|Dixon's Wish List|
|The opening to a 1979 nighttime show available on the tradiing circuit but not seen on GSN..|
|Your "Tribute" guide, at age 15, when he was watching the Squares and all of this was actually new.|
|The classic syndicated nighttime version (1971-81) of The Hollywood Squares does, indeed, exist. GSN reran 130 or so episodes of it from April 15, 2002 to September 2003, bringing these episodes back to light for the first time in more than 20 years. Click here for more on that. Most of the material on this page was written long before the existence of those episodes, let alone any deal to show them, was known, hence the sporadic time references.|
|So what episodes DO exist? (updated 6/9/04)
...Other than the syndicated run? It depends on who you ask...
It's been widely known for some time that many, many episodes of the original Hollywood Squares were destroyed. NBC is the most mentioned culprit because of their sorry pre-1980 record of archiving. (Those bozos lost their copy of the first Super Bowl and Johnny Carson's pre-1972 Tonight Show episodes including the 1962 premiere).
It's also been suggested the producers cooperated because they couldn't afford to store them, or perhaps even destroyed the tapes themselves. The TV Party website changed its own story not long ago to now suggest the producers destroyed them weeks before the Game Show Network contacted them about possible reruns. First I heard of that one.
While researching the most recent CD of classic game show themes, researchers reportedly found what appear to be long-lost episodes of the syndicated nighttime version. Here is the message that I got awhile back, that apparently came with news releases to radio stations along with copies of the Game Show Themes CD:
The big November ratings for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire make the timing perfect for Varese Sarabande Records' Best of T-V Quiz and Game Show Themes. Instrumental signatures that opened such classic shows as The Match Game (Burt Kaempfert's "A Swinging Safari") and To Tell the Truth finally can be heard in their entirety. Extensive liner notes contain stories about the shows and composers-such as Robert Cobert, who came up with music for many famous Goodson-Todman series. Randy West, a game show historian and the offstage voice of several current shows on Sony's Game Show Network and PAX-TV, says the search for source material paid off in not just great themes-but helped to uncover the original videotaped episodes of Hollywood Squares starring Peter Marshall that were believed long lost. Game Show Network is said to be negotiating for the rights to air this N-B-C classic for the first time in over 20 years as a companion to their other classic and new offerings.
Dixon's note: MGM/UA acquired the rights to the back episodes after they absorbed Orion/Filmways in a merger. They also own the 1986-89 John Davidson version. The format rights were leased to King World for the later Tom Bergeron version.
|Here's what is believed, or in some cases known, to exist...
About 130 shows from the nighttime syndicated run from 1971 to 1981 (and a few from the NBC prime time run in 1968) reappeared on GSN. There's speculation up to 3,000 more shows have also been found, which would represent just about everything from 1969-70 on (but we know some 1968 prime time shows are in that mix). GSN reportedly had the rights to show 150 shows out of a collection of 650. Beyond that...
Peter Marshall himself has been quoted as saying they erased "all but the last couple of years" of the NBC run (but now says some 3,000 to 3,500 may have been found since). If he was right the first time, that would imply everything from after that date to June 20, 1980 is locked up in a vault as well.. (One source even puts the exact date of the last erased episode as April 24, 1978.) So there's those too. Big drawback: Paul Lynde would be missing from more than half of those, having left the show in mid-1979.
There are 13 or so episodes known to exist on the trading circuit. They include three "party" episodes from 1978, two or three Storybook Squares episodes (one from the 1969 Saturday morning run), the pilot, a regular episode from 1967, and the June 20, 1980 finale on NBC.
Some 1971 excerpts appeared on a Fox special, but one person says it came from an off-air "blooper" reel. Okay, now we know about that. (Probably the same one that supplied many clips for the E! documentary on Paul Lynde.)
One final thing...the Museum of Radio and TV in New York is believed to have three other episodes. One is a 1968 episode, likely from the short-lived NBC prime-time version; one is an hour long episode from 1975 (possibly the one your webmaster has in audio); and one is a Lynde-less episode from 1979. The Beverly Hills branch has at least one, a 1978 episode recorded as part of an entire broadcasting day from an NBC affiliate. For all I know they have more than that. The UCLA archives confirm they have 12 episodes...five each from 1971 and 1973, one from 1968 and one that appears to be the Bert Parks pilot from 1965. There are conflicting stories as to whether the people at UCLA will let you view any or all of them, but they definitely will not let you make copies.
|For those of you who don't know...here is what is believed to have happened. Sometime in the mid to late 1970s, someone at NBC complained about the lack of space in the warehouse that was home to the network's archives. So, either on their own, on orders from a network higher up, or with the permission of Heatter-Quigley productions, someone destroyed thousands of episodes of The Hollywood Squares. Also believed lost are such classic treasures as the original Jeopardy! with Art Fleming, the original Concentration with Hugh Downs and the original Match Game. Of course, our culture could probably do without some of those lost game shows (The Magnificent Marble Machine comes to mind). But someone not only forever deprived us of a truly funny show, they also cost someone millions of dollars in revenue that could've been realized if those episodes of HS were available to be rerun every day on the Game Show Network.
