Reruns from that season ended on September 10, 2004 in syndication, but they later moved to GSN.

Two episodes of this version had been noted in blooper specials. The first episode came in the show's second season, where the first game of the show took the entire episode to complete, because the contestants failed to correctly agree or disagree with panelist Gilbert Gottfried's answers (which he followed by yelling "YOU FOOL!" at the contestants, mimicking Penn Jillette; on the fifth and sixth instances, Penn and host Bergeron joined in) six times in a row, as he was the only remaining panelist and it would have resulted in a five-square win for either contestant. The second episode included the April Fools' prank played on Tom Bergeron in the show's fifth season, featuring E. E. Bell as an obnoxious contestant who kept pushing his overly emotional opponent until she broke down in tears, in addition to testing Bergeron's patience.

Theme songs

The first theme song used from 1966 to 1969 was an orchestration of "The Silly Song" by Jimmie Haskell; however, the version used on the show is not the same one released on the LP (Jimmie Haskell's French Horns, Vol. 2). The track found on the LP is a version with vocals and has a different instrumentation than the version used on the program.

The second and most famous theme was composed by William Loose: "Bob & Merrill's Theme", named for Bob Quigley and Merrill Heatter, the show's creators and original co-executive producers. The theme was used from 1969 to 1979, but was edited in later broadcasts, cutting out a piccolo solo- a very popular part of the song itself, one that is highly sought after by Hollywood Squares collectors and enthusiasts. This version of the theme song (minus the piccolo) is available on The Best of TV Quiz and Game Show Themes; however, the track on the CD was edited even further by removing more of the organ solo, although the first twelve bars of the theme are repeated near the beginning of the track to make up for the shortened length. The full and unedited theme[1], along with the opening theme[2] have been posted on YouTube.

A third theme song was used from 1979 to 1981. Stan Worth re-recorded a new version of "Bob & Merrill's Theme" with disco styling and renamed it as "The Hollywood Bowl". Three versions of "The Hollywood Bowl" were created for the show: one for the opening music, one for the secret square prize descriptions and one for the main theme.

The theme to The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour was composed by Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions. Even as the show ended its run in 1984, the theme is still heard as a car prize cue on The Price is Right and was used for similar purposes on the late-'80s revival of Card Sharks.

The theme to the 1986-1989 edition and its cues were composed by Stormy Sacks (who also performed live music during the show itself, as required for certain questions or celebrity intros). This music package was re-arranged/recorded for the show's final season.

The 1998-2004 edition had two themes. The first theme and its accompanying music cues were composed by Jennifer May Mauldaur & Paul David Weinberg, with the main theme vocals by series regular/co-producer Whoopi Goldberg and was used from 1998 to 2002. The second theme was a re-recording of the Teena Marie song "Square Biz", originally written in 1981 and was used from 2002 to 2004.

Other versions

  • There was also an Arabic version of the show in the 1980s and the early 1990s. It featured celebrities from various Arab countries (most often Kuwait, where the show was filmed) and was hosted by well-known Television presenter and noted education figure Shareef Al Alami.
  • In Argentina, the program was called Ta Te Show aired on Telefe from 1992–96, hosted by Leonardo Simons (committed suicide in 1996).
  • In Australia, the show has been known as Celebrity Squares, Personality Squares and All-Star Squares and was scheduled to return in 2005; however, the show didn't go ahead as the Australian version of Wheel of Fortune was revived in its place.
  • In Brazil the program is named Jogo da Velha. It was hosted by Fausto Silva on Sunday mornings. The program ran from 1989 until 1993.
  • Prior to his stint hosting France's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Jean-Pierre Foucault hosted that country's version of Hollywood Squares during the 1980s for Antenne 2, called L'Academie des 9. It was also one of the games played on France's version of Gameshow Marathon.
  • In Germany, a daily version aired called XXO: Fritz & Co. hosted by Fritz Egner aired on Sat.1 from 1995-1996. Later, a weekly version of the show called Star Weekend aired on RTL from 1999-2000. Marco Ströhlein was the host.
  • An Italian version called Il gioco dei 9 ran on Canale 5 from 1988 to 1992, hosted by Raimondo Vianello and Sandra Mondaini. Restart on Italia 1 in 2004 hosted by Enrico Papi.
  • In Malaysia, the show was broadcast in Malay, with the occasional use of English. Like the Singaporean version, this show was named Celebrity Squares. It ran on ntv7 from July 2002 to 2003, and was hosted by Sharifah Shahirah during that period.
  • A Russian edition of the show aired for short time in Moscow in the early 1990s.
  • In Singapore, the show was called Celebrity Squares and ran on MediaCorp TV Channel 5 in 2001. Instead of simply having celebrities occupy the squares, they were in character playing characters they portrayed on other shows. A Chinese version was also ran on MediaCorp TV Channel 8, called 名人 Tic Tac Toe, for 4 seasons before ending in 2003.
  • In Spain, Tres en Raya, a sixty minute version hosted by Carolina Ferre, has aired on La Sexta since 2007. The show previously aired from 1990-1992 as VIP Noche, "VIP Corazon", "VIP Guay", "VIP Diario" and "VIP Mar" on Telecinco, hosted by Emilio Aragón, who is now president of La Sexta.
  • Sweden had a version of the program in the 1980s and 1990s, called Prat I Kvadrat, "Talking In A Square", Pun translation: "Talking Squared".
  • In Turkey. the show was called XOX: Kare Akademisi (XOX: Square Academy) which aired on Show TV from 1993–1994 and then on aTV from 1994–1996; hosted by Yalçın Menteş. In the Summer of 2009, another show on the same concept called Kandıramazsın Beni (You can't trick me) aired on Fox TV Türkiye hosted by Vatan Şaşmaz.
  • A UK version of the show, called Celebrity Squares and hosted by Bob Monkhouse, appeared on ITV from 20 July 1975 to 7 July 1979 and was produced by Associated TeleVision. Kenny Everett served as the announcer. It was revived with the same host from 8 January 1993 to 26 August 1996 produced by Reg Grundy Productions for Central Television, Nick Jackson was the announcer on this version of the game. The UK version was also known as "Bob and the Big Box Game" during both runs of the show.[3][4]