(Then again, Milton Berle recently sued NBC over the loss of a lot of Texaco Star Theatre kinescopes from the late 1940s and early 1950s and the network announced later that they found nearly all of them. They had somehow been "misplaced." So there's always hope.)
Otherwise, I was sick to death when I heard about the Big Erasure of '78 (or whenever it was). All of those summer days of memories were gone now , all the times I would come inside with the air conditioning at 10:30 in the morning...or the days I would be at home from school, sick, eating Lipton Soup, lying on the couch as Peter, Rose, Paul and the others invited me to their party. It was like my parents' friends having a big party, but my parents being nowhere in sight...and everyone else letting it all hang out...
There are a few existing episodes making their way around the trading circuit...I now own copies of all of those, including the unaired 1965 pilot and NBC's 1980 finale. Traders, I'm always on the lookout for new episodes that may turn up in someone's 25-year-old VHS stash or on an old U-matic tape being thrown out at a local station...so keep me informed!
Don't get me wrong...I have plenty of my own material that will get onto the site as soon as possible. I just hate to think something is sitting in a drawer gathering dust when it could be appreciated by old and new fans alike.
Secondly...those of us who got our first tape players in the 1970s went around recording four things...songs/jingles off the radio; theme songs; "crepitation" contests with our friends; and for some reason, The Hollywood Squares . Perhaps it was a response to the "Zingers" record that was out at the time. In any event, if you still have any of those audio tapes in a drawer somewhere...they may very well be the only existing copies of that episode. Likewise, if your ballteam was on the 6:00 news one night in 1977 and you had one of the earliest VCR's and it kept running long enough to capture a little of the nighttime HS...you also have a treasure. Either way I'd love to hear from you. I have already received some surprising treasures in audio-only, including several rare daytime shows from the 1960s, one of which came from that controversial week with Eartha Kitt; the February 1973 show in which Peter Marshall memorializes Wally Cox, who had died the day before; and a 1975 hour long show celebrating the start of the show's 10th season and featuring memorable exchanges with the late Milton Berle and the late Art James.)
Here are just some of the things I could use especially (updated 6/9/04):
*anything I don't already have from the NBC daytime version
*certain shows from the GSN run that I don't already have (the "Beaverface" show, for instance)
*episodes with Wally Cox (for that matter some of his zingers, if you can remember them)
*same with Morey Amsterdam and Abby Dalton
*I have the pilot, the 1967 B&W episde, and the 1969 Storybook Squares., and a few GSN reruns from the 1968 NBC prime time version....would love to get my hands on any other 1960s-era Squares material, especially from the daytime show.
*There was an entire week on NBC in the late 1970s that featured the cast of Dallas. Surely someone who was a big fan of the show back then, taped it and saved it!
*late 1970s appearances by David Letterman and Jay Leno (I actually have a Leno appearance on audio tape)
*any episodes from the 1980-81 syndicated season, taped in Las Vegas (These are actually harder to come by than 1960s era shows!)
*I would like to hear from anyone who has anything they'd like to share about the show...but especially someone connected to the show, maybe a staff member or a contestant.
Heck if you happen to remember any of those zingers, you could still help me with this! I used a few from both of the Zingers books and my copy of the album, just to get started, but I put a real premium on the ones I find through other sources. That includes tape trades. audio tapes...and personal memory. Specials thanks to those who've already sent me a bunch, those pages have really taken off!
Remember...if you have any tapes floating around your house of the original HS, you may have just picked the Secret Square!
In any event...email me...thanks.
October 2001/April 2002/June 2004
|Many of the photos on this site came from eBay, the rest came from sources outside the internet. Quite a few are video captures of actual episodes acquired through the videotape trading circuit. Most (but not all) of the "zinger" information came from the books "Zingers from the Hollywood Squares" (1974), "More Zingers from the Hollywood Squares" (1978, both Popular Library and out of print) and the record album "Zingers from the Hollywood Squares" (1974, Event Records, also out of print). All were compiled by Gail Sicilia. The "Zingers" album also yielded some of the sound clips, as did various shows from the GSN run and shows made available either through the video trading circuit or rare surviving audio tapes.
Some research material and photos came from Come On Down: the TV Game Show Book by Jefferson Graham (1988, Abbeville Press) and The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows by David Schwartz, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock (Facts on File). Some information also came from Internet Movie Database and Game Shows '75 (on the latter the daytime schedules were especially helpful).
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