Home versions

Watkins-Strathmore created the first two home versions of the show in 1967. Ideal issued a version of the game in 1974 with a picture of Peter Marshall on the box; this was the first of the adaptations to featured humorous gag names for the celebrities (The game was also marketed in the UK under the name "Celebrity Squares" with a picture of UK host Bob Monkhouse). Milton Bradley created two versions, first in 1980 based on the Marshall version, then in 1986 for the Davidson version, with a 3D board and twelve "celebrities" to insert onto the board. Parker Brothers released a similar game in 1999 based on the Bergeron version. This one saw the return of play money and "Secret Square" rules, missing since the original Watkins-Strathmore-produced home games.

GameTek released a version of Hollywood Squares in 1988 for MS-DOS, Commodore 64 and Apple II computers and later for the NES. In 1999, Tiger Electronics released an electronic LCD handheld game based on the Bergeron version. In 2002, the official Hollywood Squares website had an online version of the show using the celebrities that were on that week.


  • It was believed that NBC destroyed the whole Marshall version, but during a search for original master tapes of the soap opera Dark Shadows, at least 100 master tapes of the classic Hollywood Squares were discovered. A majority of these episodes, which aired on GSN from 2002–2003, were of the 1970s syndicated run, while others were of the NBC nighttime version shown in 1968. One episode, aired on GSN for Halloween 2002, was of a special 1977 Storybook Squares daytime week.
  • A 1967 episode of the Marshall version exists on kinescope among traders. Several episodes of the Marshall daytime version from 1976-1980 (including the daytime finale) exist among game show collectors.
  • The Davidson version exists and reran on the USA Network from September 11, 1989 to June 25, 1993. This version and the Marshall version are both currently owned by MGM Television.
  • All of the Bauman episodes are assumed to be intact, but The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour has never been rerun on any network, primarily because of cross-ownership issues between Sony/Comcast (the consortium whose partners own MGM) and FremantleMedia (successor-in-interest to Mark Goodson Productions). There have also been rumors that co-host Gene Rayburn (who reportedly hated working with Bauman) requested that the show not be aired again, but this has not been confirmed.
  • The most recent version is co-owned by Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Distribution, successor-in-interest to King World; CTD holds the full format rights to HS, as well as the rest of the Merrill Heatter/Bob Quigley library. Reruns of this version currently air weekdays at 11:00AM ET, late nights at 1:30AM (which was a repeat from the 11:00AM broadcast), and weekends at 9:00AM ET on GSN.
  • In the early 1970s, a "Zingers From The Hollywood Squares" vinyl record was released (along with two companion books), containing the audio of what were considered to be some of the show's funniest moments. A CD of the album was included in Peter Marshall's book.


Peter Marshall appeared in a recurring sketch of parodies, The East Hollywood Squares, the first of which aired Nov. 11, 1993 on the popular TV series In Living Color.

The television series The Simpsons has used a parody of Hollywood Squares, referred to as Springfield Squares and hosted by Kent Brockman. In Season Four's Krusty Gets Kancelled, the Springfield Squares parody makes its first appearance. A game is taking place on Springfield's beach (a reference to the 1980s version's trips to Hollywood, Florida) and is interrupted by a tsunami. Everyone climbs for the safety of Barry White's square except for Charley Weaver, who says he's been in his square "durn near thirty seasons" and declares he won't leave before the tsunami washes him away. This parodies the fact that while taping a 1971 episode, an earthquake struck the set, and everybody ran off, with the exception of center square Paul Lynde, who refused to run from the set.

The Season 11 episode entitled Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder features another edition of Springfield Squares. In the squares are Rainier Wolfcastle, Krusty the Clown, Itchy & Scratchy, Bumblebee Man, Princess Kashmir, Sideshow Mel, the Capital City Goofball, an animated version of Ron Howard, and Homer in the center, having recently gained an amount of celebrity after bowling a 300 game at the local bowling alley.

Broadcast history

NBC Daytime (Monday-Friday)

  • October 17, 1966-October 1, 1976, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Eastern (10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Pacific / Mountain / Central)
  • October 4, 1976-September 29, 1978, 10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Eastern (9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Pacific / Mountain / Central)
  • October 2, 1978-March 2, 1979, 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Eastern (12:00 noon - 12:30 p.m. Pacific / Mountain / Central) or 4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern (3:00 p.m. -3:30 p.m. Pacific / Mountain / Central); affiliates had choice of one of two feeds
  • March 5-August 10, 1979, 12:30-1 p.m. Eastern (11:30 a.m.-12:00 noon Pacific / Mountain / Central)
  • August 13, 1979-June 20, 1980, 10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Eastern (9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Pacific / Central / Mountain)

NBC Nighttime

  • January 12-September 13, 1968 (Friday evenings), 9:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Pacific / Eastern (8:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Mountain / Central). Squares was a mid-season replacement for the short-lived situation comedy Accidental Family; it ran until the beginning of the next season, when the anthology series Name of the Game, a 90-minute show, took over its time slot.


External links

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